Black and white image of a young girl screaming

When you think about all the things you have to do in the next few months, life can often feel overwhelming. Instead of being able to face all these tasks, it’s much easier to retreat and not do anything, but instead wake up and sit in front of the TV and watch the cricket. Or, if you are like me, pick up a book and spend the afternoon reading.

When you are in the slump, how on earth can you motivate yourself to sit down and get stuff done? Unfortunately there are no easy solutions, and revision or essay writing can feel totally uninspiring, however here are a few ways to help you plough through: 

Set yourself goals

I am the biggest fan of goals, whether it’s short-term goals (getting through your January exams) or long-term goals (achieving that 2.1 at the end of third year). You can even break your goals down daily, for example, reading and making notes on a particular topic. Once you’ve finished a daily goal and ticked it off your list, you’ll be able to sit in front of the TV with an ice cold beer without any regrets about your day. 

Having started achieving your small goals, you might find yourself spurred on to work even harder. This, in fact, happened to me today - I was rudely awaken by my alarm this morning, but once I realised what was going on I told myself I just had to get out of bed as it was a Friday and I was doing so well so far. Tomorrow will be a day off. 

Treat yourself

In a similar vein to your goals, how you break up your treats is up to you. You might enjoy a good film or boxset binge at the end of every evening, or you might find yourself treating yourself to a weekend break after a period of hard work is over. Treats give you something to look forward to, and can motivate you to get through your day and all that work that’s piling up, but remember to not treat yourself when you haven’t accomplished your task!

Be positive

We’ve all been there when the world feels like it’s closing in on us with the amount of stuff we’ve got to get through. But telling yourself that you won’t be able to achieve it is a sure way to not achieving it! Whenever you hear yourself say that you can’t do it, purposefully replace your thoughts with positive ones such as “I’m making progress, I am in the process of achieving what I’ve set out to achieve.”


The worst period of motivation, especially in revising for an exam or writing an essay, is sitting down and starting. There’s just so much ahead of you and how are you ever going to get through it in time? However, the earlier you start and face your task(s), the easier you’ll start to find it and find your feet. Once you’ve started, studying will soon become habitual, and you’ll feel even more motivated to continue as you will seen your accomplishments adding up.

Take a break

Although it can sound like the most counter-intuitive step, taking a break from studying, perhaps a weekend away or a weekend curled up with your favourite box sets, can do you wonders. Once the boredom sets in (trust me it will), or once you feel like getting back into normal life from your weekend away you'll be raring to go and race through all that coursework that's pilling up in no time. Taking a break also gives you time to think about what you want both from your studying and your life, which will spur on the motivation even more!

Small steps

Small actions add up, and add up quickly. Writing 10,000 words is an intimidating task, however 500 words a day alongside two articles is certainly manageable. If you stick to your goals, you’ll have something written down in 20 days, a knowledge of where your essay will be going, and something you can then edit, read and re-edit.

Imagine your future

What life do you want to lead? Do you want to move to London and live the high life? Or perhaps you’ve a university you’ve got your heart set on. Remind yourself that your current life isn’t forever, and that your actions now are leading you to something better. You just have to put the hard work in now. You can even pin a picture above your desk so you’ve something to remind yourself of what you want to achieve, getting you through your day.