Blogmas Day 6: Eye on the Prize

Hey guys! Today has been a super boring, study-centric day. I left my dorm room a bit before noon and I came back around six in the evening to immediately fall into bed and nap. Me and two friends studied for the majority of that time, and while I don't feel like the amount of time I was sat at a desk reviewing material reflects the menial information I've successfully retained, we're getting there. Plus, my first final isn't until Monday at 8 AM so I'm not concerned. I can do this, and wanna know why? Because I've come up with three ways to stay motivated that I'm gonna share with you, in case you too are taking final exams or just need to put that spring back in your step.

1) Work some "fun" chores into your day
Because sometimes you just can't focus on one thing for hours at a time; you need to break it up and take some breaks. If you're anything like me though those breaks can sometimes last longer than they should, and suddenly that "five minute break" is rolling up on two hours. Needless to say once I come to the realization I've wasted that much precious studying time, I tend to get down on myself. That's why I've started to work some "fun" chores into my schedule, so even if I take longer than planned, I can still tell myself I was productive. For me, Blogmas is one of those fun chores: something I really have to do anyway, but brings me enjoyment and fulfillment. So it's like a study break but I don't feel bad about myself for wasting time. Other chores that work well are showering (because you HAVE to get clean at some point!) and folding laundry while you watch Netflix (because those clothes HAVE to get folded at some point, and if you just so happen to be watching an episode of The Office while you're doing it, oh well...) basically my point is find a way to make some of those "have to"s into "want to"s so you'll still be checking off your to-do list without frying your brain entirely

2) Music is everything
Now some people can't listen to music while they study; I used to be one of those people. However now when I'm just typing out handwritten notes or organizing notecards, I need to be listening to something. Usually the music needs to go off when I really need to actively engage with what I'm working on, but if it's a passive activity like that, music is a must. Here's my secret golden playlist that is the perfect mix of upbeat songs and slow jams: go on Pandora and shuffle together Today's Hits+Taylor Swift Holiday+She and Him Holiday. Bam. Perfect mix of Christmas music and Top 40. Soon enough it'll be considered "weird" and "out of season" to listen to Christmas music, so you might as well get your fill now. You're welcome in advance.

3) Neglect something 
During stressful times, I find it much easier to cope when I allow myself to indulge in something I normally wouldn't or slack on something I'm usually on top of. It makes it much easier to concentrate on the primary task at hand and leaves me feeling much less restricted. What I'm really talking about here is food: during finals week, one thing I do is throw my health-conscious brain out of the window. I eat whatever I want whenever I want in however large of a quantity I want. Ice cream and nachos for dinner? Great. Cookies in bed? Perfect. Four large cups of coffee when my body really should only have three at the max? Bring it on. Allowing myself to lose control in one area of my life really makes me want to focus more on whatever's pressing at the time, plus it's a nice way to let off steam. If food isn't something you care about much or isn't something you want to indulge in, figure out something else you wouldn't mind kicking to the curb for a little while: maybe that's washing your dishes (let 'em pile up for a few days!) or going to the gym religiously (let yourself skip a leg day or two!) Whatever works for you, and only if it helps keep you eye on the prize.

And that's it! if I figure out more tips and tricks, I'll let you know. For now, though, stay focused and have a great weekend!

"Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later." -Og Mondino



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