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Getting started -OR- destroying my university career for no reason

NibbleNibble Registered User regular
edited November 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
|TL;DR| I am good at doing assignments, but I am unable to get myself to start them, to the point that it is severely affecting my grades. What can I do?

I just finished writing a short four-page essay for a second-year philosophy course that I'm taking to complete my degree requirements. It only took me about three hours in total to write my first and only draft, which I quickly checked for grammatical errors before submitting it. That's not a problem for me -- I am very good at writing essays, and I can get mid-to-high 80s with little effort. Besides that, I am really interested in the course and I had a fun time writing the essay.

However, I will lose 26% right off the bat because it's 13 days late. Thank God the professor only takes off 2% per day instead of 5%, like many others! Why is it late? Your guess is as good as mine. I am certainly busy, simultaneously completing my degree online, studying Chinese full-time at a university in Taiwan, and teaching English another 25 hours per week, but I still had ample time to complete the essay, and even set aside specific time slots to do it. In the end, I wasn't able to get myself to start writing until two weeks after the due date.

This is actually a problem that has plagued me for my entire university career, causing me to hand essays in late or not at all, missing a couple exams, and even dropping a number of courses after the deadline for tuition refunds :S I used to think that it was due to some serious depression, anxiety, and stress issues that I had; but now I'm away from the things that were causing those problems for me now, and I'm in what should be a much more stressful situation (work + 2x school), but I actually feel better than I have in a long time because I am doing what I really want to do, I'm in a good relationship, and I have a decent future planned out for the next few years.

Despite all this, I still can't seem to get myself started on schoolwork. Whenever I book off time to do it, I just sit there thinking about how I have no idea how to start, or how much time it's going to take, or some other irrelevant stuff. Actually, I take very good notes and all I really need to do is copy them in order in proper essay format, and I usually have an epiphany about halfway through and start coming up with lots of great ideas to expand on my argument. It's quite easy, but I always worry that it will be hard, then I start to feel tired, and I tell myself that I should rest first and try again tomorrow. This keeps repeating until I finally force myself to type that first sentence, and that's really all I need to blast through the entire essay in one sitting. Unfortunately, by that time I'm usually already late by a few days.

I've successfully petitioned to get some of my lower grades removed from my record due to my depression in past years, but I think I've pretty much used up that lifeline by now, and I'd rather not waste any more tuition dropping courses that I know I can pass easily. I only need to pass these last two courses (both second-year philosophy courses) and I'm home free, but it's looking like that's going to be a lot harder than I thought. I should probably talk to my professors about it and see if they can reduce the late penalty or give me an extra assignment to boost my grade, but I'm embarrassed and I can't really provide a reason why I do this, as even I don't know.

I don't know how I should deal with my current grade situation or with getting over this ridiculous problem with starting assignments. Any suggestions?

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Nibble on

Posts

  • supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Cut the crap and stop procrastinating. Unless you have ADHD, you’re just making excuses. When I went to school I had to write a bunch of academic essays about multicultural art history for lame classes that nobody on faculty gave two shits about because the looney dean who dreamed them up had quit years earlier and nobody bothered to change the curriculum. But I grew up, wrote the essays, and stayed on the Dean’s list.

    Other useful tips:
    1. Make to-do lists.
    2. Ship ALL of your video games back home and don’t unbox ANY of them until after graduation.
    3. Keep a log a everything you do, every damned day.

    supabeast on
  • Smug DucklingSmug Duckling Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Do your assignments in a place with NOTHING else to do, whatsoever. This is a bit harder with an essay versus with an assignment since you will pretty much need a computer to do it (unless you're comfortable with writing by hand). A good way to prevent bad computer use is to go somewhere with no internet, on a computer with no video games AT ALL (that includes Solitaire). Don't let yourself leave until you've made significant progress.

    Reward yourself by doing something fun once you have your work done.

    I am very familiar with what you're talking about. The thought process is like this:

    1: I should do this assignment
    2: Man, this assignment requires a lot of thought to start
    3: I'll just surf the internet/play a game for a few minutes and then start...
    4: repeat

    CUT OUT OPTION 3. Don't even make it a possibility. Make the only alternative to doing work be doing nothing at all.

    Go to the library, outside, an empty classroom. Just get out of your room, your house, and preferably away from the internet unless absolutely necessary. If you do need to use the internet, use it in a public place such as a library where you're less likely to be surfing forums.

    Smug Duckling on
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  • burntheladleburntheladle Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Sounds to me like one of the problems you have is skipping a step in essay writing. Do you write a sketchy outline?

    I'm saying this not because I think you need an outline to improve the quality of your essay (although it is certainly useful for many people), but because I think it would help you to get started with actually writing the essay.

    When you write the outline, it eliminates not doing your work because you think it is too hard, so you don't want to deal with it. Outlines are allowed to be as shit and sketchy as you like - nobody else is going to see it. Don't write your outline in prose, write it in dot points - this eleminates worrying about making it perfect.

    Plus, an outline doesn't take long to write at all. If you really know your material, you could probably write on in 15 minutes. This makes it really easy to start, since it takes no time at all, you can promise yourself you will do something else very shortly.

    Once you have an outline, the actual essay is much less intimidating. I write essays the same way you do - one draft, just checked for obvious errors and never seriously reworked. I find it quite difficult to start, because it takes a lot of energy to get something right first time, and I completely understand where you're coming from.

    burntheladle on
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  • LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Sounds to me like one of the problems you have is skipping a step in essay writing. Do you write a sketchy outline?

    I'm saying this not because I think you need an outline to improve the quality of your essay (although it is certainly useful for many people), but because I think it would help you to get started with actually writing the essay.

    When you write the outline, it eliminates not doing your work because you think it is too hard, so you don't want to deal with it. Outlines are allowed to be as shit and sketchy as you like - nobody else is going to see it. Don't write your outline in prose, write it in dot points - this eleminates worrying about making it perfect.

    Plus, an outline doesn't take long to write at all. If you really know your material, you could probably write on in 15 minutes. This makes it really easy to start, since it takes no time at all, you can promise yourself you will do something else very shortly.

    Once you have an outline, the actual essay is much less intimidating. I write essays the same way you do - one draft, just checked for obvious errors and never seriously reworked. I find it quite difficult to start, because it takes a lot of energy to get something right first time, and I completely understand where you're coming from.

    I will absolutely second this. I'm working on a thesis for my MA right now, and I can't imagine how intimidating it would be without a good outline. I'm certain I will also use this method when I begin my PhD soon.

    Something else I find helpful is to take important and relevant quotes and ideas you intend to use and type them all up in a Word file. Afterwards, you can arrange them according to your (hopefully) typed outline, leaving you to just fill in the blanks with your own prose that connects the ideas and adds your own thoughts and emphases. Basically, make sure you have your thesis (I would even recommend writing your intro out in full) and be certain that the rest of the quotes in your essay support and deal with the idea you're trying to get across. It's much easier to complete a rough outline than it is to sit down and write a paper from start to finish.

    LoveIsUnity on
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  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Stop being lazy?

    I mean, everyone is guilty of putting things aside for fun, but seriously, 13 days late? Man, none of my classes would let me get away with that, so consider yourself lucky.

    There tips everyone has mentioned are all good, but they aren't going to help you if you really don't want to change. The most basic thing though is;

    take out all distractions.

    noir_blood on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    supabeast wrote: »
    Cut the crap and stop procrastinating. Unless you have ADHD, you’re just making excuses. When I went to school I had to write a bunch of academic essays about multicultural art history for lame classes that nobody on faculty gave two shits about because the looney dean who dreamed them up had quit years earlier and nobody bothered to change the curriculum. But I grew up, wrote the essays, and stayed on the Dean’s list.

    Other useful tips:
    1. Make to-do lists.

    Yes. A thousand times yes.
    2. Ship ALL of your video games back home and don’t unbox ANY of them until after graduation.

    This should be a last resort. You need to learn to do your shit without eliminating leisure time or leisure options. Ideally you should be able to just not play the damn games, not have to get rid of them.
    3. Keep a log a everything you do, every damned day.

    Excellent advice. This way you can see where you're wasting time, and how much time you need to allot for common tasks.



    One thing I started doing that helped was treating school like a job. "Punch in" for eight hours a day, five days a week, by leaving your room and not going back. Even if class is done. Even if you only have "a little" bit of work to do. Because bullshit, if your curriculum is anything like mine there's always something else you could work on that's due in the future. You leave your room/house at 9am for your first class (or whenever it is) and don't you dare go back until 5pm.

    And don't take a fucking Nintendo DS or some shit, either.

    You start putting in full eight hour days, five days a week, and watch your workload melt away. I promise.

    Unless you're in something crazy like pre-med or engineering, in which case you may need to bump up until ten or add a weekend day.


    And, after typing that I finally decided I should read the post, just in case, and apparently my advice doesn't entirely apply (I had read the TL;DR portion and some responses). So you're working as well, and not in a traditional university. I'll leave the above, in case it helps somebody else. But really, it sounds like you're doing just fine blocking out time but then failing to actually use it. My only advice at that point is to do your shit. At the end of the day there are two things that kill most students: poor time management, and not giving a damn. It sounds to me like you're suffering from the latter. Which I don't think anybody here can help you with. There are all kinds of tricks you can use to try and motivate yourself (I used to boot into a separate Linux partition with no games and most of the interwebs blocked, just to make it harder to slack off, when writing papers) but at the end of the day you just kinda need to grow up and do what's required.


    I hope I didn't come off as too much of an asshole there...I won't even pretend I haven't been there too.

    mcdermott on
  • blahblah Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    First off, I've got to throw the harsh reality. You need to man the fuck up. If you really want to slack off there are endless ways to do it, so it's all really up to you.

    Try to completely reduce the downtime it takes you to do the work. If you have a second monitor keep Word or Notepad open on it 24/7. This way you're not only thinking about the work every 10 seconds out of the corner of your guilty, slacking off eye, but getting rid of pesty mental chores associated with even opening your work.

    I'm not sure on your living conditions. If you're throwing down some kind of WoW addiction, maybe there's some good advice in the above posts. But if you're just getting on the internet as a way not to do work, you simply might need to put your foot down, move/save and delete your bookmarks, hide the .exe and shortcuts for Firefox in somewhere time consuming to get to (Locked up USB stick?). Something that I've noticed is that people tend to get kind of trapped in their surroundings, whether that be a school, a group of friends, or even a room. Once in it can be difficult to get out. So you might want to try moving your room around, formatting your computer, or even moving out. Give yourself a chance to start fresh.

    As for doing the assignments, you said it yourself, you already have the notes written. When I write an essay I just copy out sentences that I will later build on to make paragraphs etc. Takes 5-20 minutes depending on size and complexity and you get a nice outline of what's to come.

    blah on
  • UnderdogUnderdog Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I have motivation (and still do and will continue to for the near future) problems in my life and I find the best way to overcome them is just to forge ahead. Usually what happens is this:

    1) Open new word document
    2) Fix margin size
    3) Get ready to write!
    4) Hmm... ... ... How do I want to say this first thing...
    5) No... no... that doesn't sound right...
    6) Ugh!
    7) Screw it, what's on tv?
    8) *4 hours later* Shit it's 12. Oh well, can't write if I'm low on sleep. G'night!

    And so on and so forth, for days and days on end. It's a combination of wanting it to sound perfect the first time and also very willing to be distracted to spells my end. So instead of this, now I just start writing with absolutely no intention of using the writing in my final copy. Here's an example of my "brainstorming":
    So the comparison between decline and fall and at freddie's. Well with the former, we've got a distinct lack of judgment on the part of any of the characters or narrator. There is absolutely no end the ridiculous things that are said throughout the book yet never is there an overt sense of guiding the reader to a conclusion about what is being said. All the characters who interact with these people seem to readily accept their inconsistencies at face value. Is it then to motivate the reader to make their own judgments? To ellict laughter, because in the face of so much unchallenged lunacy, the only other viable option is to break down and cry? Or is it actually a show that the people of the novel recognize these flaws and accept them as an acceptable way of speaking/thinking/running things? Because they've shown capabilities to detect what we might refer to as bullshit as when Prendy, Grimes and Paul figure out that the life stories of Philbrick are all lies, upon comparing them.

    As you can see, it's extremely rough. It's also not in "essay" style, far more vernacular than anything. I write it almost as if I was just speaking out loud to myself and I don't care about syntax or grammar or even coherency. My final essay incoporates some of the IDEAS in this paragraph but I didn't use this particular section at all.

    I find it just helps to get something on the page. For the record, this was from a 3000 word essay (10-12 pages) and I wrote 1000 words of this kind of brainstorming before I even started in on the "real" essay. Other than that, I just kept plugging away at it, day after day, ignoring that little voice that said "Hey, check your email." or "I wonder who's on facebook." and I absolutely refused to turn on any messaging services.

    So my advice really is just man up and do your shit but with a lot of detail in how I managed to do it, in hopes that maybe some of it will prove useful.

    Underdog on
  • brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I had this exact same problem. I go to University of Phoenix so its just about all essays. This was my trick and it may work for or it may not. I would sit at my computer and stare at the MS Word cursor for what seemed like hours. As I was trying to think of my first sentence, things to include would always come to mind. I would work from the middle out. Since its the modern day and you can move paragraphs where you want you can make a cohesive paper after you have outlined all your ideas. Then when I am just about finished I could come up with my first sentence that would set the tone for the rest of the paper.

    If you do decide to try this, let me know how it works for you.

    brandotheninjamaster on
  • taerictaeric Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2008
    Something I've tried that helps is to keep track of everything you have done that day. From taking a 20 minute nap to playing games for a few hours to reading to laundry to whatever. Essentially, this is just like collecting all of your receipts when starting a budget. We all know that we shouldn't spend more than X on certain categories (like eating out). However, not many folks actually have a realistic idea of just how much they spend on things. I know I was surprised to see the ridiculous amount of money I was spending on coffee while being social with colleagues. Same should apply to work. You will be surprised when you map out your day to see just how much time you spent doing certain things.

    I agree with those that have said you don't need to give up fun things, but make sure you know how much time you actually are spending on them.

    taeric on
  • supertallsupertall Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I'm the same way. What helps me is to say "I'm just going to sit down and work on this for 5 minutes, and then see if I want to keep going". I always do, it's just getting started that's the problem.

    supertall on
  • RhinoRhino TheRhinLOL Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Set a schedule for them. Use a calendar or post it note or just a mental note.

    but say, On XYZ Day, at ABC Time I will sit down for MNO time for my RST homework.

    Then do it. Sit down, without any distractions. Make sure you eat, drink and pee before ABC time. Make sure you are well rested.

    Setting a schedule works for me. Just set the time/date and then do it. No excuses, no bullshit. Goto the college library if you have to and do it just like you do class. Act like it's class without teacher.

    After it's done, go have a beer or whatever you want. If it's not done, schedule in more time or take a small break and go back at it.

    Rhino on
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  • Folken FanelFolken Fanel anime af When's KoFRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Suck it up.

    It usually helps me to get away from everything fun. The library is a great place to get work done.

    Folken Fanel on
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  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    What usually helps me is realizing that I am paying for university, and by turning in my assignments late and potentially failing classes, I am only fucking myself over.

    Demerdar on
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  • ThylacineThylacine Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    supabeast wrote: »
    Cut the crap and stop procrastinating. Unless you have ADHD, you’re just making excuses.

    Even if you do have ADHD, it's still making excuses. It's something you just have to deal with, because no one is going to say "Well, it's okay. He/She has ADHD so it's cool if we hire them and they slack off."

    Anyway, yeah. I know how you feel. I'm 25 and struggled with these kind of feelings my whole life. I do have ADD(not hyper more distractable/unable to concentrate)...and like with you it's really hard for me to get started on things. But wanting to do well motivates me to push myself to excel and I've been on dean's list every semester. It's not impossible for you to turn things around...you just have to be really motivated and want to do well more than you want to procrastinate/put things off. It might seem like you don't want to turn these papers in late...but somehow you are "rewarding" yourself doing it. You have to break that cycle. Part of it probably is because the teachers will accept the papers late and you're okay with getting points off. I don't consider than an option for myself(and most of my teachers either won't accept a late paper or will knock off 10% or more a day for every day it's late).

    If you're like me, the hardest step is that first step. You're letting yourself get bogged down thinking of everything that you have to do without even having done the work or started. You're letting everything overwhelm you by thinking of it all at once instead of in little pieces. Instead of thinking "Alright, I should get my notes together and type up an outline." You're thinking of how you're going to put together all the details of the essay and wrap it up and how many hours it's going to take and where should you pull quotes from and blah blah blah...whatever. And by then you just give up.

    Everyone else here has given good advice. If you want to help yourself, you're going to have to "man up" and just do it. For awhile you might get away with undisciplined behavior, and that's essentially what this is, but eventually it will begin to effect more than your grades.

    For contrast, I'll give some slightly different advice...but I'd suggest trying what everyone else said first. Most of my work I can't goof off and get distracted, it needs my full attention(Photography major)...so that's good for me but when I have to do essays or reading/response assignments it is really hard for me to focus and get started.

    Instead of cutting myself off from the internet or other forms of entertainment I'll say something to myself like "Okay. I'll just work on it for a little while." and I'll usually work on it for 10-15 minutes and be sick of working on it so I will want to just quit and "do it later." but instead I'll just leave that document open and poke around online for 10 minutes or so and then say to myself "I really need to work on my paper" then I'll go back and write another paragraph or so, get sick of doing that and go bug my husband or play a couple of rounds of mario kart and then think about how I need to write more. It takes longer than the other method, but I don't get burned out. Also, after I have the paper written it's not hard for me to go back and revise it...I seem to be able to concentrate on that more.

    It's not the best method I'm sure, and it can take you anywhere from a few hours to all freaking day. But it does get done and it's not very stressful. Also, I feel like after taking a break and then coming back to re-read things that I have more ideas or good revisions.

    Thylacine on
  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Use a timer and do all your work in ten-minute increments. Then give yourself a ten-minute break and come back and do another ten-minute increment. It will get done faster than you think.

    Quoth on
  • illigillig Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    meh... never do today what you can put off till tomorrow... you're still passing, right?

    you should be aware, however, that this will make work nearly impossible for you after you graduate... so you may want to snap out of the procrastination now, while you still have a chance (and don't have a boss who will fire you for similar antics)

    illig on
  • Dr SnofeldDr Snofeld Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    First off I'd just like to say that Underdog's suggestion is really freaking good and I'm gonna use it from now on.

    I'm at second year of uni myself and just finished a 2000 word essay that's due Monday that was assigned about seven weeks ago and I just started on last week. I've always had problems with procrastination but I'm getting better, I hardly ever study though which I should fix since exams are like a month away. But anyway. What I did was really a combination of what Thylacine and burntheladle said. I made a quick plan, a checklist of what I needed to write (if you have Microsoft OneNote that's brilliant for this sort of thing, heck it's brilliant anyway). Ended up splitting it to 7 sections. So that's about 300-350 words a section on average, and I found that doing that every day was a cakewalk. And when doing that I had my browser open on PA so I could flit back and forth as my feeble attention span warranted, though that's optional.

    So a 4-page project would be, what, 4000 words? Same principle. And you should find it easier than expected. I thought I was gonna just scrape by within the 10% leeway, but I pretty much hit 2000 right on the head.

    Now I'm thinking that I should use the same "every day" method to study.

    One other thing that occured to me just now: introductions are a pain in the ass. Might be a good idea to do it last.

    Dr Snofeld on
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  • ThylacineThylacine Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Dr Snofeld wrote: »
    I'm at second year of uni myself and just finished a 2000 page essay that's due Monday that was assigned about seven weeks ago and I just started on last week.

    o_O

    New solution. Everyone send your assignments to Dr. Snofeld.

    Thylacine on
  • Dr SnofeldDr Snofeld Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Thylacine wrote: »
    Dr Snofeld wrote: »
    I'm at second year of uni myself and just finished a 2000 page essay that's due Monday that was assigned about seven weeks ago and I just started on last week.

    o_O

    New solution. Everyone send your assignments to Dr. Snofeld.

    Hey, it's 1am here, I'm allowed a couple slip-ups.

    Dr Snofeld on
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  • UnderdogUnderdog Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Intro's a real pain. I usually throw up a really soft one, very general and very vague with no real meat to it except what I think I'm sort of going to talk about. I find that as I write, I will go back and rewrite certain parts of the intro many times until it eventually becomes a finished product. But that's me. I typically don't know in great detail what the essay is going to say until I'm done saying all of it so detailed intros just tend to restrict me.

    Underdog on
  • NibbleNibble Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Sounds like some good advice in here. I'll try to implement some of it.

    The thing I don't get is that I don't really play games anymore -- I don't have time -- and I really enjoy writing essays and doing other homework. When I am at work or at school, I can do it no problem; but as soon as I go home, I lose that motivation.

    My current schedule, Monday to Friday, is roughly:
    10AM-3PM Chinese class
    4PM-11PM Teach English
    Plus another four hours of teaching on Sundays.

    I have no problem staying up until 3AM chatting with my girlfriend on MSN, but as soon as I open up MS Word I start to feel incredibly tired, and then I just end up deciding to go to sleep. But then, I've always had sleep problems, and I think I've only had a few weeks worth of good rest in my entire life.

    Perhaps what I need to do is start going to bed earlier on weekdays so that I'm well-rested all week, then do my university homework on the weekend. The only problem with that is that I normally reserve Saturday morning to Sunday morning for my girlfriend, since she lives in another city and we can only see each other on the weekends, so I'm going to have to work out some kind of compromise.

    Nibble on
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  • taerictaeric Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2008
    One thing you might want to look out for, then, is having a ton of neglected projects around the house. I think it was in Getting Things Done (decent read), but somewhere I read and agreed with the idea that having a lot of unfinished work around you can lead to not being able to work on the things that you want to be working on.

    The answer is not necessarily to finish up everything, but acknowledge it such that you know when it will get done. (Or that it will be something you do not do.)

    taeric on
  • ThylacineThylacine Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Some people, like me, find it easier to do things well...in the environment for doing them. At school you are there to work, and ready to work. But when you go home, you change gears. You associate home with relaxing.

    Why not go to bed earlier and go into school library(or anywhere that has a computer lab/place for your to focus really) an hour or hour and a half early on weekdays. If you went in at 8:30 before your classes that would give you about an hour to work. Even if you only did that 3 days a week that's a lot...you said you finished your essay in a matter of a few hours work. And, if you went in on Monday you can start to judge how things are going such as if it will take longer or shorter to write than you thought, and how many more mornings you should come in. And it would leave your weekends and evenings untouched for relaxing and spending with your girlfriend :)

    Thylacine on
  • NibbleNibble Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Hmm, that's actually a really good idea! Go in early and work in the library until class starts. That gives me time to work without taking time out of anything else in my schedule, and ensures that I arrive to class on time.

    Nibble on
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  • ApexMirageApexMirage Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I'm very much in the same boat. I just find it so incredibly difficult to just get started, to even get ideas down at all. Once i've started though, there's very little stop me (other then the random 30 seconds ill spend doing something else just to clear my mind, such as this =p), and I'll usually do a damn good job too.
    In the end you're the only one that can change anything, you've just gotta find that motivation. A good movie with an inspiring storyline usually does it for me =p


    I cant imagine working on important projects in public though, as I've got a similar problem to this guy, whereas i cant seem to get any work done if there are people in the house.
    Thankfully though i live on my own now, and though it may be 5:30 am and I've spent the better part of the last few days Getting [Realm First! Grand Master Engineer] and hating myself for it, I'm plowing through stuff right now as I've actually managed to get started, and getting that wonderful satisfaction of a job (well) done.

    Keep at it!

    ApexMirage on
    I'd love to be the one disappoint you when I don't fall down
  • ÄlphämönkëyÄlphämönkëy Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    As a person who did the Engineering undergrad thing, I realize the necessity of working at a computer. While computers with an internet connection are a fantastic research aid, they are also a fantastic source of distraction.

    In a similar vein to associating work with school, I would sign in as a guest on my laptop so none of my IM / Email clients would start up. I still had access to the applications I needed to work, but I would have to actively choose to switch mindsets to get access to my personal stuff.

    Älphämönkëy on
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