Simon Sez: Getting Through an End-of-the-Year Rut


I consider myself a connoisseur of fine food, and with Christmas break around the corner, I find myself gleefully anticipating the collection of delicious nourishment that awaits me at home; December has never felt so far away. With that said, there are a ton of hurdles that await me on the path to salvation, and this fastidious foodie is not one to turn down a challenge. With that in mind, I find myself mildly overwhelmed by the wealth of responsibilities and assignments that are bearing down on me. It’s rough work, but I think I’ve worked out a formula that has allowed me to mow down the hordes of enemies in my path -figuratively, of course.

Motivation: The most important thing to understand is that you can only have so many obligations to settle at once. This realization is important to get a handle on because it means that you have a definitive goal, and there’s nothing more motivating than being able to see the finish line. I think I’ll need that motivation in the days to come, and if you’re anything like me, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Make a plan: Looking at a ton of work without a plan can be a serious hit to your confidence. We’re going to need it all if we want to get anything done. Remember, we’re college students, and as such, we tend to have trouble functioning like fully capable adults. Believe me, I know. I’ll look for any reason to procrastinate, and that’s rather counterproductive if I intend to actually spend the days leading up to my winter break doing anything other than crying over the pile of work I’ve accumulated. With all of that said, it’s important to have a clearly defined plan. I like using quotas to make sure that I’m on the right track.

Understand your limits: One of the easiest ways to screw yourself over is to bite off more than  you can chew. If you know you’re the type with the attention span of a goldfish –trust me, I get it–, then you should know already that you can’t sit still and do homework for several hours at a time. I like to divide my daily work into multiple 20-30 minute work periods over the course of the day. This allows me to work for just about as long as I can before the monotony begins to screw with my attention. It also gives me plenty of room throughout my day to indulge in whatever else I may want to do, without losing focus. The biggest challenge there, is to make sure you stick to your plan and actually go back to work when the time comes. For that, I use alarms to remind me. This process has taught me to get as much done in as short amount of time as possible, which has drastically increased the quality and quantity of my work-completion rate.

Keep your eye on the prize: Constantly remind yourself why you’re doing it. Then, remind yourself why your purpose is important. As long as you can justify something to yourself, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to make time to get it done. When you start struggling to justify putting effort into something, that’s when you need to start worrying and re-evaluating.