Often, the hardest part is starting. I know I have the habit of putting things off until it creates a much bigger problem than it needed to be. So, get over that first hurdle and encourage yourself to just start. You might find that things flow on from there without too much bother.
2) Break your work up into manageable amounts
There’s no point overloading yourself with work or telling yourself that you are going to get all of it done in one single sitting, you will basically be setting yourself up to fail. Because, the fact of the matter is: nobody can maintain focus on their work for hours on end without needing a break. Instead, try and set yourself manageable amounts of work to complete at a time. Tell yourself you will spend 20 minutes revising and then take a break, or you will get one paragraph of your essay done and then have a rest. It may feel like it isn’t worth it but trust me, it will probably be far more useful than forcing yourself to study until you burn out.
3) Take breaks
I sort of mentioned this in the previous point, but remember to give yourself regular breaks when you are working. This will give you a chance to refresh and make it easier to focus again when you return to whatever it is you were doing. Make yourself a cup of tea, have a snack. Do whatever it is that you need to do to keep you going, which leads me on to my next point…
4) Look after you
Basic human needs don’t become any less important just because you have an essay in for tomorrow or an exam to sit next week. Remember to stay hydrated, eat enough and get enough sleep even when you are in the midst of revision. How can you expect yourself to be able to concentrate if you aren’t even looking after your basic health?
5) Remove distractions
I will always find an excuse to not sit down and revise:
‘I need to organise my stationary first, how can I work if I can’t find my pencils?!‘
‘I need to clean the sink before I can revise, else I obviously won’t be able to focus on anything but the sink!‘
‘Now is as good a time as ever to reorganise my wardrobe by colour and clothing item! 🙂‘
It’s impossible to remove all distractions but if there are certain things that you know will draw your attention away from your work, remove it from sight. Turn off your phone and put it in a draw. Whatever it is, try and make it so that the only thing you can focus on is the work that is in front of you.
6) Give yourself some credit
Your depression is not your fault. Feeling unmotivated and therefore struggling with your work is not your fault and it doesn’t make you lazy. I know how it feels and if you’re anything like me, you still have high expectations of yourself and desperately want to succeed, yet do not have the energy to revise as much as you’d like. Rather than focusing on how little work you’re doing, focus on what you have achieved. Even managing to do a bit of work whilst battling with your own mind day in, day out is a huge achievement, and don’t forget that.
I hope at least some of these tips were helpful. I am now going to try them out myself and hopefully get some revision done! Good luck if like me, you have exams coming up or if you’ve got essays to do. Depression can make everything seem a great deal harder, but there are things you can do to make things even a tiny bit easier for yourself.
Thanks for reading!
– Lisa x