Dependent on how engaged with my blog you are, whether you are a weekly reader, or this is the first time you are here, you may have noticed my blogging activity has fallen in the past couple of weeks. I’m here to tell you why. In all honesty, it was purely a complete burnout of motivation. Due to it being summer, I have been more socially busy and I have also had to try and fit in a load of schoolwork as well, but that doesn’t excuse neglect. However, it hasn’t just been my blog that I have failed to motivate myself to do, a lot of aspects of my normal life have suffered. I had barely done any of my schoolwork that is now due in a couple of weeks, I was taking forever to get through my required reading for this summer and even my exercise regime was slipping. Despite having many days where I don’t rise before 12:00pm, I don’t think I had actually let myself have a true break and refreshment period, something which must have contributed to this sudden downward spiral in motivation. Luckily I noticed myself slipping and decided to do something about this, as I knew it was only going to get worse and guilt was building like a snowball. Of course, I know it’s SUMMER, so I’m not going to stop all the fun I’m having, I’m just going to make sure I have more of a balance.
Most importantly, to settle my anxiety about September, I had to ensure that I was going to complete all of my schoolwork by then. I have a huge list on my desk of all my tasks I need to do before September, and to call it overwhelming is an understatement. It is terrifying! I figured that the best way to go about it was to divide the work into small chunks, much like revision. I created a spreadsheet of all the weeks I have left of summer (only about three now…) and placed certain tasks in certain weeks, dependant on my plans. After doing this, I was able to visually see that I didn’t need to keep stressing as it was clearly possible to complete everything I want to, as well as continuing to make the most of my summer. Some of my tasks require much more attention than others and are bound to take much more of my time, but I took all this into consideration and, as long as I stick to my ‘timetable’, I should achieve my goals with relative ease.
Dedicating hours of time to work is useful and ultimately key to success, but it can also create a negative and doubtful mindset. For example, if I sit down for a select two hours to write an essay, it can often stress me out as I feel time pressured, and also down due to the knowledge that I’m going to be sat at my desk for the next two hours. However, in order to overcome this, I’ve found incorporating tasks into your day is much better. If I’m really struggling for motivation, I like to choose a day I know I’m going out on to do my work. It sounds strange, but if I wake up slightly earlier than usual, sit down and get a piece of work down, I find I can be much more motivated, as I know in a few hours I will be able to go out and enjoy my afternoon/ evening without the weight of the work that otherwise may not have been done. Although I am not a morning person, finishing work in the morning is very satisfying, as you know that you will have the rest of the day to do whatever you chose, as you’ve finished the necessities for the day. Ultimately, it’s all about finding what works for you. Do you like dedicating a specific day to work? Do you prefer to work at a certain time of day? Do you like cramming or are you better at spreading your load out? Experiment and don’t be afraid to change your routine, it will be worth it in the end.
Similarly, this year I’ve really been trying a way to get through my summer reading much more successfully. Although I am a willing bookworm, I am incredibly slow at reading, and I often neglect my books and end up forgetting about them (awful I know…) However, as an A level English student, a hopeful university applicant and with the extra reading required at A level anyway, it was crucial that I ensured I would complete my reading this year. With my books, plays and articles pile seemingly climbing each day of the last week of term, I was left with a pretty big load. At the start of summer, I didn’t read much, as I appeared to try to dissociate myself from anything academic related. However, as my summer progressed I knew I needed to stop procrastinating and tackle my pile. Now I am certainly not one of those ‘read it in one sitting’ people, in fact, I genuinely don’t ever see myself reading a book in one sitting. Therefore, I needed to space my reading out, whilst still ensuring I actually finish. I had four key novels to read this summer, as well as a couple of plays, and a few articles I could just read here and there. To some, this may seem impossible, to others it may be a couple weeks worth. For me, it was perfectly achievable, but was going to require effort. I decided to dedicate a week to each of the novels, and the plays were either to be read in a sitting or two or over a couple of days (I find plays much easier to read than books). In order to succeed, I also needed to make reading a part of my day. On my holiday, I started and ended my day with half an hour of reading, which ensured I got through a plausible amount of my book each day. I decided to ‘casual read’ more too. Instead of turning on ‘Friends’ or ‘Vampire Diaries’ when I’m bored, I decided to read an extra chapter, and similarly, I’d read a chapter with a cup of tea, instead of flicking through social media. For me, it was all about looking at reading less academically, and finding my love for it again. The more you involve the things you may find daunting into your normal routine, the more normality you will find in them and they won’t seem quite so scary.
My final slip up in myself came from my slow neglect of my exercise habits. Since the start of lockdown, I had been running around four times a week and partook in some form of exercise almost everyday. However, as I became more socially busy my healthy habits started to slip. Obviously, I want to fix this, but I also think I am going to try not to pressure myself as much. Not exercising as much makes me feel very guilty, but at the same time, I am now finding other priorities, hence I have decided the best way forward is to find a balance. I’m going to refrain from making a ‘routine’ as such, and instead am going to exercise when I find myself with spare time and motivation. Similarly to my academic work, I enjoy exercising before I go out, as it makes me feel like I have had a productive day, justifying my socialising. Hopefully, by creating a healthier relationship with exercise, I will be able to re-find my love and inspire my motivation.
This piece may all be one giant façade. In a weeks time I may have lost all motivation again and may be back to square one. However, with my new plan, I am hoping to prevent this and hopefully I can have a much more successful rest of my summer. Summer is a time for refreshment and ultimately it is a time for the prioritisation of relaxation and fun. Do whatever makes you happy- whether that’s hitting the ‘new normal’ pubs each night, or staying home and creating a structured daily routine. The heatwave is just passing us right now, although the air remains a highly pleasing temperature, it’s like being abroad sometimes… Have an amazing summer!