By Katie Azevedo, M.Ed.
It’s hard to get and stay motivated to do things we don’t enjoy. For many of us, this includes homework. Here I share 5 homework motivation tips to help you get through the moments when you’re less than inspired.
5 homework motivation tips for when you’re just not feelin’ it
Tip 1: Create a structured homework schedule.
When we are in class, either in-person or online, we are committed to a specific and regimented period of time during which we are expected to work. If you’re often more motivated to work hard during class than when you’re doing your homework, the reason might be that you’re subconsciously more engaged by the time constraints. Use this knowledge to your advantage and create a structured homework schedule for each day of the week. Map it out using Google Calendar or a paper-based template.
Tip 2: Write all your assignments down so you can cross them off.
One of the simplest homework motivation tips is to write things down just so you can cross them off to feel accomplished. Many of us get psychologically stimulated when we can physically see our progress, and using an assignment notebook allows us to not only keep ourselves organized (come on, you should be writing down your assignments anyways!) but also gives you the chance to see all you’ve accomplished.
Tip 3: Schedule breaks and fun.
All work and no play is a huge motivation killer. To make your homework time more tolerable, schedule something to look forward to. The key is to be specific about what you plan – the more specific you are, the more your brain will be able to visualize it and be motivated by it. For example, don’t just plan to watch a movie after you do your homework; instead, plan out which movie, which snacks, which blanket to curl up in, etc.
Tip 4: Get a good study playlist.
Listening to music while studying isn’t for everyone. If it’s not for you, then recognize and accept it. If you can handle listening to music while you study, I suggest something non-lyrical (you don’t want to compete with your brain’s language centers) or a least something that isn’t cognitively stimulating (we are all cognitively stimulated by something different, so play around with genres to find your sweet spot).
Of course, the whole point of this homework motivation tip is to use music as a motivation tool, so you want the music to be stimulating in a sense, but not in the way that you can’t stop singing to the music when you should be writing your essay. The website (Noisli) is cool for creating your own mix of focus-based background sounds.
Tip 5: Have the right “homework people.”
We don’t go to the mechanic for medical advice, or to the banker for workout inspiration. So make sure you know who to turn to (and avoid!) for homework motivation. We all have friends who make us feel a certain way, right? We have our party-in-a-box friend, our chill movie-night friend, our tell-everything-to friend, and the friend we like to go on walks with.
If you’re struggling to stay motivated to do your homework, then don’t talk about school with your friend who’s always complaining about classes. Don’t seek studying advice from the friend who has more TikTok followers than completed homework assignments. Instead, find just one or two people who have a consistently positive outlook about school, and then see what you can learn from them and let them inspire you when your homework motivation is low.
Final notes on homework motivation
Keep in mind that motivation isn’t a fixed state. It goes up and it goes down, depending on a zillion different factors that we can’t always predict or control. These 5 homework motivation tips are meant to help give you a boost during those temporary lulls when you find it hard to get through your work, even when you know you have to. If you are dealing with a particularly boring task, use these tips.
Important: If your low motivation is chronic and pervasive – meaning that you are almost always unmotivated to things besides just homework – then you might have something different going on, such as anxiety or depression. If this sounds like you, then seek advice from a counselor, parent or a doctor.