By: Ella Rechner (@ellarechner)


Does your schedule of “things to complete” sometimes look like a $300 grocery receipt? You know, when you can’t really tell if it ever ends? Or, it just pains you to see what you have to get done? In my case, being a college student and staying motivated is not the easiest task to harness. Distractions like binge watching Netflix, taking naps, or simply just not wanting to do anything, can really hinder my avenue to getting things done. Hopefully, by showing you the small and relatively easy things I do to help me get my ducks in a row, you will be better equipped for the rest of your semester, work week, or even life.

Here are some tips on how to stay motivated.

Make a Checklist.

Motivation is essential to our successes; as soon as that fails, we are left in a pretty big slump. I know it sounds a bit daunting having an extremely long list of assignments, appointments, projects, etc., but having a list is half the battle in getting them done. A list is one of the number one things I use to keep myself on track. By being able to see all of the things that I have to complete, it helps me plan out my days and weeks. In fact, Dr. David Cohen, psychologist and author, agrees.

“My family thinks I’m chaotic,” Cohen says. “But I would be much more so without my lists – they’ve kept me in line for years.”

He holds merit when it comes to the idea that having a list helps you stay on task. There is a certain amount of satisfaction that happens in our brains when we cross something off the long to-do list. In a sense, a list allows us to prioritize what needs to be done right now and what can be done in a couple of days. When tasks are already on your radar, they will entice you to take aside time to complete it. A list also acts as a diary. By taking it out of your brain and putting it on paper, it allows you to have more space to think about how you will complete your task at hand. It gives your brain a break from trying to memorize everything you have to do!

The Nine-to-Five

This tactic was one that I learned from my father. When it comes to classes, appointments, clubs and our other obligations, it is very hard to find time to complete assignments and projects. I imagine, for the average college student, not all of us are working full-time jobs…yet. However, we can start building a nine-to-five lifestyle now. By treating your entire day like a nine-to-five, or whatever time slot works for you, you can use that time as your “job.” By working on homework, projects, going to work, or checking things off your list through this time period, you have just dedicated yourself to a pretty stress-free evening. Working on completing your list through a certain time slot gives you more freedom later in the day. Taking out the naps, the sitting-on-your-phone breaks, or whatever else distracts you, you can complete tasks at a steady pace. Don’t put work off!

Keep Your Brain Refreshed.

Now that you have your list and your allotted time frame for completion, it is important to give your brain a mental break. You can do this by taking a yoga class or simply going on a walk. By having simple moments to calm and clear your brain, you are more apt to complete your work successfully. Laying around for longer periods of time only hinders you more when it comes to completing your daily tasks. Just do it! Not all of your work should be tasking on the brain; your brain needs rest too. Allowing your brain to refresh gives you a clear mind to continue checking off your list.

It all comes down to how you can manage your time and activities successfully. By taking into consideration some of the easy tools to aid you in your activities, you can overcome many of the hindering forces throughout the day, week, or month. 




Ella Rechner is a sophomore at GVSU studying advertising and public relations with a minor in Writing and Studio Art. She loves being creative and has always had a passion for interior design. In fact, she has spent time redoing her friends rooms and her home in Sault Sainte Marie. In her free time, you can find Ella dancing for Dance Troupes of GVSU and going to cute coffee shops and boutiques.