Stuck and bored: tips for students

By Marie-Pierre Renaud

Over the course of your studies, you might reach a point where you are stuck or bored out of your mind. When this happens, you may find that you can’t focus, work efficiently, find motivation to read, work or even get out of your bed in the morning.

English: A bored person

Bored! Photo: Wikipedia

When this happens to you,  stop playing video games or watching TV and take some time to set things right. Trying to carry on without addressing the problem will only make you lose time in the end, since you will be less effective at your work. Here a few steps you can follow to get back on track and two apps that will be of great help.

One step at a time

1. Ask yourself if there is a reason you feel this way: are you studying something that isn’t the right fit for you? Are you tired or feeling low? Is stress affecting you?

2. Try to remember your motivation: why did you start your studies, or a specific project in which you are stuck, in the first place?

3. Get your game back on: what can you do to feel better and get the job done? Do you need to change routine or study habits? Should you find a project better suited to your needs?

4. Do or do not. There is no try: Master Yoda is right. You can either do or don’t do something. Success is something else. So tackle your task, get started and just do it. Don’t ask yourself if you are good enough to achieve your goal, level up as you go.

Image by Maroon Surreal on Flickr

Image by Maroon Surreal on Flickr

Helpful tools

SuperBetter and Unstuck are two apps that I find very helpful when my motivation and focus are low. Both and visually appealing and simple to use.

I use SuperBetter regularly to keep track of my bad habits, the healthy activities and tasks I accomplish and to remind myself of the progress I am making. It is shaped like a game: you activate power-ups and fight bad guys to level up with the help of your allies. However, you determine what you bad guys, power-ups and quests are according to your personal goals.You can play on any browser or download the free app. The principle is beautifully simple and playing this game in not only instructive, but impressively rewarding.  I have written about SB previously. Check it out and don’t hesitate to add me if you need an ally!

Unstuck is another good surprise I got while randomly checking the app store. You must download the free app to access it, but you can also check out the Unstock blog. It’s a great tool to figure out how and why you a stuck in a project, and, more importantly, how you can get unstuck.  More than a tool, Unstuck is a community where you can share with other people about your progress, or lack of, and find great solutions to the challenges you face.

I hope this advice and these apps are helpful to you. And remember, done is better than perfect!

About Marie-Pierre Renaud

I am an anthropologist living in Quebec city, Canada. I specialize in native studies and anthropology of health. I am a geek. I founded and now co-manage The Geek Anthropologist blog. I am working on transforming my memoir into a book and journal articles. I like to knit while watching Star Trek. Reach out to me for collaborations!

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