How to Deal With Feeling Unmotivated 

How to Deal With Feeling Unmotivated 

Written by Stella Dry

It is normal to feel unmotivated at times, it happens to all of us. However, in an academically rigorous program like the IB, a longer motivationless period can cause you to fall behind. Therefore, it is easy to enter panic mode when you dread opening your books. Getting out of a temporary motivation slump is easier said than done, but whether you believe it or not, it is possible. Hence, today I will give you my top tips on how to deal with feeling unmotivated.  

Look Ahead 

When you are feeling unmotivated it can be helpful to think about your goals and dreams. Maybe you have a dream university or a dream career. Or maybe your current dream is for the IB to be over. Either way, to make this possible you need to dedicate time to your academics. The first step to overcoming feeling unmotivated is to look ahead. Ask yourself; why would I want to study in the first place? I find that thinking of your studying today in the greater scheme of things helps with motivation. So instead of thinking about how boring your chemistry homework is, think about how useful the skills you gain from doing the homework will be in the future! Hopefully, thinking about your goals could be a good starting point to motivate yourself. 

Rewards, Rewards, Rewards  

However, we completely get that looking far into the future might not be enough to kick you out of the motivation slump. Some of us need more short-term motivators. If that is the case for you, my suggestion is to try to come up with small rewards to give yourself for completing work. There is nothing wrong with bribing yourself! For me, chocolate always works, but your imagination really is the limit here. Your reward does not have to be something material, it could be watching an episode of your favorite TV show or listening to your favorite song. 

Break Down Your Workload Into Smaller Tasks 

The IB is known for its rigorous workload and thus, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. These feelings put you at risk of entering the vicious cycle of procrastination where you end up doing no work at all. So, my advice to you is to eat the elephant one bite at a time. Divide your bigger tasks into smaller tasks. For example, if you need to write your Extended Essay you can think of finding sources as one subtask and creating an outline as another one, and so on. When tasks feel more possible to overcome, it is often easier to motivate yourself to do them. Try writing them down in a format you can view easily, so you can see how the bigger task becomes many smaller ones.

Take Care of Yourself 

Of course, there is a possibility that your lack of motivation could have something to do with your overall health. When we are not feeling our best, doing easy things can be very challenging and doing difficult things can feel almost impossible. Remember that to succeed in your studies you need to take care of yourself. Hence, it is essential to eat, sleep, and drink enough water. However, taking care of your physical health is not enough. You also need to consider your mental health. Feeling unmotivated might be a sign that you need a break. It is important to make time for things that make you happy. For example, spending time with family and friends. This might seem obvious, but the fact is that many students do not pay enough attention to their well-being during stressful periods. Ignoring your health is doing yourself and your studies a huge disservice. Taking good care of yourself will most likely help you feel more energized and prepared to take on new challenges. Try setting a reminder on your phone every hour or so to drink a glass of water, or to get some daylight. 

Ask For Help 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help – we’ve all done it! When you feel unmotivated, a good support system can be just what you need. Tell a parent, teacher, friend, or tutor about your struggle with motivation. They have most likely been in the same situation and might be able to offer good advice. Remember that there are people who want you to do your absolute best. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, we have plenty of blog posts on stress that may help.


While it is completely normal to feel unmotivated at times, it is not a fun situation to be in. But there are ways to motivate yourself – even if it feels impossible. It might be thinking about long- or short-term rewards, dividing your tasks into smaller ones, taking a break, or asking for help. Either way, remember that feeling unmotivated is only temporary, be nice to yourself! You got this! 

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