Beat the Homework Block Phenomenon

by Annie Lewandowski

Outside of the classroom everything is kicking up — holidays, contests, competitions, sales, shows, movies and more. The one unfortunate constant is the onslaught of school work. Who can sit down at a desk for more than an hour when all there is to think about is all the delicious food you will soon be shoveling in your mouth? For me, this time is a high point for procrastination. I feel restless and frustrated about what I have to do and how little motivation I have to do it. My mind is elsewhere (whether that be stuck in summer or frolicking in snow drifts with not one paragraph to write) and concentration eludes me time and time again. If listlessness and a dreadful feeling of school monotony have pervaded into your workspace, try out some of the tips below for some inspiration and a little shake up.

*These tips are from my own experience of what works best for me.

  1. Separate work and play (and sleep): Do not do your work on your bed. I know it is a fluffy safe haven of peace and seeming the perfect place to get down to business, but it really is not. When you do homework on your bed or in other sacred resting spaces, you destroy their aura of calm. This assures that you will get a less restful night sleep and may even doze off while doing homework. Try to find another quiet space in your house to finish your work (trust me there are a lot more than you think).
  2. Release the Beast: Pent up energy = no concentration = subpar school work. Scream, punch a pillow, run a mile, yodel, speed clean your room (bonus points there), or try some sick martial arts moves you saw in a movie. Basically, do something that will relieve you of the anxiety and looming feeling that something behind your back is going to eat you at any second. After you have done this, sit down in that quiet space with a clear mind and get cracking!
  3. Find Some Stimulus: Certain smells like mint and lavender really help my brain to wake up and get down to business. Aromatherapy, mint candies, and bath soaks (bonus!) are great ways to both calm the craziness in your head and spark the synapses that can actually get work done. Maybe even try scent coding. Associate a scent with each class you have to help make connection and aid memory.
  4. Split Up Your Studies: For me, studying for more than an hour straight makes me absolutely cross-eyed with boredom. I can’t focus on the material and my mind starts to wander. Short breaks every hour or so to eat or stretch really do help to alleviate some of this numbness and will pull you out of learning ruts.

Hopefully some of these tips helped you or gave you some inspiration to create your perfect work environment. Pointers like these got me through even the dreaded midterm study crisis last year. Stay awake, calm, energized, and studious!