How to… Stay Motivated for Finals

By Lexi Reeve

Campus here at the University of Oregon has a gloomy feel about it lately, and that means that dead week has hit and finals are soon to follow. It’s easy to tell from the zombie-like appearance of fellow students that classes are winding down, stress is increasing, and studying has hit an all time high for the term. Not to mention that Oregon decided to throw in some frosty, cold weather into the mix to challenge us not to get out of bed in the morning! Well, when you feel like your brain just can’t take in any more information and you want to give up on studying, just read the tips below to gain some much needed motivation before finals!

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1. Set Goals

Write out a list of what you need to get done over the weekend. Then write out how long you think it will take you to do each task, and assign a time  (such as Saturday, 10-11:30 am) for you to finish the task. If you plan out when you will do each assignment or read each chapter, it won’t seem so overwhelming.

2. Plan Your Time Wisely

I know that I’ve been guilty of this in the past, but I try to get everything done at once without thinking about the degree of importance each task requires. So if you have a final Monday and one on Wednesday, for example, don’t study for both of them over the weekend. The first final is the most important one for you to focus on at the moment, so study for that first, and once you’re completely finished, move on to the next task. If you plan your time wisely, you’ll get the biggest reward for as little effort as possible.

3. Eliminate Distractions

If you have a difficult time studying at home (due to distractions from roommates, social media sites, or the television) go somewhere to study like the library or the EMU student union. If you have a hard time focusing while surrounded by other people, who are most likely in study groups talking to one another, try to study at home but remove the potential distractions so that you can focus. Tools like LeechBlock exist so you can temporarily lock yourself out of sites like Facebook and Twitter, which may be causing you to waste time. Just specify the sites you want to block and the time you want them to be disabled.

4. Study with Friends

If you have class with friends, studying in a group will usually help you to learn more than working on your own. We all have different learning styles, so while you may be a visual learner, your friend might be an auditory learner. You each may have picked up on different aspects of the lectures and/or readings. So studying together will help you learn more than simply working on your own. The difficult part will be trying not to get sidetracked while studying with friends!

5. Take Breaks

It’s important for you to be able to breathe and take some time for yourself, too! Don’t let studying consume you for the next two weeks. You need time to relax and let the studying sink in instead of overwhelming yourself with information (and remembering only a portion of it). Have some fun with your friends before you leave for winter break. If you have something to look forward to, you’ll be more motivated to study and be efficient while doing it.

Good luck on finals everyone, and have a great winter break!

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What “Drives” Us

By Olivia Narvaez

I recently read a book by the author Daniel H. Pink titled “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.” Surprisingly, this #1 New York Times Bestseller contradicted many of the presumptions and hypothesis that I have come to about what drives us as humans and more specifically, consumers, which are what all branding, advertising, and marketing people care about.

This book relates many theories as to what motivates us and what “drives” us as human beings. When it comes to motivation, there is a gap between what science thinkers know and what business people know. According to the book, which indicates various case studies, most businesses located in not only the United States, but also the world, are built around external motivators, such as, more pay for more work incentives. These systems often do more harm than good in the workplace. Going back to the article written about motivation in the workplace, this theory could be very probable in many industries. Money or other external incentives are most likely the least effective. The many scientific studies exemplified in the book demonstrate the need to upgrade to using different internal incentives, especially when dealing with more creative activity (i.e., advertising and marketing). There are three essential elements needed to correct this approach: “autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives; mastery – the urge to make progress and get better at something that matters; and purpose – the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves,” (Pink, 2009).

When relating this book to developing a communication planning strategy, the first thing that came to mind is the target audience of any campaign. We are the target audience for account planners to advertise to. We, as human beings, are whom advertisers need to purchase their client’s product or service. The first thing that any account planner does is research the target market. In their research they need to find out what will motivate this particular group to buy something, in particular, the product tor service in question. Motivation is what drives us to do anything in life. Using this information in a communication planning strategy would increase effectiveness of the plan immensely. By knowing the above information, you can help your client achieve the bottom line.

And Then There Was Light: 3 Reasons to Keep The Lights On

By Serena Piper

When I first moved into my apartment, I found that my roommates preferred to have the blinds closed. All the time. This wouldn’t have been a problem, except that I knew the darkness was going to get to me. Over the years I’ve discovered that I’m the type of person severely affected by the lighting of each room. If it’s dim, it’s warm and romantic; if it’s bright and light, I’m cheerful; and if it’s dark, I’m prone to becoming a little depressed.

After I felt settled in my new place, I felt comfortable opening the blinds each morning to let the sunshine in. What a difference! The room was brighter and instantly the whole apartment took on a new mood. I finally figured out that the reason my roommates kept the blinds closed all the time was that they were afraid someone would see their valuables through the window and decide to break in. No worries, we all agreed to get some of those window locks (which you can buy at any hardware store) and keep the doors locked at all times. So far, so good!

It occurred to me, however, that if my roommates lived blinds-closed, there might be others living by the same philosophy. But if we live in the dark, we’re missing out on an easy source of motivation and fresh perspective. Here are three reasons you should keep the lights on in your house and the blinds open:

  1. Bright light has been shown to increase alertness, reduce fatigue, and improve our daily coordination. Employers, are you listening?
  2. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) has been linked to a person’s lack of exposure to natural light. If you sit in the dark most of the time, you’re more likely to get SAD and depressed.
  3. In addition to helping to reduce your electricity bill, letting daylight into your home has also been shown to increase feelings of motivation. When you’re exposed to natural light, you’re less prone to negative emotions and you may find it easier to concentrate.

Bottom line: Don’t sit in the dark! Try keeping your curtains and blinds open for a week (except at night, of course) and see how you feel by the end of that week. You never know, you could feel a difference in how you feel and what you were able to accomplish. Even a small change is a good change.