Hi I will be grateful for any advice

Hello everyone.
I hope you are all having a good day. I am making this post because I am in a need of an advice . As some of you already know I am currently preparing fo enterance exams for university and to be honest I am struggling. I have problems with maintaining attention, focus, motivation. I force myself to do something every day but I know its not enough. I need to do more. I just cant find the will and motivation to do more or to focus. The time isnt the issue I have enough time. I just. Sometimes when force myself to sit down and open the book I just stare at one page for 10 minutes and I just cant move on. My mind will race and think of 100 diferent things rather then what I am currently reading. Or the opposite happends. I find what I am reading so interesting that i will start to think about it and I will stop studying for a while because of it.

I dont know what to do. I procrastinate too. Even things like playing a video game or watching Netflix feel like too much effort. Maintaining the excitement and focus is hard. So yeah. I dont know what to do with this. Any advice will be appretiated. Thank you for reading.


oh boy, lemme think back :slight_smile:
for us, it was all about doing the practice papers and the exams that were held previously.
Running through the syllabus and identifying the core/key things you need to know. Then making sure you have the major concepts down, can do the required calculations etc.

Would it help you to have a visual board with the goals you wanna attain, the courses/degree you want to do, and plot how the subjects/classes you’re doing now feed into that? (Not sure if’s it SATs or what you need to do to qualify, we have another type of exam lol).

Also prob set timers to give yourself a reward-break per day, for when you read for fun, or think and ponder about stuff, do something fun. I only realized afterwards what was most useful at uni level from all the things learnt. (Also, learning is superior to cramming, unless you’ve perfected the art of cramming. )


Yeah well our system is very different then the one in the US. I am trying to get to the university to stody psychology. There is a test an essay and two rounds of interwievs and a list of books i have to read. So this is what i am dealing with. I cant say much about reward days. Its hard to focus even on the things i like.


You’re asking a really difficult question :laughing: When I was in high school, I had ADD meds and energy drinks to help me focus, as well as a strong fear of not measuring up, but those things may not be as helpful for you.

Things that help me present day: make a list that you can cross things off. Make it as granular as you need to so that you can cross things off. Is reading a book too big a task to tackle? List chapters to mark off. Chapter too big? List section headings you can mark off. Marking things off a list is surprisingly rewarding! Another thing I do is use a timer app like MinuteMinder or Google desktop timer or Chime to go off periodically and keep me alerted to the passage of time. I set mine for 15 minutes, but you might try 5 minutes. It just helps yank me out of dreamland. Lastly, and this is a hard one for depressed folks, celebrate your accomplishments! Have a treat, go for a walk, do something pleasurable, and be intentional in thinking (or even saying out loud) “This is my reward for getting X done.” Sounds trite, but I started trying it last year, and it makes would-be passive things so much more enjoyable and rewarding if you approach them with that attitude! It takes practice, and you may have to trick yourself into it at the start, so speaking the words aloud is a great way to build concrete associations in your brain. Just try it!


OMG, this is 100% me. I can’t make it through a single paragraph without my mind going to any place I can think of. I am also probably not the best person to give advice on this, because I forced myself through studies and started learning 2 days before exams and thus had to learn during nights, too.

I totally agree with the others’ suggestions to break it down into smaller pieces and start with something very small. Lower that barrier as much as needed. Also, don’t plan crazy hours. Only because you “lost” a day doesn’t mean you have to study 10 hours the next day. Find your own pace and make it through high-priority things first. In general, making a plan might help.
For incessant thought spirals, I made positive experiences with writing every single thing down that pops up, not on a computer but handwritten. Let your mind know that you’re getting back to these thoughts later on.

Procrastination may have several causes. Do you know what’s behind it? It may be a form of self-sabotaging. You could think unconsciously that you won’t make it and by starting to study you’re constantly facing the fear to fail. Do you happen to know the TED talk of Tim Urban “Inside the mind of a master procrastinator”? Maybe understanding what’s behind the procrastination might help to address the underlying fears on a cognitive level and make it easier to get started.

I read someone bringing up depression. It is so tough to get things done when being depressed. Don’t be too hard on yourself with this. Something I have heard and found helpful is to first plan your breaks and fun activities (could be resting or staring at a wall - that’s what I can do when I’m depressed) and then add the “obligations” into it. Spending time outside to get fresh air helps me with depression, too. Unfortunately, I haven’t come across anything useful that helps with problems to focus. Sometimes, I can read a sentence 10 times and still don’t know what it says. That’s then probably the time to take a break and do something else (maybe something active). Especially, when you mention that playing a video game is too much effort, then it might be a sign that your body needs some rest.

I hope some of it helps… In any case, good luck with the preparation. You’re doing something amazing, no matter how small your progress seems to you. It’s not easy to find motivation and to start learning when it seems like too much to get done.


Thank you for your kind words blini. I am already doing what @SheetMetalHead suggested with splitting the thing I have to do into smaller segments (thanks for the advice btw :slightly_smiling_face: I appretiate it). I have seen the TED it was pretty funny but also educative :slightly_smiling_face:. I think I will make a list of goals. That might help. Thank you again.

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Update: I have just succefully went through a chapter. Yay. It just took me an hour and a half… yeah. I will try to do more. My lack of will and motivation is staggering. I am constantly doubting myself if I should even try. If I litelarly cant bring myself to do so much more do I even deserve to get there. I bet there are so many others who can do more then I and who want it more.


Congratulations that you made it through a chapter. This is amazing! And I totally mean this 100%. If I can be honest, I think you’re way too hard on yourself and not fair. Would you talk like that to a loved one in a similar situation? Take a step back and look at your situation, how you’re doing, and how much energy it costs you. Despite all this, you’re putting in the work, you don’t give up, you’re fighting. This is really amazing, so worth to be acknowledged, and so inspiring.

Of course, you do deserve to get there. This is what you want to do, which is all that matters, Ashwell. You deserve to chase your dreams. You’re so worthy. And don’t forget to take those breaks and to be self-compassionate. :hrtlegolove:


Of course you do! And so what if there are others out there? Totally doesn’t affect your journey :slight_smile: You do you, I think you’ll be great at it! Congrats on the chapter! Onward and upward always :smiley:


Thank you blini :slightly_smiling_face:. You are right I would not talk like that to a loved one but I also have to be realistic. I should do more.

Thank you @Sita for your support too :wink:. You are so awesome.


Have you thought about finding an accountability partner? You could make a plan and have someone check in with you regularly.

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I am constantly doubting myself if I should even try. If I litelarly cant bring myself to do so much more do I even deserve to get there.

Yes, you do. You deserve to get there, to see your efforts paying, and even more to give yourself a chance to try. You deserve that without having to earn or prove it.

When I was a student, something I found the most challenging and limiting was… myself. There were times when it felt so heavy to try. Not because it seemed difficult intellectually, but because actually doing the work was putting me in this position of being surrounded by doubts, fears, uncertainty - contrasted with A LOT of bullshit I would think of myself. Not only it is a real challenge to commit to such task while struggling with a depression, but it is also not said enough how energy consuming it can be to do something that goes against what you might feel worth or capable of.

We all believe in you, friend. Not just in your intellectual abilities, but also in your capacity to thrive and reach your goals, regardless of the result or practical outcome. You are doing this for you. You are brilliant, strong and magnificent.

PS - I’ll echo wholeheartedly @blini about the accountability partner. This could even be something to find in an action group if you can’t find anyone directly for this. We all want you to succeed as you want. :hrtlegolove:


Thank you both @Micro and @blini. I dont think I am gonna go for the accountability partner though. I dont have many people that I would want to do that and honestly I dont want to be checked on by somebody. But thank you for the suggestion…


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