October is the worst month of the semester. September is full of new year, new me! attitude. November is full of shit shit shit finals are coming! attitude. October is full of meh attitude. It's the middle of the semester and your motivation is gone. I'm talking about me too because this is why although I have lots of blog post ideas, the effort of writing them out just seems too much. This is the month when you start skimming or completely skipping the notes after a case. Where you go to class unprepared. Where you spend all day in bed watching YouTube videos of auditions for The Voice instead of studying. You just are over law school.
Unfortunately, this lack of motivation is obviously detrimental for your law school success. It becomes easier and easier to fall behind in your readings or procrastinate studying your outlines. You can only put your responsibilities off for so long before they start to stress you out because all of a sudden now you have this massive to-do list just to catch up on top of what you already need to be doing. So here's some things to rekindle that motivational fire of yours so you don't keep slipping behind.
Take a day to get your life together
Do all of the chores that have been piling up. Do that workout that you told yourself you'd do weeks ago. Change the oil in your car, hang those pictures, or do whatever else you've been putting off. Just make a to do list and get it done.
There's just something about having a clean house and your personal life put back together that helps you feel like you can take on the world. It's kind of a way to jump start your motivation because once you start getting tasks done, it'll make you want to keep going and tackle studying.
Get in a routine
It's easy to start off the year saying I'll go to class from 10-3; I'll read from 3-7; I'll study from 7-9. But probably now your schedule is more like class for sure because it's mandatory, read whenever I get around to it, and study sometime eventually. But that routine is what helps keep you organized and make sure you get everything done that you're supposed to.
After you've run all the errands that I was just talking about, sit down and think of what you have to get done. Make two lists— one for things you need to do weekly (chores, reviewing) and one for things you need to do daily (read). Now designate a study time every day, a review time every week, and a chores time every week and get used to getting your shit done during those times. Eventually you'll get used to studying at 7 o'clock every night again and then you'll just go on autopilot and start studying when you're supposed to.
Get back to planning
Again, putting everything down in your planner is really easy at the beginning of the semester, but by now you might even forget to be using your planner. This goes along with the routine in that organization will help you get back on track. You have 24 hours in a day, so excluding sleeping and class think about how you're spending each hour. Once you become self-aware of those productivity black holes during the day, you can focus on not letting those hours waste by.
If you're struggling with this, you might start out with baby steps and plan out your day hour by hour. I'm talking write out the time you're asleep, the time you spend getting ready/going to class, and especially the time you know you need to be studying. Another thing you might try doing is making a to-do list of everything that you need to get done that day. This might feel overwhelming, but it keeps you on track and makes sure there's nothing you forget.
Get real about your studying
First of all, when it comes to studying if you wait until you're motivated to start studying then you'll be waiting for a very long time. The best way to start is to kinda just force yourself to do it. Also be realistic with yourself about what distracts you the most. For me, sometimes it'll be getting on Pinterest during a study break and then staying there longer than I need to. Two solutions I've found to this is to use the Podomoro app (more about that here) or to study somewhere where I don't have WiFi, like at a park.
This brings me to my next suggestion of try something new to shake up your mundane studying. I love studying at the park because I get to enjoy a beautiful day but still study somewhere less depressing than the library. Another way to shake things up is to listen to something different. Obviously music with lyrics can be distracting, but sometimes even classical music can be distracting when you start paying attention to the rhythm. On the flip side, not listening to anything won't drown out the background noise of your neighbors and can be pretty boring. So I recently started listening to white noise while I study and it solves all of these problems.
One last thing. Remember to study and then relax. If you start off relaxing then it'll be really hard to convince yourself to get up and get studying. So save the Netflix for a reward.
Go to bed one hour earlier
This may not seem relevant, but hear me out. Because you're not super organized in your life right now, you're probably staying up later than you did at the beginning of the year. Which means that now you're waking up more tired and hitting snooze until you have to rush to get ready. So now your day has started off in a rushed yet sleepy haze. And that's how the rest of your day will probably be.
Making yourself get an extra hour of sleep is going to do wonders for your sanity! You'll be more energized to pay attention during class or tutor sessions. And when you feel well rested, it's a lot easier to sit down and read for hours instead of fighting off a nap.
Give yourself a kick
I understand that right now you're feeling more stressed out than you ever thought was possible. I mean, your friends still in college whining about their little midterms? They don't even understand stress! So without adding more stress to yourself and pushing you closer to a mental breakdown, you do need to have a reality check with yourself.
Yes you made it to law school, but you haven't reached your dreams of being a lawyer yet. Now is not the time to get lazy and sloppy just because you no longer have to worry about being good enough to get into law school. I know it sucks, but you need to sit down and think about what baby steps you can take to make sure that you're accomplishing your goals.