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Lacking Motivation for School? Here’s What You Can Do About It

Student Life

December 22, 2023

Lack of motivation and tiredness at this point in the school year is spreading like a virus, and catching it can be deadly for your school performance.

Why Am I So Unmotivated?

Students often lack motivation in school and think it's because they dislike school, or ‘it’s always been this way' but this couldn't be less true. Major causes of un-motivation are being overwhelmed by other classes, lack of organization, or just not knowing where to start when it comes to assignments and study. Some students might struggle with self-esteem and confidence in their work, thinking they aren’t good enough and thinking that their efforts might not improve their academic performance.

The Solutions

Now there is no ‘one-solution-fix-all’ and you may struggle with motivation for a while, but using the tips and tricks below, you will be able to improve your motivation exponentially and become more confident in your academic abilities.


I know you've heard it in almost every student-help article. You're bored of reading ‘a minimum of eight hours a night!’. But truly, sleep is one of the best things to improve your motivation.

Tiredness is one of the most common issues that teens face, and staying up late studying or scrolling isn't the best to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. An article from Healthline (available here) gives you 17 tips to improve your sleep health and allow you to feel well-rested throughout the day.

Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.

-Napoleon Bonaparte


As a student, your daily calendar is filled with activities, school and classes, extracurriculars, home life, and social events. Managing to juggle these tasks, and keeping your sanity while you're at it, is a colossal achievement. I'm not saying to go out and get your life sorted out, to become ‘that girl’ whose life is so perfect and organized.

I'm here to give you ways to manage all of these commitments and deal with the overwhelm from your school and social lives. So, how do you cope with being overwhelmed?

Firstly, calm yourself down. Don't think about anything but your breathing, and focus solely on your breaths. Do it with me. Breathe in for four, hold for four, breathe out for four, hold for four. Repeat as many times as needed. (Read more- Breathing Exercises for Stress)

Once you're calm, take out a sheet of paper and write out every task you need to have completed. It doesn't matter what order, just dump every task onto the page, no matter how big or small. If you get overwhelmed again, go back again to the breathing techniques.

Once you have everything down, start to write down any due dates, and highlight any urgent tasks. If there are any tasks that you may not need to complete anymore, just cross them out. Continue making changes and making sure you have everything organized on your paper (if needed). Finally, grab a second sheet of paper, and write everything back down in a prioritized list with the most important task at the top, and the least at the bottom.


In the last step, you organized your tasks and made sure you were mentally ready to take on tasks, now you need to physically sort out everything. Start with just your workspace. Put on your favorite playlist and clean while blasting those tunes (this is especially helpful for those with ADHD). Make sure that your desk/study space is as organized and clutter-free as possible so that you can put in your best effort with a clean space to work.

Plot Your Progress

When working on schoolwork or studying, it can be draining to think of the mountains of work you might have in front of you. Sometimes, ticking off to-do lists just don't cut it, so drawing or creating a visual representation can help you stay focused, and remind yourself of the amazing progress you've made so far.

One way of doing this is by creating an online or physical study/homework tracker. To do this, you first need a list of your assignments with their due dates or exam dates and any other important information (check your syllabus!). Next, you need to create a table in Excel or on a sheet of paper with the following headings ‘Name (of Assignment/Exam)’ ‘Subject’ ‘Date’ ‘Type’ ‘Status’, and any other categories you think are necessary. Then, just fill out your table with the information from the other sheet of paper- and your homework tracker is complete!

If you need some more help or want to know how to make it more aesthetic using an app- check out the links below!

Using Excel | Using Notion | Using Google Sheets

Self-Esteem at School

Improving your self-esteem at school, and in academic activities is vital to becoming more confident, and procrastinating less. I know you might be asking yourself ‘How does self-esteem relate to procrastination?’, but the two are almost synonymous, and rely heavily on each other. Students with lower self-esteem often lack motivation, as they lack confidence in their abilities, and therefore believe they won't be able to achieve their goals.

The best way to improve academic self-esteem is to stop comparing yourself to others. I know it sounds impossible, but by practicing gratitude, celebrating all of your achievements (no matter how small), and focusing on your goals, you will be able to start improving your self-esteem. Just don't forget, it is a learning process, and you won't get it right away, but keep chipping away at it, and you will get there.

Read more- Tips to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

The Big Picture

In a nutshell, feeling unmotivated in school is more than just not liking it – it's often about being overwhelmed, disorganized, or unsure of where to start. Plus, self-esteem plays a big role. If you think you're not good enough, it's tough to get motivated to improve.

In the end, it's about taking small steps to shake off the slump and unlock your academic potential. So, wake up, get motivated, and show the world what you've got!

Audrey Rogers

Writer since Dec, 2023 · 1 published articles

Audrey Rogers is currently a sophomore in high school, in Brisbane, Australia. She is highly passionate about climate change and women's rights. In her free time, she enjoys baking, listening to Taylor Swift, and rapping.