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Procrastination, Burnout, and Motivation

This section will tell you more about different strategies you can use to stay motivated, avoid procrastinating, and prevent burnout.

Procrastination is the act of avoiding a task that needs to be accomplished, even though the delay may affect performance later. It is important to be mindful of when and why you procrastinate because chronic procrastination can often leave you feeling demotivated and burned out.

When we procrastinate, we often find ourselves trapped in a negative cycle. Check out this image from OpenLearnCreate, which walks us through the stages of this cycle.


this image shows the procrastination cycle


  • Step 1: Task
    • All procrastination begins with a task, or goal to achieve.
  • Step 2: Unhelpful rules and assumptions 
    • Telling yourself things like “I can’t do it,” “I don’t feel like it,” or “It must be perfect,” only delay our work. 
  • Step 3: Perceived discomfort
    • The things we tell ourselves often make us feel uncomfortable, so we look for a way to escape.
  • Step 4: Excuses
    • To justify our escape, we generate a list of excuses. These could be things like, “I work better under pressure.” Check out the Common Procrastination Excuses below for more examples.
  • Step 5: Procrastination activities
    • Rather than confronting the task, we choose to do something else instead. 
  • Step 6: Short-term reward
    • We feel rewarded by doing these other activities, and we temporarily avoid the potential discomfort of facing our task. 
  • Step 7: Long-term negative consequences
    • As the deadline approaches, the original task feels even more unpleasant than before, reinforcing our unhelpful rules and assumptions.
    • When our panic reaches its peak, we start working through the task; but it may be too late.

The good thing about the cycle is that we can reverse it from negative to positive. We need to understand why we are trapped in a negative cycle, and how to move away from it, in order to change the cycle. 

Awareness is key to preventing procrastination.

Some common reasons for procrastinating are:

  • Self-confidence
    • Some students procrastinate because they doubt their ability to succeed. Others may procrastinate because they are too self-confident in their skills.
      •  Strategies:
        • Ask for help, speak with your professor, TA, a subject specialist or peer tutor with the Student Learning Centre. 
        • If you find yourself overconfident, try to be realistic about what you can achieve and how long it will take to complete.
  • Fixed mindset
    • When we have a fixed mindset, we tend to see our abilities as innate and unchangeable; we view failure as permanent, and we give up in the face of challenges. 
    • With a growth mindset, we believe that the quantity of our knowledge can grow, and we can develop our skills over time. We see mistakes and failures as opportunities to learn and pivot. We are also more willing to take risks, experiment, and solve problems. 
    • We can sometimes hold a fixed mindset regarding certain beliefs about ourselves while holding a growth mindset in other areas.
    • It is a good idea to work on developing a growth mindset.
    • Watch this Developing a growth mindset video from ClickView to learn more about fixed and growth mindsets.
      • Strategies:
        • Psychologist Carol Dweck proposes a few steps to cultivate our growth mindset. Listen for your fixed mindset voice.
        • Once you notice you are speaking to yourself with a fixed mindset, recognize that you have a choice. You can view challenges and setbacks as signs of a fixed talent, or you could embrace these obstacles as opportunities.
        • Talk to your fixed mindset voice with a growth mindset voice. By adding the simple word “yet” when we tell ourselves we can’t do something, we empower ourselves to see room for growth. You can watch Dweck’s TED Talk on Growth Mindset here.
        • Then, take the growth mindset action. Here, you must determine the appropriate actions to move forward. 
  • Anxiety, overwhelm, and stress
    • When we feel anxious, overwhelmed, or stressed, we often cope by avoiding what stresses us out.
    • We often feel overwhelmed when a task feels too large, if there are a large number of tasks that have added up, or if we doubt our abilities to succeed.
      • Strategies:
        • Time management strategies like, breaking down large tasks into smaller chunks can really help you get started on those scary and overwhelming projects. Check out the Task and To-Do List page for suggestions on how to break tasks down. Also, begin implementing some of the other Organizational Tools we can use for time management.
        • If your anxiety begins interfering with your life, it can be helpful to reach out for additional support. Ontario Tech’s Student Mental Health Services are free with your tuition and the stepped care approach offers you a range of supports to get you through life’s challenges.
  • Perfectionism
    • A perfectionist fears failure and strives for flawlessness. The problem with perfectionism is that perfectionists tend to experience high stress and often struggle with a fixed mindset and procrastination.
    • Perfectionists tend to see abilities as fixed in place, giving them a fixed mindset. 
    • When we have unrealistic expectations for ourselves, it can be challenging for us to get started, and the fear of failure may freeze us. Perfectionism is therefore related to procrastination in several ways.
    • Many perfectionists worry about how others perceive them, and the fear of evaluation or negative feedback can encourage procrastination.
      • Strategies:
        • It is essential to challenge your perfectionistic thinking if you struggle with perfectionism.
        • Replace self-critical thinking with more realistic and supportive statements
        • Work on developing a growth mindset and recognize that making mistakes is part of life.
        • Work on developing self-compassion. 
        • Try to keep perspective. 
        • Reflect on the absurdity of perfection.
        • Compromise with yourself. Try to come up with more reasonable standards for yourself. 
        • Forgive yourself for procrastinating. Researchers have found that students who forgive themselves for procrastinating tend to perform better 
        • Just get started and commit to writing a bad first draft. Check out author Anne Lamott’s advice on writing crappy first drafts.
        • Work on embracing feedback rather than seeing it as a negative.
        • To learn more about these strategies, visit Anxiety Canada’s “How to Overcome Perfectionism” and reach out to the university’s Mental Health services if you need more support.
  • Instant gratification and the unpleasantness of the task
    • Not all tasks are enjoyable, and it can be challenging to muster the motivation to study when there are more entertaining options. 
      • Strategies:
        • Find ways to make studying less aversive. We tend to procrastinate and cram because we associate negative feelings with studying. If we associate studying with cramming, we will never have positive feelings about learning.
        • To make studying more enjoyable, try to pace yourself. Set small habits to do a little bit of studying each day. This gives you time to learn the content, ask questions, and apply some more active study strategies to the process.
        • Find ways to increase your motivation to learn. Check out the section on Motivation and Burnout for suggestions on improving your motivation.
        • Change your mindset. Check out the College Info Geek’s “I don’t feel like it” video for suggestions on how to shift your mindset. 
  • Absence of structure and distant goals
    • University requires students to become independent learners and take responsibility for their learning. Students are expected to manage their time appropriately outside of class, and it can be challenging. 
    • When there are too many different tasks to focus on, it can be hard to decide what to complete first.
    • It can also be challenging to get started on assignments with a lot of flexibility and choice.
    • People also procrastinate when goals are too vague or abstract or when the rewards are far off in the future. 
      • Strategies:
        • Make sure you devote enough time to your studies and study at the most appropriate times. Review the section “How Much Time Should I Spend on My University Courses?: Two Rules of Thumb” to see how to set yourself up for success.
        • When you are overwhelmed by a number of things, develop a prioritization system. Check out the Prioritization Systems on NOOL for tips.
        • If you struggle with getting started on an assignment because there are so many different directions you could go, reach out for more support. You could speak to your professor or TA, book an appointment with a Writing Specialist in the Writing Room, or meet with a Subject Librarian to help you get started on your research.
        • Keep your goals front and center centre, and make sure you have an action plan. Check out the Goal and Habit Tracking page for some tips! Also, try using some Organizational Tools to help you plan and pace projects, even when they seem far off.
        • Try to become friends with your “future self.” When we procrastinate, we think that the tasks we are putting off are someone else’s problem, but we are only hurting ourselves.
        • Ask yourself what your next action could be. When you don’t feel like starting a task, just consider what would be the next step to accomplishing it.
  • Mild successes
    • We might procrastinate because it has worked for us in the past. We may have ended up with the grade we wanted.
    • At the same time, chronic procrastination can lead to many mental and physical health challenges, and it is not the most sustainable or effective long-term strategy
    • Also, remember, even when we plan and pace ourselves, we can still make room for enjoyable activities. Procrastination does not allow us to reach this healthy balance, which is why it often leads to burnout.
      • Strategies:
        • When you procrastinate, reflect on what led you to that outcome.
        • If you aren’t convinced, compare an experience when you postponed working on a task until the last possible minute and when you paced yourself on another one. 

Remember that self-discipline is an important life skill, and planning and pacing our work is a great way to become more disciplined. Writer and illustrator Tim Urban talks about this point in his TEDTalk called Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator. If you find yourself procrastinating and think it works for you, give that video a watch

It is important to recognize our reasons for procrastinating. Let’s have a closer look at some common procrastination myths and some strategies to confront them.

Myth: I’ve got plenty of time still and I work better under pressure.
  • Time management skills are essential here. Before you decide to put off any work, create a plan for the project and estimate how long each step will take. 
  • When you start breaking a project into smaller tasks, it is easier to start because rather than doing it all at once, it’s spread out. Check out the Task and To-Do List page for a step-by-step process of planning out your tasks in advance.
  • Procrastination harms performance, cramming the night before an exam is not an efficient way to get things done. Planning out and pacing projects will always get you better results.
  • Cramming is not conducive to learning. We learn best by using Spaced Practice, where we spread out our study time rather than doing it all at once. 
  • Don’t set deadlines with the intention of breaking them and treat them as if they were the absolute deadline.
  • Use an external party to hold you accountable, this can help you keep your promise of finishing early. Try booking an appointment with a peer tutor or writing specialist. This way, you will have to commit to having part of your work completed for that appointment.
  • Always remind yourself why you set your deadlines.
Myth: The need to be inspired or in the right mood.
  • Instead of waiting for an idea or the mood to strike, you need to sit down and commit to working – with or without inspiration. In fact, inspiration is the by-product of work – it comes from doing.
  • Once you get going on a task, it becomes a lot easier to keep going on it. 
Myth: This is just who I am, and I am good at procrastinating.
  • Just because you have succeeded at procrastinating doesn’t mean that you will be successful again. 
  • Don’t assume that you will have the same mental and physical resources in the future.
  • Work on cultivating a growth mindset and realize that you can learn new skills. Take little steps every day to develop new habits and shift your perspective.
Myth: I can’t get started until I have several hours of uninterrupted time to work on this.
  • It can be exhausting to continually switch our mental focus from one activity to the next. If you have a few hours to hammer out working on a task, you should do so. However, if you don’t have that time available, utilize the time you do have.
  • Commit to working in smaller chunks, which Alan Lakein calls the “Swiss Cheese Approach.” This e idea behind this approach is that it is indeed possible to get something started in only a few minutes at a time, and once you do start, it becomes easier to keep going. 
    • To use the Swiss Cheese approach, look for little gaps in your schedule and work in small holes of time.
    • Poke small holes into a larger project on a consistent basis. Once you get started on a task, it will no longer look as difficult and overwhelming. 
    • Rather than wasting little pockets of time on social media, you will realize that this time can add up and could have been spent more productively! 
    • All you have to do is ask yourself, “what can I get done in this small gap of time?” 
      • For instance, you might not be able to conduct all of your research for an essay in twenty minutes, but you may be able to find an article. 
    • Use the Swiss Cheese approach to complete your projects with less stress.
Myth: I’ll be able to do a better job tomorrow.
  • We tend to think our future self will be more organized, and have more energy, but without any significant personal growth, our future self will still procrastinate. 
  • There will be times when you will need to rest or when you feel unwell, and in those moments, it can be more productive to recharge. But if you frequently tell yourself you can do better tomorrow; you will need to start getting honest with yourself.
  • Unless you take steps to become more disciplined, productive, organized, and rested today, you will be the same tomorrow.
  • The key is to take time today to work on yourself so that you have the time management, organizational, and self-discipline skills you will need in the future!

Developing awareness is essential to preventing procrastination.  This section will address a few other helpful techniques to prevent procrastination from taking over. 

Eat the Frog
  •  Brian Tracy outlines a strategy he calls “eat the frog.” 
    • This name is derived from a saying by Mark Twain. Twain once said that if the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the rest of your day with the satisfaction of knowing that this is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day.
  • For Tracy, your “frog” is the biggest, most important task you must complete.
  • As you reflect on your goals for the day, Tracy says you should work on your most challenging task first.
  • Sometimes we can’t eat the entire frog; in other words, you might need to break your frog into smaller chunks and handle it a bit at a time.
  • Make a dent in your most challenging task before moving on.

 Develop Your Time Management and Organizational Skills

  • Use the time management techniques in the Organizational Tools section of NOOL. Here, you will learn many useful skills on organization. Visit a Study Skills Specialist or Peer Success Facilitator for more tips and support.
Change Your Perspective
  • Practice positive self-talk. Words such as “never,” and “I can’t,” will get you trapped into cycles of thinking, that make it challenging to escape.
  • A self-fulling prophecy is when one predicts an outcome of an event and then inadvertently acts in a way that brings about the very result.
  • In most cases, these negative thinking traps start with deep-seated negative and irrational beliefs, ideas, or expectations about oneself. Once negative feelings bog you down, it is challenging to find ways to engage in more adaptive behaviour.
  • Work on corrective thinking. Uncover the core irrational beliefs and replace negative self-talk with more realistic and accurate thoughts. If you struggle with changing your thinking, reach out to the Mental Health services at the university for some support. 
Tailor Tiny Tasks
  • When you struggle to begin a task, start small and build. Practice being consistent on a smaller scale and develop your progress over time.
    • You can do this by following the “Two-Minute Rule.”
    • Try to scale down any big task into a two-minute version.
    • Build up the time that you spend on a task. Maybe you start with two minutes, but you can extend this time later. Make small increases so you can build momentum.
Hangout with People Who Inspire You to Act
  • Let others’ positivity, motivation, and energy inspire you to work on a task. Find a mentor who is productive from which you can learn.
  • Group work can reduce procrastination among students. Study groups can help you increase accountability. Check out the Group Work Strategies section on NOOL to learn more about best practices for group work. 
  • Even when working with others, be sure to hold yourself accountable to your own goals.
Use a Timer Technique
  • Use a timer to monitor how long you spend on tasks and breaks so you can achieve a healthy balance. 
  • Timer techniques, like Pomodoro, can help you break down your big tasks, into smaller bursts, followed by a break.
  • Review Timer Techniques for Study Sessions to learn how to use timer techniques effectively.

Tips to Stop Wasting Time: Avoiding Distractions

  • Distractions, even small ones, can cause procrastination. To avoid your distractions, you must develop an awareness of what distracts you.
  • Pay attention to your distractions. Put minor obstacles in the way of those distractions, for instance: 
    • Logging out of your social media accounts
    • Using a lockdown browser
    • Putting your phone in another room
    • Unplugging your television
  • Schedule time for your distractions. Keep your breaks reasonably proportionate to the amount of time you spend working.
  • Turn off notifications. We break our focus every time a message pops up, and it can take several minutes for us to rebuild it.
  • Set up an optimal study environment. Check out the page Setting Up Your Study Space for some strategies for optimizing your study environment.

Check out the College Info Geek’s video and article, How to Actually Stop Wasting Time on the Internet for more tips on avoiding distractions online.

In this section, we will discuss why we become burned out and what we can do to prevent it. We will also look at strategies to boost motivation and productivity. 

What is Burnout, and How to Prevent It?

Burnout can be defined as “a negative emotional, physical, and mental reaction to prolonged study that results in exhaustion, frustration, lack of motivation and reduced ability in school” (University of the People, n.d.). Burnout is a chronic condition that happens when a student faces ongoing stress or frustration with no period of relief to recharge.

To treat your academic burnout, you must first recognize the warning signs. The University of the People article, What is Academic Burnout lays out some common symptoms.

Once you recognize the symptoms of burnout, it is important to reflect on why you may be experiencing it. Burnout doesn’t happen overnight, and it can take time to develop. Notice the onset of symptoms and figure out what is causing you to experience those feelings; this is necessary to help solve the problem. Some common reasons include:

  • Assignment overload and a taxing course load.
  • Mental or physical challenges.
  • Trying to balance multiple (often competing) responsibilities.
  • Family troubles.
  • Financial issues.
  • External work commitments.

It is important to recognize the signs of burnout and find the cause. Don’t ignore the warning signs, it will only worsen if you don’t get help. 

The following are some strategies to implement to prevent burnout from taking over:

  • Make sure your system is in working order
    • Our bodies need sleep, nutrition, and exercise to function effectively. 
    • Try to exercise at least three times a week, stay hydrated, and eat a balanced diet.
    • Prioritize getting enough sleep. Try establishing a sleep schedule with a consistent sleep-wake cycle and limit caffeine and screen time before bed. If you struggle to fight off racing thoughts, try listening to a sleep podcast, such as Nothing Much Happens.
    • Try to get outside, spending time outdoors can boost your mood and replenish your mental energy.
    • Find ways to manage your stress; mindfulness meditation is an excellent way to do this.
      • Essentially, “mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens” (Goretzki and Zysk, 2017). 
      • To practice mindfulness, pay attention to your present experiences rather than focusing on the past and future. Concentrating on your breathing can help ground you in the present moment.
      • There are many guided meditations online that you can use to get started. Some good, free ones include Palouse Mindfulness and UCLA’s Mindfulness App
    • Even a few minutes of stretching or mindfulness during a break can make a massive difference if you commit to doing it consistently. Check out the Movement Break videos from the University of Toronto, which provide a short-guided exercise and mindfulness breaks into your routine.
    • Check out the University’s Campus Recreation resources and the Mental Health Services for additional support.
  • Set boundaries and say no
    • Learn to say “no” to tasks that cause you undue stress, keep you from accomplishing your key priorities, and do not fit your schedule.
      • Rather than immediately saying “yes” to something, try acknowledging the request but asking for some time to consider.
    • Then, carefully reflect and evaluate the opportunity. Ask yourself if you have enough time and energy to reasonably take on the task.
    • It can be helpful to reach out to a family member, friend, or mentor for some advice. 
    • Create a pro-con list to help you decide if the opportunity is worth it.
    • If you cannot commit to the opportunity, be sure to respectfully decline as soon as possible.
    • Sometimes, you can say, “Yes, but…”. Rather than declining, you can consider alternative ways to be involved and set clear boundaries for your participation. 
  • Give larger commitments, careful consideration and set reasonable goals
    • Don’t bite off more than you can chew with your course load and other commitments. While it is good to challenge yourself, recognize that you have limitations.
    • Be sure to set realistic and attainable goals and stick to them. 
    • If you are managing too much and are unsure of what to cut out, reach out for help! Your Academic Advisor is a great place to start, as they can help you figure out what is necessary for your academic goals and provide suggestions for moving forward.
  • Get organized and work on time management
    • When we manage all of our deadlines in our heads, and when our work and living spaces are a mess, we can become exhausted, leading to burn out.
    • Use a calendar and daily reminders to plan and pace yourself as you work on
    • Review the Organizational Tools and Setting Up Your Study Space sections of NOOL for some tips to get organized.
    • If you find yourself overwhelmed by all of the tasks you have to complete, check out the College Info Geek’s suggestions on What to do when you get overwhelmed.
  • Take breaks and make time for enjoyable activities
    • Remind yourself that you also need time for rest, social activities, and happiness. Establishing a work-life balance is just as crucial for students as it is for workers.
    • Don’t let work tasks spill into your break time and vice versa.
    • Make time for social activities, friends, and family. Not only will they provide you with a support system but doing fun activities with your friends can boost your mood and give your mind a break. 
    • Keep things in moderation and remember that getting your work done is also self-care. Breaking tasks down and working on them in smaller increments, will help you plan and pace your academic work more effectively.
    • Make short breaks a regular occurrence in your daily schedule; use a timer technique when studying to ensure that you balance your study sessions 
    • Be sure to make time for longer breaks as well, such as resting over the holidays.
  • Practice gratitude and watch out for limiting beliefs
    • Stay positive and practice gratitude. Studies have shown that those who take the time to reflect on their gratitude experience less stress and depressive symptoms (Cheng, Tsui, and Lam, 2014).
    • Every evening, reflect on three things you are grateful for that for about that day.
      • Some days there will be amazing things, and other times, there may be more simple joys. On tough days, try to focus on the basics.
  • Watch out for limiting beliefs that may cause you to feel burned out
    • For instance, watch out for perfectionism, which can lead to burnout. 
    • Don’t tell yourself that you are not worthy of taking a break until a specific task is done. Everyone deserves to take breaks, being overworked and exhausted will make it difficult for you to accomplish any work. 
    • If you feel like you are not doing enough, focus on what you have accomplished. Use a to-do list and check things off. Review how much you have already done when you feel like you aren’t doing enough!
  • Reflect on the big picture, redefine success, and ask for help
    • During intense periods of stress, reflect and, if relevant, redefine your definition of success. Ask yourself:
      • What are my priorities? 
      • Where can I make changes to seek a better balance?
      • When was the last time I said “no”?
      • What conditions do I need to flourish?
      • Do I procrastinate? If so, what can I change going forward?
      • Who am I trying to impress, and why? Are these reasons valid?
      • What does success mean to me? 
      • How can I feel more in control of my life and my schedule?
    • If you cannot find solutions to the questions, don’t be afraid to ask for help!
      • Talk to family and friends. 
      • Additionally, reach out to resources at the university, such as Academic Advising, Student Accessibility Services, Mental Health Services, and the Student Learning Centre. Remember, you don’t have to struggle alone!

If you want more strategies to help you avoid burnout, watch the following video from the College Info Geek:


Sparking your motivation

Psychology Today defines motivation as “the desire to act in the service of a goal. It is the crucial element in setting and attaining one’s objectives – and research shows that people can influence and enhance their own levels of motivation.” 

When faced with difficult tasks, remember, the university experience is a marathon, not a sprint. As the quotation above mentions, we can take steps to increase our own levels of motivation.

The following are some strategies to enhance your motivation:

  • Reflect on both your extrinsic and intrinsic motivators
    • Know that there are two ways we can be motivated:
      • The first is extrinsic motivation, which is the desire to do or achieve something, not for the enjoyment of the things itself, but because doing so leads to a particular result.
      • The second type is intrinsic motivation, which is the desire to do or achieve something because one genuinely wants to and takes pleasure or sees value in doing it.
    • Are you motivated more so by extrinsic factors or intrinsic ones? maybe a combination of both?
    • Both forms of motivation are necessary, so work on balancing intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
  • Make your goals challenging and personal
    • When reflecting on your goals, write down why your goal is valuable and important to you.
    • Write your reasons down and keep them visible. Use this as a motivating statement to remind yourself what you are doing and why. 
  • Forget the rewards
    • While recognition and rewards can reinforce your motivation, try forgetting about the rewards if you struggle with connecting to your learning.
    • If you find yourself only working on assignments or studying for the tests because you want to earn a certain GPA, try to cultivate your intrinsic motivation over extrinsic motivators.
    • When we find inherent value in our learning, we are more likely to seek feedback, monitor our progress, and demonstrate resilience in the face of challenges. 
  • Engage your curiosity
    • Inquisitive and eager brains are much more receptive to learning and are better at critical thinking. To be a curious learner, ask questions and actively seek out the answers. 
    • Rather than focusing on just the grades and assignments, try to understand the bigger picture of the courses.
    • When learning a new concept or working on an assignment, ask yourself a few why questions. For instance: Why am I learning this?
  • Foster a growth mindset and develop positive self-talk
    • If you constantly tell yourself, “I hate doing this,” or “this is pointless, " you will struggle with motivation. Work on challenging your mindset. Spend a few minutes writing down the good things about what you are doing, and when you find a negative thought appearing, talk back to it with a positive statement.
    • Work on developing your resiliency and cultivating a growth mindset.
      • According to psychologist Carol Dweck, a fixed mindset means you believe that your intelligence, talents, and skills are fixed traits
      • In contrast, Dweck notes that when we embrace a growth mindset, we believe we can develop our skills, knowledge, and talents.
      • To stay motivated, adopt a growth mindset. 
  • Believe your academic work will have an effect on your life
    • Look at the learning outcomes in your course syllabus. Think about how they will prepare you for success.
    • As you learn a new concept or complete an assignment, ask yourself, “What will this understanding help me achieve?” 
  • Schedule your motivation
    • If you want to get something done, then schedule it.
    • Use your schedule to help you build, develop, and track habits, and do your best to stick to your schedule. 
  • Take the first step and build small habits
    • Motivation is the result of action, not the cause of it. In other words, to feel motivated, we must get started. 
    • Taking the first step can be difficult. Try to break down larger assignments into smaller tasks or use a timer technique to schedule your distractions so that you can use your work time to stay motivated. 
  • Believe you are in control of your life
    • If we do not feel like we have control over our circumstances, we can feel defeated, making it very difficult to stay motivated. This relates to the concept of external and internal locus of control. 
      • When we have an external locus of control, we believe that our successes and failures result from external factors beyond our control, such as luck, fate, circumstance, and injustice. 
      • When we have an internal locus of control, we believe that our successes or failures result from our own efforts and work.
        • Watch the following video, “How to Stay Motivated - The Locus Rule,” to learn how our locus of control is related to our motivation.
      •  Students with an internal locus of control tend to work hard to progress, whereas students with an external locus of control tend to believe that hard work is pointless.
      • Of course, certain factors will continue to remain outside of our control. No one has a 100 per cent external or internal locus of control.
      • But we can work on developing our internal locus of control: If you believe that you hold the keys to your fate, you are more likely to take action to change your situation.
      • To develop your internal locus of control, work on changing how you view situations and events. Think about specific actions you can take that will have an impact on the outcome. 

You may also want to check out the following video by the College Info Geek, which provides suggestions to help you feel motivated every morning, so you can begin each day with a more productive routine

Productivity Tools

Being productive as a student means being able to meet challenges and tasks efficiently. 

The following articles and videos offer strategies and tools to increase productivity levels:



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Dweck, Carol. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Random House. 

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Goretzki, M. and Zysk, A. (2017). Using Mindfulness Techniques to Improve Student Wellbeing and Academic Performance for University Students: A Pilot Study. JANZSSA 25(1). Accessed at: 

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Karpenko, Nataliia. (21 March 2017). Forget the Carrots and Sticks: Internal Motivation is the Key to Success. LinkedIn. Accessed at: 

Lakein, Alan. (1989). How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life. Signet.

Lazarus, Clifford N. (29 March 2018). How to Stop Self-Fulfilling Prophesies of Failure: Turn Your Vicious Circles into Virtuous Ones. Psychology Today. Accessed at: 

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Martin, Alexandra. (21 April 2022). I Used to be a Procrastinator. Paymo. Accessed at: 

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