How to increase your motivation and get things done

Are you finding it difficult to maintain your motivation to complete assignments?

It is likely that during the busy academic term you have several assignments to work on and that need to be submitted soon. Are you finding it difficult to get started? Are you waiting to feel like writing your assignment, or do you feel you need to do more research? Perhaps you have several tasks and not sure which one to do first?

Do you feel that you want to get your work done, but wonder whether your efforts will produce the results you want?

It is common to have these questions when doing academic work, particularly when deadlines are approaching.

Take a moment to consider why you go to lectures, go to your part-time job, watch a TV programme, or read this blog post. You probably will notice that you have a variety of reasons underlying your decision to engage with any activity.

So, how do we decide what to do with our time, our capacity to pay attention and our energy?
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Prevent procrastination: how to get things done. The Psychology of Action (Part 1)

Why do we do the opposite of what we want to do?
We tend to behave against our intended plans such as working on assignments because we may have worry thoughts anticipating the result will not be as good as we want it to be, or perhaps because we think what we are doing is wrong. Sometimes we think there is only one right way to do it, or believe that we shouldn’t make mistakes.

When thinking like this we can feel discouraged and then we are likely to stop working on the task because we don’t feel confident we can do it well. It could also be due to havingĀ a feeling of aversion because we think it is too hard so we delay getting on with our work.

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Prevent procrastination: How to get things done. The Psychology of Action (Part 2)

What is willpower and how can we develop it?
Willpower is having a sense of personal agency. It refers to our ability to delay gratification and focus on the task because we want to achieve a long-term goal. However, if we are tired it will be difficult to maintain our efforts. Also, it may be more difficult to focus on the task when there are a number of immediate distractions. To make progress we need to maintain our energy level and manage or remove the distractions (Baumeister, 2011).

We can create a mental representation of the goal we want to achieve (think about each step leading to your goal) and create our own self-instructions (Mischel, 1996). For example describing the process – a series of steps to get the task done – so that we know in detail what we need to do from step to step.
Continue reading “Prevent procrastination: How to get things done. The Psychology of Action (Part 2)”