Saturday, February 27, 2016

Blogademics: The Murky Marshes of Motivation

Remember how I once mentioned that I go through phases of intense apathy? Well, they're almost immediately followed by phases of hyper-creativity where I feel like writing six or seven posts in three days, wreaking havoc on my sleep schedule.

These are obviously not ideal either as a student or as a blogger! Because I have assigned deadlines, and commitments, and secret deadlines that I must meet even if (and maybe especially because) I've only promised myself that I will. I have a real problem with inertia sometimes. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about... sometimes once you stop doing something it is really, really hard to start again.

Motivation is a flighty creature. The sort of creature you have to chase through a bog in the middle of summer with a net, only to have it ambush you from behind. So here's some things that I do to bait a trap for motivation, and how I deal with when it just won't bite:

  1. MUSIC. I discovered in high school that I genuinely cannot do certain things without music in the background. This one sometimes gets me weird looks, because some people have a hard time working to music. I research and draft most of my essays and papers while listening to pop music (lots of Taylor Swift), soundtracks, and some truly bizarre music of unspecified genre. I listen to music while writing posts, too.
  2. To-do lists. Usually my bookmark is a list of things I need to do. I still take pleasure in being able to check things off, so it gives a necessary little nudge to sit down and get the thing done. Sometimes that's all it takes.
  3. I keep notebooks and scrap paper everywhere. By my bed, in my backpack, next to the computer. Now, I know inspiration and motivation are two very different things, but I like to have an idea at the ready whenever I am feeling super-motivated.
  4. Grocery shopping. I don't know, somehow taking a bus over to the grocery store and purchasing salsa is conducive to motivation. I don't make the rules.
  5. ROUTINE, ROUTINE, ROUTINE. This is probably the most important one for me. I'm a creature of habit, so being in the routine of something really helps me get it done.
  6. I have "seed posts" in my drafts all the time. Posts I've started that are just waiting to be finished. They're great for days where I'd like to post something, but I'm not super motivated. (It also ensures keep my draft pile under control!) This doesn't really have a school-related equivalent, unfortunately. I don't have any back-up eutrophication essay prompts.
Motivating myself can be frustrating. It's less of a problem for blogging, because my grades and future don't depend on my posting for every single Top Ten Tuesday, and also because blogging is, by and large, really fun for me! (Meanwhile, Fluvial Dynamics labs are... not.)

So, dear readers, do you have any methods for avoiding procrastination and getting motivated? Also, does music distract you, or help you focus?


  1. Ooh, these ARE good ways to motivate yourself! I'm a pretty self-motivated person, so I don't usually struggle with it... :P But sometimes I get massive bloggers-block and just, blah, everything I write seems useless. So when I AM really motivated/inspired, I make sure I draft up a lot of posts to cover the down times too, hehe.

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    1. I'm am in perpetual awe of people who are constantly able to be self-motivated. If there's a trick to it, I haven't mastered it yet! (One day, hopefully, I'm working on it...) I'm still learning the art of scheduling posts, but so far that's been really helpful for keeping up a consistent posting schedule.

  2. These are great ways to motivate yourself. I can hardly stand taking the bus to school, so when I get off a stop early to go get some groceries, I tend to just walk back home even though it's like a mile and a half back haha. These are usually all things that help me keep motivated and focused too. Though with all this stuff having to do mostly on a computer, it's hard not to get distracted.

    1. Busing can be unpleasant- especially when the buses are packed! I used to really hate it when I started out, I've gotten a bit more used to it now.

      Computers really are distraction central...