10 Ways To Motivate Yourself During Finals

Finals are hard to get through. There's no way around it. Papers, exams, presentations, and more work all at once and for 20% of your grade-- not fun. It's during these trying times that we are found binging on caffeine, not sleeping, not showering, and camping for 4 days in a row in the library. It is in your best interest to stay motivated, but also to keep you sanity. Here's how you do both.
  1. Take Study Breaks. Working on one thing for more than a few hours straight can start to make your eyes cross. Keep fresh and focused by taking a break every once in a while. Snack, grab coffee with a buddy, whatever.
  2. Write papers with friends. Your paper should be your own, but if you and a friend both need to get a paper done, sit in the same room or at the same table to do it. Seeing your friend working will motivate you to do that same and chit-chat every now and again will keep you going. You can also wake each other up when one of you starts nodding off.
  3. Write out a study plan. Having specific points to meet and accomplish and a to-do list for each day is key in getting things done. Spread out your work and you won't feel as rushed and you'll have the freedom to take some time to reward yourself. 
  4. Change your desktop to an image that reminds you to study! Open up an image of one of your personal heroes on an image editor-- doesn't matter if it's MLK, JK Rowling, Wonder Woman, Beyonce, Ironman, or The Fonz. Then add text as if they are telling you to keep working or put your to-do list for the day or even your exam schedule down. 
  5. Set check points. Set out goals and a time by which to meet them. This helps you turn one big task that seems endless into manageable bites. Setting a time limit keeps you on schedule.
  6. Get off social media. It's a time suck and we all know it. It's so easy to accidentally be on facebook for an hour when you only planned on 20 minutes. Set a timer, block it from your browser, or even have a friend change your password until you are done with finals. 
  7. Get some sleep. Let me tell you, I am the QUEEN of not sleeping like a normal human. I am often caught in a vicious cycle of not sleeping and oversleeping. From someone who has been there, let me tell you that there is a point at which it is more productive to sleep than to pull an all-nighter and study for an extra 6 hours. It does not matter how much you studied if you're too strung out to understand what the question are asking.
  8. Set work hours and a reward for afterwards. Say your work hours are from 10am to 5pm. This is when you need to get the bulk of your work done. Try to get everything on your daily study to-do list done during this time. When your missions are all accomplished, kick-back and watch a movie. Then any studying you do afterward is like a bonus, getting stuff done ahead of time and you'll feel like you're being super productive and going somewhere--which is a really motivating feeling!
  9. Eat well. It is so tempting to fill up on greasy comforting foods and high-calorie coffee drinks, but it really is important to not destroy your body during these trying times. Stock up on some healthy study snacks like pretzels and hummus, fruits, baby carrots, cucumbers, and fancy cheeses. (Maybe that last one is just me.) Also get some water and keep it on hand and remember that crunchy foods are great for keeping you awake.
  10. Find rewards that work for you. For me, I'm big on watching movies and TV (since I'm a little bit of a pop culture junkie) and writing. Celebrate finishing that paper. Maybe reward yourself for meeting your benchmarks by watching an episode of a webseries you're into since they're short episode and you'll be hungry for the next installment. 

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