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An article written by TeamUCL Nutritionist and fitness professional, Sophie Tully

Trying to stay motivated might be something that you’re really struggling with at the moment as it feels like there’s absolutely no need for any sort of schedule because tomorrow is going to be the same as today and you have all the time in the world to get things done. However, this isn’t helpful for keeping you motivated and productive as it is all too easy for hours/days and weeks to slip by in this mindset with little getting done. This can lead to feeling even less motivated and even becoming overwhelmed with all of the things that still need to be achieved. Maintaining some sort of day to day routine as well as a clear idea of what you want to achieve day to day will provide a sense of achievement and keep you motivated and able to get more things done.  

So, some top tips to help you stay motivated to achieve the things you want day-to-day 

The art of creating the perfect plan

Making a list of everything that you need and want to get done over the coming weeks these are things like write the essay, read book X, write my CV, apply for a job, learn a new language, listen to podcast etc.. 

Next make a list of everything that you want or need to do each day/week to stay healthy and sane e.g. go for a walk, do the washing, go shopping, meditate, cook dinner, exercise… 

Now write down you need or want to do it, what you’re going to get out of it, and the positive benefit it’s going to have by achieving it. Have a vision for ourselves and our education or personal improvement goals help us stay committed and focused as we can see the bigger picture.  

Now what you want to do is go through the things you have put on your list and prioritise them according to either how important they are to you or how urgent or time-consuming they will be. Even guestimate how many hours you think each will take (always add at least 50%) 

Now you can create a grid or use a calendar and start by plotting out the things listed in point 1 day by day, week by week to create an overall picture of what you will achieve and when across the next few weeks.  

And there it is, your productivity road map 

So now you have your plan or productivity road map add in the things that need to happen daily and across the week to promote health and wellbeing. Try to ensure you’ve got a good variety of things you enjoy in addition to the things that need to happen so you feel positive and look forward to each day but also focused and rewarded by achieving. It may take a few attempts to get the plan right so it is realistic and achievable. The plan will help you visualise how things fit together the consequences of not doing things on the day that you commit to. If things start getting backed up you’ll have to sacrifice the things that you want to do for the things that you need to do or deal with the stress that will ultimately ensue. 

To Do or Ta Dah?

Once you have the plan down create a daily To Do or Ta Dah List, again prioritise this if needs be so you can see what has to happen versus what you want to happen. To do lists make us accountable to ourselves and our actions. Writing down what you are going to do today and putting it somewhere visible makes sure that we are constantly reminded of what we’ve committing to. When you tick somethings off say ta dah!! And give yourself a little pat on the back.  

Final thing is to make sure that it’s realistic so don’t try and set yourself too many things in one day. Pick one key thing that you have to get done so if it’s read five papers or go through time two’s lecture notes weeks one to four that’s it don’t set yourself anymore to do in the day. Then make sure that the rest of the day is filled with things that you enjoy and promote health and wellbeing whether it’s going for a walk or run, cooking a yummy dinner, reading a book, playing an hour of your favourite game. If once you’ve done the main task you want to do more great but make sure the health promoting things don’t get forgotten.  

Stay healthy, 
Sophie Tully