Tips and Tricks for Troubling Times


Maroon Staff

If you are feeling a lack of motivation, try some of these tricks out!

Lydia Jin

All year round, many students struggle with a lack of motivation to get their daily tasks done (no, I don’t mean the ones in electrical). Some find it arduous to constantly do work, and now that the majority of our school life is conducted on a computer screen, it is even more difficult to be enthusiastic about learning. “I feel like Zoom classes just zap all of my energy,” explains Vivian Guo ’21. It may seem impossible to stay motivated at a time like this, but luckily, I have compiled a list of tips that might help.

1. To-do list

My number one organization tool is the Google Tasks app. I didn’t even know it existed until quite recently, but the simple, easy-to-use interface is extremely useful for creating to-do lists that you can either add to your Google Calendar, or just keep within the app to help you stay on track with any kind of task that you need to get done. Alternatively, you can be a bit more creative with it by writing and decorating the lists manually on either a piece of paper or a bullet journal. Guo even makes her desktop background her to-do list. 

2. Be consistent with your sleep

We’ve been told time and time again that as teenagers, it’s essential that we get 8-10 hours of rest per day. However, most students probably look at that number and chuckle at the disappointing reality that on an average school night, they get much less. Perhaps one of the upsides of the hybrid model is that there are usually at least one or two days within the working week that students get to sleep in. However, Maggie Peng ’22 advises that you should not stray too far from a regular schedule. “Don’t wake up too early or too late,” she advises. It might be tempting to wake up for an 8 a.m. class having had only 5 hours of sleep and say “I’ll just catch up on it on the weekend,” but Peng has found it much more beneficial to have a consistent schedule.  

3. Cut out the distractions

When doing work, it’s easy to be distracted by devices that lead us to infamous cat videos or, more often for our generation, TikTok. Perhaps putting your phone “far farrrrr away” like Peng suggests, or if you’re having detachment issues (because our phones are practically our babies at this point), it could be worth switching on Do Not Disturb mode. You might also download an app that temporarily disables your device.  

4. Stay healthy

Quarantine means that our kitchens and cupboards are only ten steps away. While that’s brilliant in some respects, it can also be difficult to resist the temptation to snack every second of every day. “My meals have definitely changed [since quarantine began]. Before, I used to not eat breakfast and then just eat a lot at night, but now I eat all the time. So I would say I have about ten meals a day? That sounds about right,” laughs Guo. It’s certainly nice to relax and enjoy some indulgences every now and then, but perhaps it would be a good idea to set limitations on the amount of snacking between meals. Or, you could consider incorporating some exercise into your daily routine. A healthy body has been proven to translate into a fresher, healthier mind, so staying active and drinking plenty of water will definitely make you feel more energized to be productive with your day.

5. Do what makes you happy

This is an obvious one, but students forget about it all the time. We’re constantly looking to the next test or the next deadline, then it slips our mind that we’re people first, students second. As people, we should do things that make us happy! Otherwise, we’ll experience burnout and crash leaving us unmotivated to do anything at all. Peng tells us that “doing stuff that makes you happy” every now and again is a fun way to keep you engaged and pumped for life. Don’t just set academic goals, but personal ones too! This will give you a sense of excitement for the days to come.