Thank you so much for being here and sharing how you feel. It takes a lot of strength to do so, especially when we’re going through a rough time. You can be proud of yourself for reaching out, friend.
While growing up, I was lucky enough not to see my parents going through a divorce, but from what I’ve seen through some of my friends’ experiences, I’ve learned to understand that it’s a major event that impacts every member of the family once it happens. It’s a time of unexpected changes and many questions regarding how the future is going to be, which can be very overwhelming.
You know for many people, when they are tired, when they feel kind of anxious and/or numb, they just tend to procrastinate on important things. I definitely include myself with that type of behavior. When life tends to be overwhelming because there are changes, or too many things to handle at once, or unexpected events, then I just want to curve in and hide. Chores? Responsibilities? Heck no. It’s too much effort. It requires too much energy. But then we feel guilty because the responsibilities are not going away, and we see ourselves being stuck in some kind of cycle that feels out of control…
How you feel makes sense, friend. There’s a brutal reality to face in your life - your parents divorce and all the consequences that go with it -, AND on the top of that there’s still this homework piling up. It’s not surprising that your first reaction is to run away, to spend time on the Internet, even if it’s literally to do nothing. Sometimes doing nothing feels more comfortable and safe than being connected to the reality around us.
But you know that something’s not working there. The situation is not satisfying for you. By reaching out just like you did here, by describing the situation, you’re also saying that something has to change. And that’s a freaking, powerful strength that you have there! Even if you feel overwhelmed and tend to procrastinate, there’s this part of you that keeps saying “uh… no, that’s not going to work in the long run!”. And this part of you is right.
There’s no need to blame yourself for struggling to find motivation lately. Discipline and consistency is more difficult to develop and maintain when we feel drained by something else. A part of our mind is focused on different things, different pain as well. So how to make sure that you keep doing your homework, yet to learn to take care of yourself as well? I’d like to suggest a few ideas and recommendations.
Be gentle with yourself, no matter what. You’re going through a rough time, and in the end you’re only human. You learn to adapt to new circumstances, and it’s okay if you need some time. You won’t build a habit only in one day.
If you can discuss with your parents, or even a counselor, about the divorce and how it makes you feel, I’d strongly encourage you to do it. It’s important to have spaces where you can express yourself, how you feel, your emotions, but also where you can be heard as well. The worst would be to hide these emotions under the rug and pretend that it’s not affecting you in any way. Another way to explore this could be to write down (eventually journaling) a little bit how you feel, on a daily or weekly basis. Just to have a regular meeting with yourself when you check in on you and ask yourself: how am doing right now? Naming our emotions can seem useless at first, but the more we do it, the more we empower ourselves and allow ourselves to procrastinate (aka hide away from how we feel) less. Whether you feel sad or happy, all your emotions are valid. Always.
Regarding productivity and focus, I’d highly recommend you to check on Casey’s YT channel, where you can find plenty of useful tips and tough love as encouragement: How To Stop Procrastinating - Motivation & Self-Care Tips - YouTube
Is there a time when you are more focused during the day? Do you feel like you are more productive during the morning, afternoon, or evening? Depending on your responses, try to commit as much as possible to this specific time to do your work. The idea is to begin your day with a very specific idea of when you are expected to turn into “focus mode”.
Don’t hesitate to use some free apps and tools that can help you to stay focused. Pomodoro is a good one for example! It helps to tame the scary monster of making the first step (which is often the hardest one - once you get started, it gets easier to keep working). You can also eventually use some website blockers for a limited time, so you wouldn’t be tempted to get lost on the web. Another app that I personally like is “Focus plant”, just because it helps to create segments of time when I’ll be 100% commited to what I do. As much as possible, avoid long segments of work without any break. It’s better to break it down and start small. First 5 minutes. Then 0. Then 20. Do it progressively.
Prepare a reward for yourself, something that would motivate you to achieve your goal. For me, when I had intense times of studying, it was gaming. I’d allow myself a session of gaming after X time of work. It’s a way to keep ourselves motivated and take care of ourselves as well! (we’re not machines after all :))
Need an extra bit of motivation? Eventually listen to a motivational video, such as on the following channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR54lF_dD3f-8srmRqnTwgQ It helps for some people to get to their “moment”!
You got this. We believe in you. Take it easy, but seek consistency. Overall, be kind to yourself. Love, acceptance and grace will always push you further than self-blame, guilt or shame.