why do i not feel like doing homework

How to Focus on Homework and Actually Get Things Done: 12 Hacks for Busy Students

  • September 15, 2022

A teen using his laptop and learning how to focus on homework

Chances are, you’ve had some days when you felt overwhelmed after a long day at school. You couldn’t imagine doing anything other than plopping down in front of the television, let alone finding out how to focus on your homework. 

How can you overcome the resistance and get it done? How do you get your mind to include this task in your day as well?

With just a few adjustments, you will be able to expand your capacity to concentrate.

Why Can’t I Focus on My Homework?

Countless factors constantly fight for your attention : social media, people, overthinking, and anxiety. All of this can make you feel as though you have little control over your mind. 

If you want to start to focus better on your homework, you’ll need to set your mind up for success. Remove all distractions .

Here are two key principles that can help you be more successful in your studies:

1. Identify the distractions in your surroundings

What are the things in your daily life that take your mind away from your studies? Clearly identifying these distractions can help you understand both the problem and what causes it.

Among our environmental distractions, digital distractions are one of the worst kinds, and according to a number of studies , their effect is on the rise in the classroom.

If you’re looking to gain more concentration and, thus, form better study habits, question your online behavior first and foremost.

2. Limit the use of technology to find focus

What’s the role of social media in your daily life? Have you ever sat down to calculate how social media distracts you from doing the things you should be doing?

When you are wondering how to focus on homework long after you’ve put your phone away, you’re still thinking about the last posts you saw on Instagram. The sound of new notifications can be enough to reroute our attention from the task at hand.

And then comes the information overload, the fear of missing out, and the all-too-common signs of addictive behavior. Technology is affecting your mind more than ever, and it’s taking your focus away.

A teenager learning how to focus on homework

How to Focus on Homework: 12 Things You Can Do to Be More Indistractible

Here are 12 tips on how to stay focused while completing your homework, taught by superbrain coach Jim Kwik and habit transformation expert Nir Eyal .

  • Make a routine
  • Set up a study-friendly environment
  • Avoid heavy meals
  • Organize your study notes
  • Tell others to stay away
  • Listen to study music
  • Set deadlines
  • Take brain breaks
  • Use discomfort as motivation for productivity
  • Use time blocking
  • Let go of thoughts that distract you
  • Reimagine your task

Let’s look at each study hack in more detail.

1. Make a routine

Routines help you be productive without exerting as much effort. When you have homework to do, a study routine can be the reason you actually sit down, set enough time aside, concentrate, and stay focused until you complete the project.

This process doesn’t need to be complicated: just tell yourself that you will sit at your desk at home once you’re back from school. Put your phone on silent, make an outline of the work that needs to get done, and simply begin with what’s most important.

2. Set up a study-friendly environment

A place for everything and everything in its place. That applies to studying, too.

Lying in bed with your notebook is considered a distraction, as is being in the living room with your laptop while others are doing their activities.

You need an isolated place when you decide to focus on your homework. Make it feel comfortable, keep it organized, keep it clean, and consider putting up some motivational posters or positive affirmations .

3. Avoid heavy meals

It’s not advisable to have a big meal beforehand. Big meals can ruin your focus and make you feel sluggish and lazy because it takes a big amount of time and energy for your body to digest. A snack is okay.

There are also some foods , though, that are just plain bad for your productivity. For example, soda, candy, and fried foods are all full of sugar and have no nutritional value. They make your insulin spike up, but then it crashes very fast, which makes you feel depleted of energy.

4. Organize your study notes

Prioritize your work. Keep lists and place the most important items on top. Then work on the items that you should get done first.

It helps to outline what you need to do, breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps. Use colors to highlight the essentials . 

This makes it all look much simpler and you’re more likely to actually get started. The brain loves organization and it won’t be so likely to procrastinate when it knows you have a structure set in place.

5. Tell others to stay away

Don’t be afraid to let others know that you’re studying and require some time and space to get your work done. Decide on fixed hours for studying and tell your friends and family members that you won’t be available during that time of the day.

If others respect your study time, you’ll be more inclined to respect it as well. 

6. Listen to study music

There are many tracks out there designed to help your mind focus. Whether you use binaural beats or just instrumental music, the right sounds can really help to tune your brain into a productive frequency.

This meditation is also great to listen to; it puts your mind in a clear, concise, and ready-to-take-on-the-world mode:

7. Set deadlines

Even if your teacher has already given you deadlines for each assignment, set new ones yourself at earlier dates.

This helps you build discipline, learn how to focus on studying, and prioritize every day.

8. Take brain breaks

Frequent breaks actually increase your productivity and focus. You’ll see that after each study session, the brain needs to be engaged with something different —  you need to activate other parts of your brain before going back to your studies so that you can reach top performance.

You can also use the Superbrain Yoga Technique. In the Superbrain Quest, Jim talks about implementing it during your breaks. It goes as follows:

  • Massage the left lobe of your ear with your right hand, and the right one with your left hand
  • Inhale and squat down
  • Exhale and come back up while continuing massaging your opposite ear with the opposite hand
  • Keep going for a few minutes
As your body moves, your brain grooves. — Jim Kwik, trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Quest

9. Use discomfort as motivation for productivity

The brain is wired to protect us from danger, and our ancestors needed this function of the psyche to survive. Discomfort is associated with danger, and whenever they felt it, they knew it was time to run away or protect themselves in one way or another.

In today’s world, danger isn’t so imminent. However, discomfort is, and the brain still works to protect us in the same way. 

So why not use it to your advantage?

Once you have this mindset shift, you can see the discomfort that comes with doing your homework as fuel for moving forward, from pain to pleasure. So instead of procrastinating and avoiding the discomfort, just use it as motivation to get things done.

And maybe you can even save yourself a fun activity to do later in the day, so you have something to look forward to.

10. Use time blocking

You can use time blocking and set a specific amount of time for parts of your homework that needs to be done. For example, you block 30 minutes of reading, then another 30 minutes of writing down highlights from the text. 

This method will give you more structure and support you when you need to focus on school work, as you will have a dedicated structured time to do so.

11. Let go of thoughts that distract you

When you need more concentration, but your thoughts keep getting in the way, here’s a fun visualization exercise you can use:

  • Before you start working on your homework, close down your eyes and imagine a flowing river in front of you. 
  • Now, place every thought on a leaf and let it run down the river while watching it move away from you. 

Do this repeatedly for 5-10 minutes and see how your mind becomes clearer, more productive, and more inspired.

12. Reimagine your task

How can you make the process of doing your homework more fun? Is there any way you can think of to make it more exciting and engaging?

As you introduce play and fun into any task, your capacity to stay focused will increase. So just try out different methods to engage more in your homework. 

For example, what if you made a trivia quest about your history lesson homework? Or what about riddles to make you remember all the characters from the novel you have to read? 

Once you play around with these kinds of games, you might find that focusing on your homework isn’t as boring as you thought it would be.

Unleash the Power of Your Focus

Discovering how to focus on your homework can go beyond schoolwork and actually support you in many other activities you want to do. Concentration is one of the best skills to nurture for your growth.

If you need a little guidance at the beginning of your focusing journey, Mindvalley has it in store for you. 

By unlocking your FREE Mindvalley access , you can check out sample classes from quests that help you develop better focus and study habits, such as Becoming Focused and Indistractable by Nir Eyal and Superbrain by Jim Kwik. You can also immerse yourself in beautiful sounds and guided meditations designed to improve concentration and help you enter the flow state.

The earlier you start, the greater your journey of self-discovery will be. Welcome in.

— Images generated on Midjourney.

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Jim Kwik is the trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain and Super Reading quests. He’s a brain coach and a world expert in speed reading, memory improvement, and optimal brain performance. Known as the “boy with the broken brain” due to a childhood injury, Jim discovered strategies to dramatically enhance his mental performance. He is now committed to helping people improve their memory, learn to speed-read, increase their decision-making skills, and turn on their superbrain. He has shared his techniques with Hollywood actors, Fortune 500 companies, and trailblazing entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Richard Branson to reach their highest level of mental performance. He is also one of the most sought-after trainers for top organizations like Harvard University, Nike, Virgin, and GE.

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why do i not feel like doing homework

Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in.

why do i not feel like doing homework

It's no secret that kids hate homework. And as students grapple with an ongoing pandemic that has had a wide range of mental health impacts, is it time schools start listening to their pleas about workloads?

Some teachers are turning to social media to take a stand against homework. 

Tiktok user @misguided.teacher says he doesn't assign it because the "whole premise of homework is flawed."

For starters, he says, he can't grade work on "even playing fields" when students' home environments can be vastly different.

"Even students who go home to a peaceful house, do they really want to spend their time on busy work? Because typically that's what a lot of homework is, it's busy work," he says in the video that has garnered 1.6 million likes. "You only get one year to be 7, you only got one year to be 10, you only get one year to be 16, 18."

Mental health experts agree heavy workloads have the potential do more harm than good for students, especially when taking into account the impacts of the pandemic. But they also say the answer may not be to eliminate homework altogether.

Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold , says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health."

"More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies," she says, adding that staying up late to finish assignments also leads to disrupted sleep and exhaustion.

Cynthia Catchings, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist at Talkspace , says heavy workloads can also cause serious mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression. 

And for all the distress homework  can cause, it's not as useful as many may think, says Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, a psychologist and CEO of Omega Recovery treatment center.

"The research shows that there's really limited benefit of homework for elementary age students, that really the school work should be contained in the classroom," he says.

For older students, Kang says, homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night. 

"Most students, especially at these high achieving schools, they're doing a minimum of three hours, and it's taking away time from their friends, from their families, their extracurricular activities. And these are all very important things for a person's mental and emotional health."

Catchings, who also taught third to 12th graders for 12 years, says she's seen the positive effects of a no-homework policy while working with students abroad.

"Not having homework was something that I always admired from the French students (and) the French schools, because that was helping the students to really have the time off and really disconnect from school," she says.

The answer may not be to eliminate homework completely but to be more mindful of the type of work students take home, suggests Kang, who was a high school teacher for 10 years.

"I don't think (we) should scrap homework; I think we should scrap meaningless, purposeless busy work-type homework. That's something that needs to be scrapped entirely," she says, encouraging teachers to be thoughtful and consider the amount of time it would take for students to complete assignments.

The pandemic made the conversation around homework more crucial 

Mindfulness surrounding homework is especially important in the context of the past two years. Many students will be struggling with mental health issues that were brought on or worsened by the pandemic , making heavy workloads even harder to balance.

"COVID was just a disaster in terms of the lack of structure. Everything just deteriorated," Kardaras says, pointing to an increase in cognitive issues and decrease in attention spans among students. "School acts as an anchor for a lot of children, as a stabilizing force, and that disappeared."

But even if students transition back to the structure of in-person classes, Kardaras suspects students may still struggle after two school years of shifted schedules and disrupted sleeping habits.

"We've seen adults struggling to go back to in-person work environments from remote work environments. That effect is amplified with children because children have less resources to be able to cope with those transitions than adults do," he explains.

'Get organized' ahead of back-to-school

In order to make the transition back to in-person school easier, Kang encourages students to "get good sleep, exercise regularly (and) eat a healthy diet."

To help manage workloads, she suggests students "get organized."

"There's so much mental clutter up there when you're disorganized. ... Sitting down and planning out their study schedules can really help manage their time," she says.

Breaking up assignments can also make things easier to tackle.

"I know that heavy workloads can be stressful, but if you sit down and you break down that studying into smaller chunks, they're much more manageable."

If workloads are still too much, Kang encourages students to advocate for themselves.

"They should tell their teachers when a homework assignment just took too much time or if it was too difficult for them to do on their own," she says. "It's good to speak up and ask those questions. Respectfully, of course, because these are your teachers. But still, I think sometimes teachers themselves need this feedback from their students."

More: Some teachers let their students sleep in class. Here's what mental health experts say.

More: Some parents are slipping young kids in for the COVID-19 vaccine, but doctors discourage the move as 'risky'

  • EXPLORE Random Article

How to Avoid Homework Stress

Last Updated: March 28, 2019 References

This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 133,057 times.

Students of all kinds are often faced with what can seem like an overwhelming amount of homework. Although homework can be a source of stress, completing it can be a very rewarding and even relaxing experience if done in an organized and timely manner. Remember, homework is not intended as punishment, but is used to reinforce everything you’ve learned in class. Try to view it as a chance to sharpen your skills and understanding.

Managing Your Time

Step 1 Pick a time of day to do your homework.

  • Try to work earlier, rather than later, if possible. This way, you won’t be rushing to finish your work before bedtime.
  • Find a time of day during which you can concentrate well. Some people work best in the afternoon, while others can concentrate better on a full stomach after dinner.
  • Choose a time when you will have relatively few distractions. Mealtimes, times during which you have standing engagements, or periods usually used for socializing are not the best choices.
  • Allow enough time to complete your work. Making sure the total time you allow yourself for homework is sufficient for you to complete all your assignments is crucial. [1] X Research source [2] X Research source

Step 2 Start large projects as early as possible.

  • Save an appropriate amount of time for projects considering your normal homework load.
  • Estimate how much time you will need each day, week, and month depending on your usual workload. Allow yourself at least this much time in your schedule, and consider allotting a fair amount more to compensate for unexpected complications or additional assignments.
  • Reserve plenty of time for bigger projects, as they are more involved, and it is harder to estimate how much time you might need to complete them.

Step 3 Make yourself a homework schedule.

  • Get a day planner or a notebook to write down your homework assignments, and assign an estimated amount of time to each assignment. Make sure to always give yourself more time than you think you’ll need.
  • Plan to finish daily homework every day, then divide up weekly homework over the course of the entire week.
  • Rank assignments in due-date order. Begin on those assignments due first, and work your way though. Finishing assignments according to due-date will help you avoid having to hurry through homework the night before it must be handed in.
  • Allow more time for more difficult subjects and difficult assignments. Each individual person will have their strong subjects—and those that come a little harder. Make sure you take into account which subjects are harder for you, and allow more time for them during your scheduling.

Working Hard at School and in Class

Step 1 Ask questions.

  • If you’re too shy to ask questions, or don’t feel it’s appropriate to do so during class, write them down in your notebook and then ask the teacher or professor after class.
  • If you don't understand a concept, ask your teacher to explain it again, with specifics.
  • If you're having trouble with a math problem, ask the teacher to demonstrate it again using a different example.
  • Remember, when it comes to learning and education, there are no bad questions.

Step 2 Take good notes...

  • Pay attention to important terms and ideas. Make sure to note things your teacher stresses, key terms, and other important concepts.
  • Write clearly and legibly. If you can’t read your handwriting, it’ll take you longer to reference your notes at home.
  • Keep your notebook organized with dividers and labels. This way, you’ll be able to locate helpful information in a pinch and finish your homework quicker. [4] X Research source

Step 3 Record the class or lecture.

  • Get permission.
  • Sit up front and close to the instructor.
  • Make sure to label your recordings so you don't lose track of them.
  • Try to listen to them that same day while everything is fresh in your mind.

Step 4 Use any available time at school to begin your homework.

  • Work in class. If you finish a class assignment early, review your notes or start your homework.
  • Study at lunch. If you have time at lunch, consider working on homework. You can do this leisurely by just reviewing what you’ll need to do at home, or you can just jump right into your work.
  • Don't waste time. If you get to class early, use that time for homework. In addition, many schools let students go to the library during this unplanned time, and it's a great place to finish uncompleted assignments.

Doing Your Homework

Step 1 Sit down and do your homework.

  • Get some fresh air
  • Go for a short run
  • Do push-ups
  • Walk your dog
  • Listen to music
  • Have a snack

Step 5 Stay positive.

  • Study groups break up the monotony of daily homework and make for a less stressful experience than trying to cram on your own.
  • Note that each person should turn in individualized assignments rather than collaborating to find the answers.

Balancing Homework with Life

Step 1 Avoid over committing yourself.

  • AP or IB classes often have 2 or 3 times the amount of reading and homework as regular courses.
  • Honors classes may have up to double the amount of work required as regular courses.
  • College students need to consider whether they want to take the recommended course load (often 4 classes) or more. More classes might help you finish your degree sooner, but if you are juggling work and extracurricular activities, you might be overwhelmed. [8] X Research source [9] X Research source

Step 2 Decide your priorities.

  • Rank your classes and activities in order of importance.
  • Estimate (realistically) how long your academic and extracurricular activities will take.
  • Figure out how much time you have overall.
  • If you’ve over committed, you need to drop your lowest ranked class or activity.

Step 3 Reserve time for your family and friends.

  • Make sure to reserve mealtimes for family, rather than working.
  • Try to set aside the weekend for family, and work only if you need to catch up or get ahead.
  • Don’t plan on working on holidays, even if you try, your productivity likely won’t be high.

Step 4 Make sure you get enough rest.

  • Pick a reasonable hour to go to sleep every night.
  • Try to do your morning prep work like ironing clothes and making your lunch at night.
  • Take a nap after school or after classes if you need. You’ll probably be able to do better work in less time if you are rested. [10] X Research source [11] X Research source
  • If you’re in middle or high school, talk to your parents and your teachers about the issue and ask them to help you figure out a solution.
  • If you’re a college student, reach out to your professors and advisor for help.
  • If it takes you much longer to finish your homework than it takes other students, it may be due to a learning difference. Ask your parents to schedule a meeting with a learning specialist.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Ask for help when you need it. This is the biggest thing you should do. Don't worry if people think you're dumb, because chances are, you're making a higher grade than them. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 4
  • Actually pay attention to the teacher and ask if you don't know how to do the work. The stress can go away if you know exactly what to do. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 2
  • Recognize that some teachers get mad if you do separate homework assignments for different classes, so learn to be discreet about it. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0

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  • ↑ http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/coping-school-stress
  • ↑ http://www.kidzworld.com/article/24574-how-to-avoid-homework-stress
  • ↑ http://www.dartmouth.edu/~acskills/success/notes.html
  • ↑ https://stressfreekids.com/10038/homework-stress
  • ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-jackson/5-ways-to-relieve-homework-stress-in-5-minutes_b_6572786.html
  • ↑ https://stressfreekids.com/11607/reduce-homework-stress
  • ↑ https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/how-students-can-survive-the-ap-course-workload/2012/03/01/gIQA8u28qR_story.html
  • ↑ http://www.usnews.com/education/high-schools/articles/2012/05/10/weigh-the-benefits-stress-of-ap-courses-for-your-student
  • ↑ http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/sleep-in-adolescents
  • ↑ https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=how+much+sleep+do+20+year+old+need

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How to Concentrate on Your Homework

Last Updated: May 6, 2024 References

This article was co-authored by Josh Jones and by wikiHow staff writer, Megaera Lorenz, PhD . Josh Jones is the CEO and Founder of Test Prep Unlimited, a GMAT prep tutoring service. Josh built the world's first and only score guarantee program for private GMAT tutoring. He has presented at the QS World MBA Tour and designed math curricula for Chicago Public Schools. He has over 15 years of private tutoring and classroom teaching experience and a BA in Math from the University of Chicago. There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 434,448 times.

Focusing on homework can be tough, especially when you’d rather be doing anything else. Maybe your attention keeps wandering back to your phone, your stomach is growling, or you just want to put your head down and take a nap. The good news is that you can beat these distractions and get back on track with a few easy changes to your study routine.

Move around or stretch while you work.

Science shows that you learn and think better when you move.

  • Try sitting on an exercise ball or wobbly chair when you’re doing your homework. The movement may help you stay focused.

Fuel up with water and healthy snacks.

It’s really hard to concentrate and learn if you’re hungry or thirsty.

  • Apple slices with peanut butter
  • Nuts, especially almonds
  • Greek yogurt
  • Fruit salad
  • Dark chocolate

Put away anything that might make it hard to concentrate.

If you can’t stop looking at your phone, put it out of reach.

  • Some people actually concentrate better with a little noise in the background. If it helps you to have some quiet music on, that’s totally fine! But if you find that it distracts you, turn it off.

Block distracting apps and websites on your computer or tablet.

If you have to do homework on a device, focusing can be hard.

  • For example, you might need to block apps or websites like Facebook or YouTube while you’re working.
  • If you get alerts or notifications on your device, turn them off so they won’t distract you. The last thing you need is your tablet blowing up with Facebook notifications while you’re trying to work!

Work on one assignment at a time.

Multitasking will actually make you less productive.

  • Don’t try to text your friends or have a conversation with a family member while you’re doing homework, either.

Break your assignments into smaller tasks.

Focusing on one task at a time makes the work easier.

  • For example, if you’re supposed to read a book chapter and write a report, start by skimming the chapter headings for important points. Then, read the whole chapter and take notes. Next, make an outline for your report. After that, write the report, and finish up by checking it for mistakes.
  • If you have more than one assignment to work on, make a to-do list and put the hardest or most important projects first.

Redirect your attention if you notice your mind wandering.

Getting distracted is totally natural.

  • It can help to pick a specific thing to focus on to bring yourself back to the present. For example, pay attention to your breathing or to any sounds you can hear around you.
  • If you’re working with a friend or family member, ask them to help you stay on track. They can say something like, “Are you focused?” or tap you on the shoulder if they notice you getting distracted. [9] X Trustworthy Source Understood Nonprofit organization dedicated to resources and support to people with thinking differences, such as ADHD or dyslexia Go to source

Fidget with something to help you focus.

Some people concentrate better if they have something in their hands.

  • Fidgets are great concentration aids for some people, but are distracting for others. Don’t keep using a fidget if it’s taking your mind off your work.

Turn your homework into a game to make it more fun.

Pretend you’re on your own personal quiz show.

  • You can also turn it into a game with a friend or family member. For example, take turns quizzing each other and give points for each right answer. Whoever gets the most points wins the game.
  • Or, if you’d rather not play a structured game, try making up a story about what you’re doing. For instance, if you’re studying history, imagine yourself living in the time period you’re learning about.

Try working with a study buddy.

Choose someone who works hard and won’t distract you.

  • You could even get together with a small group. Trade notes, quiz each other, or just hang out quietly while you all do homework together.

Take a break at least once an hour.

Set a timer if you have trouble remembering to stop.

  • You can also use a timer to make sure your breaks don’t go on too long. Remember, the sooner you get back to work, the sooner you can get it done!
  • If you’re feeling really restless, frustrated, or distracted, it’s okay to take a break ahead of schedule. Give yourself a few minutes to unwind, then try again.

Pick a time when you feel awake and rested if possible.

You’ll focus better when you’re at your best.

  • Make it a routine to do your homework at the same time each day. For example, if you’re an evening person, try doing it right after supper every night. [16] X Research source Having a schedule will make your work feel less overwhelming.
  • You can’t always choose the perfect time to do your homework, but having a routine can still help you get in the zone when it’s time to work! Once you pick a time, try to stick to it.

Study in a quiet, comfortable spot.

Try to find a space with lots of light and room to spread out.

  • If you’re studying at home with your family, ask them to keep it down while you work.
  • Be careful studying in your room—if you use a space where you usually sleep or relax, it’ll be hard to get into homework mode! Set aside a spot just for homework, and don’t do your work in bed. [18] X Research source
  • Finding a good study space can be tough, especially if there are other people around. If you can’t find a quiet spot, put on some noise-canceling headphones. Listen to white noise or peaceful music without vocals to help you tune out background sounds.

Organize your study supplies.

It’s easier to focus when your stuff is easy to find.

  • If you like to nibble while you study, set your snacks out before you get started.
  • If there’s stuff in your study space that you don’t need, take a few minutes to clean it up or put it away before you start working. Put completed assignments in their folders and throw away any trash.

Move to a new study spot if you’re feeling bored.

A change of scenery can wake up your brain and help you refocus.

  • Even changing your usual study space a little can help. For example, put up some new decorations or move to the other side of the dining table.
  • It seems weird, but just the right amount of background noise can actually help you concentrate! That’s one reason some people work better in coffee shops or study halls.

Reward yourself with something fun when you’re done.

Pick something good so you’ll be motivated to finish.

  • For example, you could watch an episode of your favorite TV show, play a game you like, or call up a friend.

Supercharge Your Studying with this Expert Series

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Josh Jones

Reader Videos

  • Try mindful meditation to help you focus and relax. [21] X Trustworthy Source Greater Good Magazine Journal published by UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, which uses scientific research to promote happier living Go to source Look for mindful meditation videos online or use an app like Calm or Smiling Mind to help you practice. The more you practice, the easier it’ll be to use your mindfulness skills when you need them—like when you’re doing homework. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

Tips from our Readers

  • Take detailed notes in class to help you. If you are able to, type on the computer rather than handwrite (it won't make your hand ache, and it's faster, so long as you don't get distracted). Also, don't wear your most casual clothes for homework, as this will relax you and will make you focus less. Don't look at how much more you have to do; look at what you've done already, as this will make your assignments seem less daunting.
  • I used to have some trouble focusing on homework because I would always try to watch YouTube while doing it. It helped me to set a timer for 20 or so minutes and work on homework. Then I would take a 10 minute break. It helped me do homework without frying my brain.
  • When rewarding yourself, don't reward yourself with television or games. Sometimes it'll turn into procrastination. Instead, reward yourself with small stretches or a favorite snack.
  • If you need to use the bathroom or anything while you are working, assign a number of questions that you have to finish to use the bathroom. This will make you want to work harder!
  • Put your phone on airplane mode. This will mute your phone and you will have to manually put it back to regular mode. Only switch it off when you're done with all your work.
  • If you have something that you seriously don't want to do, take small 5-minute breaks between steps. This will calm your stress and help you concentrate more.

why do i not feel like doing homework

You Might Also Like

Plan a Homework Schedule

  • ↑ https://learningcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/movement-and-learning/
  • ↑ https://www.sacap.edu.za/blog/applied-psychology/how-to-concentrate-on-studies/
  • ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/focused.html
  • ↑ https://www.commonsense.org/education/articles/5-ways-to-help-students-manage-digital-distractions-and-stay-on-track
  • ↑ https://today.uconn.edu/2015/07/multitasking-increases-study-time-lowers-grades/#
  • ↑ https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/tips-for-helping-your-child-focus-and-concentrate
  • ↑ https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_focus_a_wandering_mind
  • ↑ https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/child-learning-disabilities/add-adhd/how-to-improve-focus-in-kids
  • ↑ https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/child-learning-disabilities/distractibility-inattention/child-trouble-focusing
  • ↑ https://www.oxford-royale.com/articles/10-ways-fun-study/
  • ↑ https://www.washburn.edu/academics/center-student-success/student-success-collaborative/Navigate-Study-Buddies.pdf
  • ↑ https://time.com/3518053/perfect-break/
  • ↑ https://www.uindy.edu/studentcounseling/files/studyingfromhomeduringcoronavirusdukekunshanu.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210114-why-youre-more-creative-in-coffee-shops
  • ↑ https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_practice_mindfulness_throughout_your_work_day

About This Article

Josh Jones

To concentrate on your homework, start by settling into a quiet place and putting your phone away so it's not a distraction. Then, tackle your hardest or most time-consuming homework assignments first to get them out of the way. Try to finish each task before moving onto something else since jumping between assignments can disrupt your focus. Also, take 5-minute breaks every 30 minutes so your homework doesn't feel endless and you have something to look forward to. To learn how to stay motivated while doing your homework, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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9 Ways to Finish Homework in College Even When You Don't Feel Like It

  • Student Success

Do you put the “pro” in procrastinate?

In truth, we’ve all experienced how difficult it feels just to start. So we tend to ignore it and focus on something more fun instead. But then, before we realize, a project that at first seemed manageable now appears next to impossible to complete. 

So we go into a deadline-induced panic. 

Even if you think you work well under stress and pressure in college, you probably still feel the overwhelming sense of anxiety that accompanies procrastination, whether or not you meet that looming deadline.

But if you want to break your procrastination habit, you can. It’s fixable. All you need is a solid support system and a few clever productivity tactics to keep your self-discipline and focus in check.

So instead of falling into the frantic last-minute cycle again , use this list of tools and strategies to push ahead and finish what needs to be done.  

1. Play That Music

Music boosts your energy and keeps you alert. So if you are distracted by the slightest of sounds in a usually quiet atmosphere, music can drown out any spontaneous interruptions. It also has a powerful effect on your mood and recall. When you select the right song to play while studying, writing a paper or posting in the discussion board, the tune can trigger your memory.

2. Find a Study Buddy

If you find it difficult to sit down and create a study guide for your next exam, team up with a few classmates to draft a master study guide. Assign each person a section to work on. Perhaps one of your teammates has a better understanding of the material in a specific section and can help you better grasp the concepts. Then, combine everyone’s work for a complete and comprehensive guide.  

3. Grab Your Phone

Use your smartphone to your advantage. Make use of those awkward segments of time throughout the day when you may have a 10-minute opening. Waiting for your kid to finish soccer practice? Have a couple minutes before your meeting starts? Study anytime by loading your notes onto your phone or turning them into digital, on-the-go flashcards.

4. Make It Fun

It’s ok to face it - we avoid tasks because they seem boring. The easiest way to fix this is to make those tasks fun. For example, if you are writing a paper, invite a friend who might have their own work to do to join you at a coffee shop. Or recruit your kids to quiz you on your study material. Your kids will love helping (and they’ll learn something too!).

5. Take Advantage of Web Apps

Writing apps like Hemingway and Grammarly can ease the process of writing papers by helping you write more clearly. Think of these apps as your own personal writing coach. As you write, the app identifies hard to read sentences, as well as awkward phrasing, and promotes better word choices.

6. Set an Alarm

Not just any alarm. One programmed to tell you what you need to do and how it will impact your day. Think, “start working on your paper now and you’ll be able to go to a movie.” If you ignore that one, then set another saying, “if you start your paper now, you can watch an hourlong drama,” and so on. This type of self-reward system can help you better manage your time and still fulfill your wants later on.   

7. Recruit a Supervisor

Being accountable to someone is often the drive we need to kick us into gear. Use a similar tactic to ensure your schoolwork is done on time. Ask someone to check on your progress periodically to assure you’re staying on task. This someone can be your spouse, a friend or even your children. Choose wisely, though. You want someone who is serious about helping and won’t try to bother you while you are working. Your teenaged son or daughter will probably be very good at checking up on you and keeping you on task. Maybe even too good.

8. Do Your Least Favorite Work First

When you do your least favorite work first, you will increase your confidence and decrease your stress levels. And, naturally, avoid procrastination later on. Finishing the largest item on your to-do list will give you the productivity boost you need to do other assignments you may have pushed aside.

9. Change Your Perspective

Are things just not right in your usual study space ? Or do you just not like it anymore? Maybe it’s too loud, too quiet, too dark or just too hot. Consider making a change. Try working in your local coffee shop, in a community library or a nearby park. The change in scenery and perspective will impact your productivity for the better.

Written by Thomas Edison State University

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I Hate Myself for Not Doing My Homework

Photo of Dr George Simon, PhD

Reader’s Question

I’m in high school and would consider myself to have above average intellect. Still, I’m getting Ds and Es in school.

I seem to do well on all of the tests, but when I get home from school and I have to do my homework, I just can’t make myself do it. My teachers ask me why I don’t do my homework and I tell them I just don’t care anymore. But in reality I do care — I hate myself for not doing the work. Still, when I get home from school I just can’t make myself do the work. Then, when I get my report card, I look at the grades and just cry myself to sleep. I want to do better but I just can’t seem to make myself work harder. Is this just me being lazy or is there something more?

Psychologist’s Reply

Because there could be so many underlying reasons for your quandary, it’s not possible to make an accurate assessment from such a distance. That’s why it would be in your and your family’s best interest to seek out an evaluation by a mental health professional experienced in such issues.

Some of the possible reasons for your difficulties can include:

The aforementioned are just a few of the many possible explanations for your difficulties other than pure laziness. Your problems might be related to some very different causes other than a deficiency of character. My best suggestion: talk openly with your parents and school counselor about your concerns, and seek a professional opinion about the best ways to address the issues.

Please read our Important Disclaimer .

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All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. Originally published by Dr George Simon, PhD on July 29, 2010 and last reviewed or updated by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on July 29, 2010 .


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Daniel Wong

30 Tips to Stop Procrastinating and Find Motivation to Do Homework

Updated on June 6, 2023 By Daniel Wong 44 Comments


To stop procrastinating on homework, you need to find motivation to do the homework in the first place.

But first, you have to overcome feeling too overwhelmed to even start.

You know what it feels like when everything hits you at once, right?

You have three tests to study for and a math assignment due tomorrow.

And you’ve got a history report due the day after.

You tell yourself to get down to work. But with so much to do, you feel overwhelmed.

So you procrastinate.

You check your social media feed, watch a few videos, and get yourself a drink. But you know that none of this is bringing you closer to getting the work done.

Does this sound familiar?

Don’t worry – you are not alone. Procrastination is a problem that everyone faces, but there are ways around it.

By following the tips in this article, you’ll be able to overcome procrastination and consistently find the motivation to do the homework .

So read on to discover 30 powerful tips to help you stop procrastinating on your homework.

Enter your email below to download a PDF summary of this article. The PDF contains all the tips found here, plus  3 exclusive bonus tips that you’ll only find in the PDF.

How to stop procrastinating and motivate yourself to do your homework.

Procrastination when it comes to homework isn’t just an issue of laziness or a lack of motivation .

The following tips will help you to first address the root cause of your procrastination and then implement strategies to keep your motivation levels high.

1. Take a quiz to see how much you procrastinate.

The first step to changing your behavior is to become more self-aware.

How often do you procrastinate? What kinds of tasks do you tend to put off? Is procrastination a small or big problem for you?

To answer these questions, I suggest that you take this online quiz designed by Psychology Today .

2. Figure out why you’re procrastinating.

Procrastination is a complex issue that involves multiple factors.

Stop thinking of excuses for not doing your homework , and figure out what’s keeping you from getting started.

Are you procrastinating because:

  • You’re not sure you’ll be able to solve all the homework problems?
  • You’re subconsciously rebelling against your teachers or parents?
  • You’re not interested in the subject or topic?
  • You’re physically or mentally tired?
  • You’re waiting for the perfect time to start?
  • You don’t know where to start?

Once you’ve identified exactly why you’re procrastinating, you can pick out the tips in this article that will get to the root of the problem.

3. Write down what you’re procrastinating on.

Students tend to procrastinate when they’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

But you might be surprised to discover that simply by writing down the specific tasks you’re putting off, the situation will feel more manageable.

It’s a quick solution, and it makes a real difference.

Give it a try and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.

4. Put your homework on your desk.


Here’s an even simpler idea.

Many times, the hardest part of getting your homework done is getting started.

It doesn’t require a lot of willpower to take out your homework and put it on your desk.

But once it’s sitting there in front of you, you’ll be much closer to actually getting down to work.

5. Break down the task into smaller steps.

This one trick will make any task seem more manageable.

For example, if you have a history report to write, you could break it down into the following steps:

  • Read the history textbook
  • Do online research
  • Organize the information
  • Create an outline
  • Write the introduction
  • Write the body paragraphs
  • Write the conclusion
  • Edit and proofread the report

Focus on just one step at a time. This way, you won’t need to motivate yourself to write the whole report at one go.

This is an important technique to use if you want to study smart and get more done .

6. Create a detailed timeline with specific deadlines.

As a follow-up to Point #5, you can further combat procrastination by creating a timeline with specific deadlines.

Using the same example above, I’ve added deadlines to each of the steps:

  • Jan 30 th : Read the history textbook
  • Feb 2 nd : Do online research
  • Feb 3 rd : Organize the information
  • Feb 5 th : Create an outline
  • Feb 8 th : Write the introduction
  • Feb 12 th : Write the body paragraphs
  • Feb 14 th : Write the conclusion
  • Feb 16 th : Edit and proofread the report

Assigning specific dates creates a sense of urgency, which makes it more likely that you’ll keep to the deadlines.

7. Spend time with people who are focused and hardworking.

Jim Rohn famously said that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

If you hang out with people who are motivated and hardworking, you’ll become more like them.

Likewise, if you hang out with people who continually procrastinate, you’ll become more like them too.

Motivation to do homework naturally increases when you surround yourself with the right people.

So choose your friends wisely. Find homework buddies who will influence you positively to become a straight-A student who leads a balanced life.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun! It just means that you and your friends know when it’s time to get down to work and when it’s time to enjoy yourselves.

8. Tell at least two or three people about the tasks you plan to complete.

Group of students

When you tell others about the tasks you intend to finish, you’ll be more likely to follow through with your plans.

This is called “accountability,” and it kicks in because you want to be seen as someone who keeps your word.

So if you know about this principle, why not use it to your advantage?

You could even ask a friend to be your accountability buddy. At the beginning of each day, you could text each other what you plan to work on that day.

Then at the end of the day, you could check in with each other to see if things went according to plan.

9. Change your environment .

Maybe it’s your environment that’s making you feel sluggish.

When you’re doing your homework, is your super-comfortable bed just two steps away? Or is your distracting computer within easy reach?

If your environment is part of your procrastination problem, then change it.

Sometimes all you need is a simple change of scenery. Bring your work to the dining room table and get it done there. Or head to a nearby café to complete your report.

10. Talk to people who have overcome their procrastination problem.

If you have friends who consistently win the battle with procrastination, learn from their experience.

What was the turning point for them? What tips and strategies do they use? What keeps them motivated?

Find all this out, and then apply the information to your own situation.

11. Decide on a reward to give yourself after you complete your task.

“Planned” rewards are a great way to motivate yourself to do your homework.

The reward doesn’t have to be something huge.

For instance, you might decide that after you finish 10 questions of your math homework, you get to watch your favorite TV show.

Or you might decide that after reading one chapter of your history textbook, you get to spend 10 minutes on Facebook.

By giving yourself a reward, you’ll feel more motivated to get through the task at hand.

12. Decide on a consequence you’ll impose on yourself if you don’t meet the deadline.


It’s important that you decide on what the consequence will be before you start working toward your goal.

As an example, you could tell your younger brother that you’ll give him $1 for every deadline you don’t meet (see Point #6).

Or you could decide that you’ll delete one game from your phone for every late homework submission.

Those consequences would probably be painful enough to help you get down to work, right?

13. Visualize success.

Take 30 seconds and imagine how you’ll feel when you finish your work.

What positive emotions will you experience?

Will you feel a sense of satisfaction from getting all your work done?

Will you relish the extra time on your hands when you get your homework done fast and ahead of time?

This simple exercise of visualizing success may be enough to inspire you to start doing your assignment.

14. Visualize the process it will take to achieve that success.

Even more important than visualizing the outcome is visualizing the process it will take to achieve that outcome.

Research shows that focusing on the process is critical to success. If you’re procrastinating on a task, take a few moments to think about what you’ll need to do to complete it.

Visualize the following:

  • What resources you’ll need
  • Who you can turn to for help
  • How long the task will take
  • Where you’ll work on the task
  • The joy you’ll experience as you make progress

This kind of visualization is like practice for your mind.

Once you understand what’s necessary to achieve your goal, you’ll find that it’s much easier to get down to work with real focus. This is key to doing well in school .

15. Write down why you want to complete the task.


You’ll be more motivated when you’re clear about why you want to accomplish something.

To motivate yourself to do your homework, think about all the ways in which it’s a meaningful task.

So take a couple of minutes to write down the reasons. Here are some possible ones:

  • Learn useful information
  • Master the topic
  • Enjoy a sense of accomplishment when you’ve completed the task
  • Become a more focused student
  • Learn to embrace challenges
  • Fulfill your responsibility as a student
  • Get a good grade on the assignment

16. Write down the negative feelings you’ll have if you don’t complete the task.

If you don’t complete the assignment, you might feel disappointed or discouraged. You might even feel as if you’ve let your parents or your teacher – or even yourself – down.

It isn’t wise to dwell on these negative emotions for too long. But by imagining how you’ll feel if you don’t finish the task, you’ll realize how important it is that you get to work.

17. Do the hardest task first.

Most students will choose to do the easiest task first, rather than the hardest one. But this approach isn’t effective because it leaves the worst for last.

It’s more difficult to find motivation to do homework in less enjoyable subjects.

As Brian Tracy says , “Eat that frog!” By this, he means that you should always get your most difficult task out of the way at the beginning of the day.

If math is your least favorite subject, force yourself to complete your math homework first.

After doing so, you’ll feel a surge of motivation from knowing it’s finished. And you won’t procrastinate on your other homework because it will seem easier in comparison.

(On a separate note, check out these tips on how to get better at math if you’re struggling.)

18. Set a timer when doing your homework.

I recommend that you use a stopwatch for every homework session. (If you prefer, you could also use this online stopwatch or the Tomato Timer .)

Start the timer at the beginning of the session, and work in 30- to 45-minute blocks.

Using a timer creates a sense of urgency, which will help you fight off your urge to procrastinate.

When you know you only have to work for a short session, it will be easier to find motivation to complete your homework.

Tell yourself that you need to work hard until the timer goes off, and then you can take a break. (And then be sure to take that break!)

19. Eliminate distractions.

Here are some suggestions on how you can do this:

  • Delete all the games and social media apps on your phone
  • Turn off all notifications on your phone
  • Mute your group chats
  • Archive your inactive chats
  • Turn off your phone, or put it on airplane mode
  • Put your phone at least 10 feet away from you
  • Turn off the Internet access on your computer
  • Use an app like Freedom to restrict your Internet usage
  • Put any other distractions (like food, magazines and books unrelated to your homework) at the other end of the room
  • Unplug the TV
  • Use earplugs if your surroundings are noisy

20. At the start of each day, write down the two to three Most Important Tasks (MITs) you want to accomplish.

Writing a list

This will enable you to prioritize your tasks. As Josh Kaufman explains , a Most Important Task (MIT) is a critical task that will help you to get significant results down the road.

Not all tasks are equally important. That’s why it’s vital that you identify your MITs, so that you can complete those as early in the day as possible.

What do you most need to get done today? That’s an MIT.

Get to work on it, then feel the satisfaction that comes from knowing it’s out of the way.

21. Focus on progress instead of perfection.

Perfectionism can destroy your motivation to do homework and keep you from starting important assignments.

Some students procrastinate because they’re waiting for the perfect time to start.

Others do so because they want to get their homework done perfectly. But they know this isn’t really possible – so they put off even getting started.

What’s the solution?

To focus on progress instead of perfection.

There’s never a perfect time for anything. Nor will you ever be able to complete your homework perfectly. But you can do your best, and that’s enough.

So concentrate on learning and improving, and turn this into a habit that you implement whenever you study .

22. Get organized.

Procrastination is common among students who are disorganized.

When you can’t remember which assignment is due when or which tests you have coming up, you’ll naturally feel confused. You’ll experience school- and test-related stress .

This, in turn, will lead to procrastination.

That’s why it’s crucial that you get organized. Here are some tips for doing this:

  • Don’t rely on your memory ; write everything down
  • Keep a to-do list
  • Use a student planner
  • Use a calendar and take note of important dates like exams, project due dates, school holidays , birthdays, and family events
  • At the end of each day, plan for the following day
  • Use one binder or folder for each subject or course
  • Do weekly filing of your loose papers, notes, and old homework
  • Throw away all the papers and notes you no longer need

23. Stop saying “I have to” and start saying “I choose to.”

When you say things like “I have to write my essay” or “I have to finish my science assignment,” you’ll probably feel annoyed. You might be tempted to complain about your teachers or your school .

What’s the alternative?

To use the phrase “I choose to.”

The truth is, you don’t “have” to do anything.

You can choose not to write your essay; you’ll just run the risk of failing the class.

You can choose not to do your science assignment; you’ll just need to deal with your angry teacher.

When you say “I choose to do my homework,” you’ll feel empowered. This means you’ll be more motivated to study and to do what you ought to.

24. Clear your desk once a week.

Organized desk

Clutter can be demotivating. It also causes stress , which is often at the root of procrastination.

Hard to believe? Give it a try and see for yourself.

By clearing your desk, you’ll reduce stress and make your workspace more organized.

So set a recurring appointment to organize your workspace once a week for just 10 minutes. You’ll receive huge benefits in the long run!

25. If a task takes two minutes or less to complete, do it now.

This is a principle from David Allen’s bestselling book, Getting Things Done .

You may notice that you tend to procrastinate when many tasks pile up. The way to prevent this from happening is to take care of the small but important tasks as soon as you have time.

Here are some examples of small two-minute tasks that you should do once you have a chance:

  • Replying to your project group member’s email
  • Picking up anything on the floor that doesn’t belong there
  • Asking your parents to sign a consent form
  • Filing a graded assignment
  • Making a quick phone call
  • Writing a checklist
  • Sending a text to schedule a meeting
  • Making an online purchase that doesn’t require further research

26. Finish one task before starting on the next.

You aren’t being productive when you switch between working on your literature essay, social studies report, and physics problem set – while also intermittently checking your phone.

Research shows that multitasking is less effective than doing one thing at a time. Multitasking may even damage your brain !

When it comes to overcoming procrastination, it’s better to stick with one task all the way through before starting on the next one.

You’ll get a sense of accomplishment when you finish the first assignment, which will give you a boost of inspiration as you move on to the next one.

27. Build your focus gradually.

You can’t win the battle against procrastination overnight; it takes time. This means that you need to build your focus progressively.

If you can only focus for 10 minutes at once, that’s fine. Start with three sessions of 10 minutes a day. After a week, increase it to three sessions of 15 minutes a day, and so on.

As the weeks go by, you’ll become far more focused than when you first started. And you’ll soon see how great that makes you feel.

28. Before you start work, write down three things you’re thankful for.


Gratitude improves your psychological health and increases your mental strength .

These factors are linked to motivation. The more you practice gratitude, the easier it will be to find motivation to do your homework. As such, it’s less likely that you’ll be a serial procrastinator.

Before you get down to work for the day, write down three things you’re thankful for. These could be simple things like good health, fine weather, or a loving family.

You could even do this in a “gratitude journal,” which you can then look back on whenever you need a shot of fresh appreciation for the good things in your life.

Either way, this short exercise will get you in the right mindset to be productive.

29. Get enough sleep.

For most people, this means getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. And teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night to function optimally.

What does sleep have to do with procrastination?

More than you might realize.

It’s almost impossible to feel motivated when you’re tired. And when you’re low on energy, your willpower is depleted too.

That’s why you give in to the temptation of Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube videos more easily when you’re sleep-deprived.

Here are ways to get more sleep , and sleep better too:

  • Create a bedtime routine
  • Go to sleep at around the same time every night
  • Set a daily alarm as a reminder to go to bed
  • Exercise regularly (but not within a few hours of bedtime)
  • Make your bedroom as dark as possible
  • Remove or switch off all electronic devices before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine at least six hours before bedtime
  • Use an eye mask and earplugs

30. Schedule appointments with yourself to complete your homework.

These appointments are specific blocks of time reserved for working on a report, assignment, or project. Scheduling appointments is effective because it makes the task more “official,” so you’re more likely to keep the appointment.

For example, you could schedule appointments such as:

  • Jan 25 th , 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Math assignment
  • Jan 27 th , 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Online research for social studies project
  • Jan 28 th , 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm: Write introduction for English essay

Transform homework procrastination into homework motivation

Procrastination is a problem we all face.

But given that you’ve read all the way to here, I know you’re committed to overcoming this problem.

And now that you’re armed with these tips, you have all the tools you need to become more disciplined and focused .

By the way, please don’t feel as if you need to implement all the tips at once, because that would be too overwhelming.

Instead, I recommend that you focus on just a couple of tips a week, and make gradual progress. No rush!

Over time, you’ll realize that your habit of procrastination has been replaced by the habit of getting things done.

Now’s the time to get started on that process of transformation. 🙂

Like this article? Please share it with your friends.

Images: Student and books , Homework , Group of students , Consequences , Why , Writing a list , Organized desk , Gratitude

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January 19, 2016 at 11:53 am

Ur tips are rlly helpful. Thnkyou ! 🙂

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January 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm

You’re welcome 🙂

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August 29, 2018 at 11:21 am

Thanks very much

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February 19, 2019 at 1:38 pm

The funny thing is while I was reading the first few steps of this article I was procrastinating on my homework….

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November 12, 2019 at 12:44 pm

same here! but now I actually want to get my stuff done… huh

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December 4, 2022 at 11:35 pm

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May 30, 2023 at 6:26 am

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October 25, 2023 at 11:35 am

fr tho i totally was but now I’m actually going to get started haha

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June 6, 2020 at 6:04 am

I love your articles

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January 21, 2016 at 7:07 pm

Thanks soo much. It’s almost like you could read my mind- when I felt so overwhelmed with the workload heap I had created for myself by procrastination, I know feel very motivated to tackle it out completely and replace that bad habit with the wonderful tips mentioned here! 🙂

January 21, 2016 at 8:04 pm

I’m glad to help 🙂

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January 25, 2016 at 3:09 pm

You have shared great tips here. I especially like the point “Write down why you want to complete the task” because it is helpful to make us more motivated when we are clear about our goals

January 25, 2016 at 4:51 pm

Glad that you found the tips useful, John!

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January 29, 2016 at 1:22 am

Thank you very much for your wonderful tips!!! ☺☺☺

January 29, 2016 at 10:41 am

It’s my joy to help, Kabir 🙂

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February 3, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Always love your articles. Keep them up 🙂

February 3, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Thanks, Matthew 🙂

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February 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm

There are quite a lot of things that you need to do in order to come out with flying colors while studying in a university away from your homeland. Procrastinating on homework is one of the major mistakes committed by students and these tips will help you to avoid them all and make yourself more efficient during your student life.

February 4, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Completely agreed, Leong Siew.

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October 5, 2018 at 12:52 am

Wow! thank you very much, I love it .

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November 2, 2018 at 10:45 am

You are helping me a lot.. thank you very much….😊

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November 6, 2018 at 5:19 pm

I’m procrastinating by reading this

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November 29, 2018 at 10:21 am

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January 8, 2021 at 3:38 am

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March 3, 2019 at 9:12 am

Daniel, your amazing information and advice, has been very useful! Please keep up your excellent work!

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April 12, 2019 at 11:12 am

We should stop procrastinating.

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September 28, 2019 at 5:19 pm

Thank you so much for the tips:) i’ve been procrastinating since i started high schools and my grades were really bad “F” but the tips have made me a straight A student again.

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January 23, 2020 at 7:43 pm

Thanks for the tips, Daniel! They’re really useful! 😁

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April 10, 2020 at 2:15 pm

I have always stood first in my class. But procrastination has always been a very bad habit of mine which is why I lost marks for late submission .As an excuse for finding motivation for studying I would spend hours on the phone and I would eventually procrastinate. So I tried your tips and tricks today and they really worked.i am so glad and thankful for your help. 🇮🇳Love from India🇮🇳

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April 15, 2020 at 11:16 am

Well I’m gonna give this a shot it looks and sounds very helpful thank you guys I really needed this

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April 16, 2020 at 9:48 pm

Daniel, your amazing information and advice, has been very useful! keep up your excellent work! May you give more useful content to us.

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May 6, 2020 at 5:03 pm

nice article thanks for your sharing.

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May 20, 2020 at 4:49 am

Thank you so much this helped me so much but I was wondering about like what if you just like being lazy and stuff and don’t feel like doing anything and you don’t want to tell anyone because you might annoy them and you just don’t want to add your problems and put another burden on theirs

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July 12, 2020 at 1:55 am

I’ve read many short procrastination tip articles and always thought they were stupid or overlooking the actual problem. ‘do this and this’ or that and that, and I sit there thinking I CAN’T. This article had some nice original tips that I actually followed and really did make me feel a bit better. Cheers, diving into what will probably be a 3 hour case study.

' src=

August 22, 2020 at 10:14 pm

Nicely explain each tips and those are practical thanks for sharing. Dr.Achyut More

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November 11, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Thanks a lot! It was very helpful!

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November 15, 2020 at 9:11 am

I keep catching myself procrastinating today. I started reading this yesterday, but then I realized I was procrastinating, so I stopped to finish it today. Thank you for all the great tips.

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November 30, 2020 at 5:15 pm

Woow this is so great. Thanks so much Daniel

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December 3, 2020 at 3:13 am

These tips were very helpful!

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December 18, 2020 at 11:54 am

Procrastination is a major problem of mine, and this, this is very helpful. It is very motivational, now I think I can complete my work.

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December 28, 2020 at 2:44 pm

Daniel Wong: When you’re doing your homework, is your super-comfortable bed just two steps away? Me: Nope, my super-comfortable bed is one step away. (But I seriously can’t study anywhere else. If I go to the dining table, my mum would be right in front of me talking loudly on the phone with colleagues and other rooms is an absolute no. My mum doesn’t allow me to go outside. Please give me some suggestions. )

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September 19, 2022 at 12:14 pm

I would try and find some noise cancelling headphones to play some classical music or get some earbuds to ignore you mum lol

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March 1, 2021 at 5:46 pm

Thank you very much. I highly appreciate it.

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May 12, 2023 at 3:38 am

This is great advice. My little niece is now six years old and I like to use those nice cheap child friendly workbooks with her. This is done in order to help her to learn things completely on her own. I however prefer to test her on her own knowledge however. After a rather quick demonstration in the lesson I then tend to give her two simple questions to start off with. And it works a treat. Seriously. I love it. She loves it. The exam questions are for her to answer on her own on a notepad. If she can, she will receive a gold medal and a box of sweets. If not she only gets a plastic toy. We do this all the time to help her understand. Once a week we spend up to thirty minutes in a math lesson on this technique for recalling the basic facts. I have had a lot of great success with this new age technique. So I’m going to carry on with it for now.

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I Don't Want To Do Anything: How To Get Your Motivation Back

If you often feel tired, low-energy,  bored with life , uninterested in your usual activities, and that daily tasks feel daunting, you might be living with low motivation or a mental health condition like depression. Common symptoms of depression can include fatigue, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, apathy, and a  lack of motivation .

Experiencing occasional low mood or low motivation may be natural, but if you are experiencing these symptoms persistently, you may consider seeking treatment. Depression can feel frustrating, and it may feel difficult to figure out how to cope, but treatment is available, and you're not alone.

Why do I feel like I don't want to do anything?

If you feel you don't want to do anything, you might tell yourself: 

  • I don't want to do anything anymore.
  • I don't want to do anything with my life.
  • I don't feel like I care about anything.
  • I don't want to leave the house.
  • No activities interest me. 

If any of these feelings or thoughts sound familiar, you may be experiencing symptoms of depression. Many people with depression experience a loss of interest or energy. It may feel like all these feelings are completely out of your control. However, treatment is available, and you can also address these feelings at home. 

Tips for addressing apathy and a lack of motivation

If you are frequently  feeling off  and don't want to do anything, there are various steps you can take to try to address your feelings and regain a sense of motivation. Below are a few ideas to consider.  

Talk to your doctor

Before taking other steps, it might be beneficial to consult your primary care doctor, especially if these feelings are unusual for you or have lasted days, weeks, or months. Your doctor may suggest diagnostic testing and blood work to rule out an underlying health issue and get to the root cause of your lack of motivation. 

Some autoimmune diseases and vitamin deficiencies can cause lethargy and thoughts of worthlessness or depression. Likewise, certain medications can have side effects that could cause these symptoms. If your doctor finds a medical cause, they may be able to offer a clear treatment plan. For guidance about medication, consult a licensed medical professional. If your doctor can't rule out other underlying medical conditions, they may refer you to a mental healthcare worker instead. 

Remember that you are not alone

If you are feeling unmotivated, it may be helpful to remember that you are not alone in this feeling. Many people experience a lack of motivation at some point in their lives, and some people may also feel unmotivated due to external conditions or current events, such as a pandemic. 

For example, according to a 2020 Pew Research Center survey, many young teleworkers had difficulty working up the motivation to follow through with their work responsibilities in light of the pandemic. Around 53% of survey respondents ages 18 to 29 said it had been difficult for them to feel motivated to do their work due to Covid-19. 

Some people may feel particularly exhausted and unmotivated considering a recent life change. For example, new parents may feel so lethargic and exhausted due to a new baby that they do not leave their house for weeks. Whatever the reason, it can be helpful to decipher where the feelings may be coming from so that you can try to figure out what's wrong, begin to feel better again, and get your energy back.

Be kind to yourself

If you have tasks to complete, you might judge yourself for struggling to complete them. You may feel guilty for feeling unmotivated and start saying unkind statements to yourself in your mind. However, pressuring yourself may cause you to feel worse while not doing much to solve the situation. 

Instead of being unkind, try to treat yourself with kindness and compassion . Life can be difficult, and there are many reasons why you may feel unmotivated, which may be out of your control. Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself grace as you move forward.  

Practice self-care

In addition to seeking professional help, peer-reviewed studies have shown that self-care strategies can be helpful for those living with depression and anxiety disorders. Self-care might include time in nature, deep breathing, meditation, listening to your favorite music, talking to a close friend, or exercising regularly. Getting outside to partake in light exercise can be a form of self-care. You might also take a short walk before you go to sleep.  

Eating a healthy diet and practicing sleep hygiene can also be helpful. Consider spending quality time with close friends and family or journaling about your feelings. These tips may improve your overall well-being and be incorporated into a long-term treatment plan to support you.  

Seek help through therapy

If you are unmotivated and don't want to do anything, speaking with a professional therapist may be helpful. Therapy can be a place to explore and get to the bottom of these feelings, identifying ways to manage them. In therapy, you may find helpful ways to feel better, improve motivation, restructure your thoughts, and find self-compassion. 

Therapists can be utilized both in-person or through online platforms like BetterHelp. An online therapist may be preferable if you find it challenging to find the energy to travel to an in-person appointment. Instead, you can speak with a therapist virtually from the comfort of your own home. In addition, online therapy may be more cost-effective. 

A growing body of research has demonstrated the effectiveness of online therapy for a range of concerns, including depression. For example, one study reviewed the effectiveness of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (I-CBT) for treating depression or anxiety. It concluded that there was evidence supporting the acceptability and effectiveness of guided I-CBT for the treatment of depression and anxiety in routine care.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is it called when you don't want to do anything? What do people do when they don't want to do anything? Why do I not want to do what I want to do? Is it bad to not want to do things? Is it normal to have no idea what you want to do with your life? Why am I always doing things I don't want to do? Why do I want things I don't want?

Why am i not interested in anything what is apathy syndrome what triggers apathy what age does apathy start.

What to do if I don't know what I want to do? What are 3 examples of apathy? What does apathy look like? What controls apathy?

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End Homework Anxiety: Stress-Busting Techniques for Your Child


Sometimes kids dread homework because they'd rather be outside playing when they're not at school. But, sometimes a child's resistance to homework is more intense than a typical desire to be having fun, and it can be actually be labeled as homework anxiety: a legitimate condition suffered by some students who feel intense feelings of fear and dread when it comes to doing homework. Read on to learn about what homework anxiety is and whether your child may be suffering from it.

What is Homework Anxiety?

Homework anxiety is a condition in which students stress about and fear homework, often causing them to put homework off until later . It is a self-exacerbating condition because the longer the student puts off the homework, the more anxiety they feel about it, and the more pressure they experience to finish the work with less time. Homework anxiety can cripple some kids who are perfectly capable of doing the work, causing unfinished assignments and grades that slip.

What Causes Homework Anxiety?

There are many causes of homework anxiety, and there can be multiple factors spurring feelings of fear and stress. Some common causes of homework anxiety include:

  • Other anxiety issues: Students who tend to suffer anxiety and worry, in general, can begin to associate anxiety with their homework, as well.
  • Fear of testing: Often, homework is associated with upcoming tests and quizzes, which affect grades. Students can feel pressure related to being "graded" and avoid homework since it feels weighty and important.
  • General school struggle: When students are struggling in school or with grades, they may feel a sense of anxiety about learning and school in general.
  • Lack of support: Without a parent, sibling, tutor, or other help at home, students may feel that they won't have the necessary support to complete an assignment.
  • Perfectionism: Students who want to perform perfectly in school may get anxious about completing a homework assignment perfectly and, in turn, procrastinate.

Basic Tips for Helping with Homework Anxiety

To help your child with homework anxiety, there are a few basic tips to try. Set time limits for homework, so that students know there is a certain time of the day when they must start and finish assignments. This helps them avoid putting off homework until it feels too rushed and pressured. Make sure your student has support available when doing their work, so they know they'll be able to ask for help if needed. Teaching your child general tips to deal with anxiety can also help, like deep breathing, getting out to take a short walk, or quieting racing thoughts in their mind to help them focus.

How can the Brain Balance Program Help with Homework Anxiety?

Extensive scientific research demonstrates that the brain is malleable, allowing for brain connectivity change and development and creating an opportunity for improvement at any age. Brain Balance has applied this research to develop a program that focuses on building brain connectivity and improving the foundation of development, rather than masking or coping with symptoms.

If you have a child or a teenager who struggles with homework anxiety, an assessment can help to identify key areas for improvement and create an action plan for you and your child. To get started, take our quick, free online assessment by clicking the link below. 

Get started with a plan for your child today.

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Table of Contents

Can’t do homework because depressed? (9 ways to cope)

why do i not feel like doing homework

As a BetterHelp affiliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided.

The Optimistminds editorial team is made up of psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health professionals. Each article is written by a team member with exposure to and experience in the subject matter.  The article then gets reviewed by a more senior editorial member. This is someone with extensive knowledge of the subject matter and highly cited published material.

The article below is focused on what to do if you can’t do homework because you are depressed. 

Depression and anhedonia 

Anhedonia is a condition where an individual suffers from the lack of motivation and pleasure to engage himself or herself in any activity.

One of the major symptoms of depression is anhedonia. Other symptoms along with anhedonia are feelings of sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness and excessive or too less appetite.

To not be able to do homework because of depression is nothing to be shocked about. It is normal for anyone regardless of the presence of any mental illness to not feel like doing homework and assignment. But if you feel you cannot concentrate on anything that you are planning to do and end up feeling depressed then these ways may help you to cope up.

  • Engage in physical activity 

In an article published in the journal ” Psychology”, it has been mentioned that sustained physical activity can help a person with his or her bad mood by balancing out the chemicals in their body, restricting the frequency of crisis and offering means of catharsis.

The benefits of doing some physical activity on a regular basis keeps your body fit, mind energetic, increases blood supply to all the organs and decreases risk of becoming depressed and sad.

Activities that you can do:

Doing exercise at home

You can surf the youtube and grab loads of videos on cardio, warm ups, ab workout and many more. 

I personally like Chloe ting’s workout videos. When I cannot concentrate, I usually start off with any of her challenging videos which eventually makes me feel strong, focused and energetic.

  • Go out for a walk

If you think cardio is not your thing, you can simply grab your earphones and go our for a short walk. When you are walking look around your vicinity, attend to the trees and plants around you. Attend to anything that catches your eyes. You shall feel happier I assure.

  • Take a ride

You can also take a bicycle ride surrounding your locality to get some fresh air and help yourself. 

If you feel you cannot concentrate on your homeworks and assignments, you can get any kind of physical activity included in your schedule. This will help you lighten your mood thus you will be able to concentrate on your studies. 

2. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a mental state in which a person experiences the present moment without getting distracted by the memories of the past or the anticipations of the future.

Mindfulness will help you get back to tracking and get going with your task.

When you feel like you do not want to sit with your homework, follow this easy mindfulness strategy.

Sit back and relax; close your eyes; focus on what is happening around you; become conscious of your breathing; breathe consciously; inhale and exhale bigger; feel all the five senses individually; feel the place where you are sitting; feel the black hollow of your closed eyes; breathe the smell of the air; feel your tongue, listen to all the sounds happening around; don’t think about what you have done or you plan to do. Just feel the moment and you will be able to concentrate on your homework.

3. W‌‌rite journal

Writing a journal when you cannot concentrate on your homework can help you get over anhedonia. 

We all need to socialize at some point to share our feelings and emotions especially when we are not happy or feeling depressed.

It is always not possible to find a person to talk to, who would be understanding. Instead you can find a therapist in your own diary. Write what you have to say to a diary and give yourself advice as if you are your own therapist. This type of cognitive restructuring will help you with feelings of depression and anhedonia. 

  • Start doing a hobby 

If you have a hobby that you like to do, start doing it. You need some motivation and energy to work efficiently. Start a new hobby or get yourself engaged in an old one. If you like baking, go and grab the ingredients from the nearest grocery story and start off, you can even prepare a Depression Cake. If you like watching movies, call upon some friends and watch a good movie that will inspire you. You can also listen to songs, watch games and sketch your heart out. 

You can also start a new hobby or experiment with your old ones. This will help you attain a lot of energy and greater goals in life. 

  • Start with small goals

It is very important to give attention to how you plan your day. You should not make unrealistic plans of completing a ton of tasks in one day. Start with small goals. If you feel your assigned task will take more than a day, plan it likewise. Afterall who likes monotony? Make sure your assignment does not make you bored and uninterested. 

According to studies, socializing is a good way of getting over depression. You can socialize over the internet. Nowadays the internet has connected people from all over the world through social media. You can also register in various depression chat rooms to talk to people and get support from users. You can go out and hang around with your friends. 

You can also call up a friend of yours and talk for some time. This will provide you with instant energy so that you can sit properly with your studies.

  • Take a break 

It is very important to take a break when you feel you cannot do something that you are assigned to do.

At times we are depressed and we do not feel motivated enough to do anything. We are bored at the monotony of our lives. We should take breaks and not force ourselves to do something, which we have no intrinsic motivation towards. 

  • Use depression chat rooms

Depression chat rooms are online platforms where people who are suffering from depression communicate  with each other about their experiences and receive mutual support and help. 

These chat rooms are moderated by a volunteer who makes sure that the rules and ethics of the site is maintained.

Depression chat rooms and forums are quite helpful because people these days find chat rooms easier to use because of their availability and trustworthiness compared to getting an appointment from therapists.

Some common Chat rooms and forums 

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) offers support groups and forums led by peers to help people living with depression and bipolar disorders to share experiences and coping skills thus gaining hope. Depression Chat Rooms

Depression Chat Rooms from depression-chat-rooms.org aims to make people suffering from depression and anxiety communicate with each other. They also welcome people with similar or related health issues such as bipolar disorder and eating disorders. The website is independent, nonprofit, and free.

Depression Forums

Depression Forums offers forums on topics ranging from depression, anxiety to bipolar along with ways to recover, cope and therapy moderated by volunteers. This forum is trusted and has members around 70000.

Depression Sanctuary

Depression Sanctuary is a well-known nonprofit organization created to provide safe, moderated services for people with depression and anxiety. They  seek support from other like-minded people in these chatrooms. Membership is required to participate in the Depression Sanctuary chat rooms, but it’s completely free to join.

The are hosted at specific times. You have to make sure that you abide by the rules and regulations of the chatrooms and treat every member respectfully. The volunteers working over here also suffer from depression. Please be kind to them and treat them with respect.

.Depression Understood

Depression Understood offers a depression chat room that is always open. They aim to have a relaxed, supportive, and informal atmosphere for people who like virtual talk therapy services. 


HealthUnlocked runs in partnership with the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) and offers a safe space for anxiety and depression support. 

Healthfulcha t is a trustworthy service for people who are succumbed to any sort of mental illness. They say “ Here, you will find a Depression Chat Room , depression forums, and a depression social network. It is the hope of HealthfulChat that these important forms of peer support, along with whatever medical attention you may be receiving will help bring you up out of the cloud of depression so that you can begin to enjoy life again. 

  • Don’t give up

You should keep on trying until and unless you gain your concentration to do your assignments in time. Depression should not overpower your potential. Perseverance is the cornerstone of never giving up. Some might consider it being stubborn. But in reality, it is just a doggedness of pushing forward when times get tough and never giving up until you have achieved your dreams. One of the key facets of never giving up is hard work, patience, commitment and self-love


From the article we got to know what to do if you can’t do homework because you are depressed. The article also points out the reason behind lack of motivation also known as anhedonia and how it can be overpowering when someone is depressed. It can be concluded that not being able to do homework because of depression is nothing to be shocked about. It is normal for anyone regardless of the presence of any mental illness to not feel like doing homework and assignment. But if you feel you cannot concentrate on anything that you are planning to do and end up feeling depressed then these ways may help you to cope up.

FAQs : Can’t do homework because depressed

Can anhedonia be cured.

At present, there are no treatments aimed at anhedonia.

Is anhedonia a mental illness?

Anhedonia is the inability to feel pleasure. It’s a common symptom of depression as well as other mental health disorders.

What is an example of anhedonia?

To not be able to do homework because of depression is nothing to be shocked about. It is normal for anyone regardless of the presence of any mental illness to not feel like doing homework and assignment. But if you feel you cannot concentrate on anything that you are planning to do and end up feeling depressed then that can be a sign of anhedonia.

Does exercise help anhedonia?

Absolutely yes. The benefits of doing some physical activity on a regular basis keeps your body fit, mind energetic, increases blood supply to all the organs and decreases risk of becoming depressed and sad.

You can surf the youtube and grab loads of videos on cardio, warm ups, ab workout and many more.   I personally like Chloe ting’s workout videos. When I cannot concentrate, I usually start off with any of her challenging videos which eventually makes me feel strong, focused and energetic.

Can yoga help anhedonia?

Yes yoga makes you mindful and can help you fight with anhedonia

Can lifestyle have an effect on depression?

Lifestyle factors can influence depression such as lack of nutrition, lack of physical activity, experience of trauma etc. 

Can’t force myself to do homework?

Tips and Tricks on How to Motivate Yourself to Do Homework Listen to music, but not just any music.  Set goals and establish a reward system.  Take regular breaks.  Keep the consequences in mind.  Get some rest, if needed.

Who invented homework?

Horace Mann

Instead, it is believed that Horace Mann, an American 19th-century politician and educational reformer, invented the modern concept of homework and made it an educational essential in schools.

Why is HomeWork bad?

In 2013, research conducted at Stanford University found that students in high-achieving communities who spend too much time on homework experience more stress, physical health problems.

Is homework a waste of time?

Homework is a waste of time, indeed. 

Why is homework bad for your health?

Homework can cause physical problems as well as mental.

How to deal with homework when depressed?



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Overcome depression and find joy in life again with betterhelp.

why do i not feel like doing homework

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What "I Don't Feel Like It" Really Means: 6 Possibilities

Common phrases often mask underlying problems..

Posted May 1, 2024 | Reviewed by Ray Parker

  • What Is Anxiety?
  • Find counselling to overcome anxiety
  • The phrase "I don't feel like it" is often a cover for other emotions and problems.
  • Common issues are being emotionally driven, depression, medical problems, and not knowing how to do something.
  • If this is a pattern, the key is drilling down to find and solve the problem underneath.


You undoubtedly hear this all the time: your daughter doesn’t want to do her math homework or clean her room because she doesn’t feel like it, your partner doesn’t feel like going out, or you’re not feeling like calling your mother, even though you know you should. “Don’t feel like it” is often a catch-all statement for a host of underlying issues. Here are the most common ones and their antidotes:

1. Shoulds vs. wants.

That you “should” call your mother is a tip-off that this is some rule imposed by someone else—your parents, your culture, or larger society—which prods you along with guilt . But shoulds are different from wants —that gut feeling where you want to call your mother because you’re worried about her or simply miss hearing her voice—and also different from values, which are your rules to live by based on how you, as an adult, believe you want to run your life and treat others. If regularly checking in with your mom is part of your values, it may not, on any given day, rise to the level of a want, but you won’t be nagged by any guilt.

Antidote: Sort through your shoulds and see which you want to dismiss, tweak, or transform into value.

2. Too difficult; I don’t know how.

This is a classic stance of teens. Often, when they say they don’t want to, they are really saying that they can’t, but in the face-saving teen world, the former is better.

Antidote: If you’re seeing this pattern, you want to drill down: “I’ve noticed that you say you don’t feel like doing your math homework a lot. Math can be tough, and I’m wondering if you’re having a hard time with it. I’m happy to help you if you are.”

This is a better approach than the inevitable power struggle or putting-your-foot-down approach. Sometimes, you may need to do that, but drilling down and finding the problem under the problem is usually more productive.

3. Being passive-aggressive.

Another incidence of patterns: Your partner says he doesn’t feel like going out. Usually, there’s an addendum—too tired, too expensive. Fine. But if it’s part of a pattern in which you suggest something and you’re nine times out of ten getting a thumbs down, you may wonder what’s happening. Don’t feel like it is often a watered-down version of no .

If this is indeed a pattern, it will quickly have significant harmful side effects. If you’re always initiating ideas, you are likely to get resentful that you are the one doing the heavy lifting to keep the relationship going. When shot down, you undoubtedly feel dismissed. On the other side, your partner is likely comfortable taking a passive role in relationships; he gets anxious about speaking up and saying what he thinks and feels, but, over time, this can lead to his feeling micromanaged and resentful that you’re the one always running the show.

Antidote: Again, talk about the pattern—about your always initiating, and maybe his feeling micromanaged. The challenge is to present this in a matter-of-fact way so that the conversation itself doesn’t trigger the pattern in which he feels scolded and anxious and shuts down. Say it and then back off, or even email and follow up. Focus on fixing the pattern, and avoid getting in the weeds of whose reality is right.

4. Medical problems.

My mother-in-law is 96 years old, lives alone, and is more or less independent. But my wife has noticed that her mother, who was always an avid cook, has repeatedly said she doesn’t feel like cooking or eating. We’re wondering if it is about appetite , energy, or mentally having trouble simply cooking.

Antidote: It is time to medically drill down to see if there are some physical or cognitive issues impeding energy or causing physical problems.

5. Depression.

My mother-in-law may also be struggling with depression . Those with depression “don’t feel like it” most of the time. Not only is there often a sapping of energy, but an accompanying why-bother-it-doesn’t-matter attitude to doing most things: The world is gray; you’re going through the motions.

why do i not feel like doing homework

Antidote: It’s easy to fall into a depressive cycle in which your depression makes your world smaller and increasingly depressing, which in turn further fuels your depression. It's time to break the cycle by a combination of medication , therapy , or doing despite feeling you don’t feel like it.

6. Being emotionally driven.

I do what I do based on how I feel is the mainstay for many. It’s not about depression or shoulds but being emotionally driven. In my experience, those with anxiety or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) seem particularly prone to this. Those with anxiety are understandably trying to scoot around their anxiety: Anxiety makes everything feel important, so they easily feel overwhelmed, and then avoid what makes them anxious, staying with what makes them feel safe. Those with ADHD are drawn to that which is stimulating without being overwhelming—a new idea, a video game—and push away or procrastinate about what is boring or difficult—paperwork on the job, doing their tax return.

The problem in both these situations is that the byproducts of their emotionally-driven behaviors accumulate. Those with anxiety are not tackling problems that cause them to feel anxious—e.g., talking to their supervisor about a raise or to their partner about chores—while those with ADHD are missing deadlines, feeling scattered, not completing tasks, and running into trouble in their relationships.

Antidote: Tacking the underlying problems—anxiety and ADHD directly with medication, organizational skills, and counseling.

The theme here is phrases like "Don’t feel like it" or the now old-school “Whatever” blot over underlying emotions. If you hear them often, it’s a sign of underlying problems that maybe it’s time to address.

To find a therapist, visit the Psychology Today Therapy Directory .

Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W.

Bob Taibbi, L.C.S.W., has 49 years of clinical experience. He is the author of 13 books and over 300 articles and provides training nationally and internationally.

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Why Do I Feel Like a Failure? How Can I Stop Feeling This Way?

Dr. Jenni Jacobsen

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Table of Contents

Making mistakes or falling short of a goal never feels good, but we’ve all experienced these setbacks from time to time. For some of us, though, falling short of perfection makes us feel as if we’ve failed. 

It’s normal to feel let down when you don’t meet your goals. But if you chronically feel like a failure, there may be some underlying problems to address. 

There are 6 common reasons that can lead to feeling like a failure. The good news is that you can work through them. 

Understanding the roots of feeling like a failure

When you get stuck in a cycle of feeling like a failure, there are usually some underlying reasons. These feelings may stem from past experiences or unaddressed mental health problems.

We’ll discuss these in more detail below. 

1. Perfectionism and unrealistic expectations

Research suggests that people with perfectionistic attitudes are prone to being highly critical of themselves when they fail to meet their performance standards. [1] Overholser, J., & Dimaggio, G. (2020). Struggling with perfectionism: When good enough is not good enough. Journal of Clinical Psychology , 76 (11), 2019–2027. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.23047

So, if you’re struggling with feeling like a failure, you may be holding yourself to unrealistic standards. If you always expect perfection, you’ll never measure up to the expectations you have for yourself. 

People who struggle with perfectionism tend to judge themselves only in terms of their achievements, and they set the bar unrealistically high. 

Since they can never realistically achieve everything they expect of themselves, they will always feel like they’re falling short. 

2. Past experiences and negative self-talk

If you’ve had negative past experiences, especially those related to abuse or neglect, you may be prone to negative self-talk. [2] Mansueto, G., Cavallo, C., Palmieri, S., Ruggiero, G. M., Sassaroli, S., & Caselli, G. (2021). Adverse childhood experiences and repetitive negative thinking in adulthood: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy/Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy , 28 (3), 557–568. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.2590 Perhaps you were subjected to emotional abuse growing up.

Over time, your self-talk probably became quite negative. It’s unfortunately easy to start to internalize the negative things people say about us.

It’s possible that your feeling of being a failure stems from an overall negative view you have toward yourself. The voice inside your head might tell you that you’re not good enough, or that you’re falling short of what everyone expects of you. – Dr. Jenni Jacobsen, PhD, Licensed Social Worker (LSW), mental health writer Click to post

3. Comparison and social media

It’s true what they say: comparison really can be the thief of joy. If you compare your own life to the highlight reels you see on social media, you might feel pretty down about yourself.

Research has shown that people who fall victim to social media comparison via Facebook tend to have lower self-esteem when compared to those who show lower levels of social comparison. [3] Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Okdie, B. M., Eckles, K., & Franz, B. (2015). Who compares and despairs? The effect of social comparison orientation on social media use and its outcomes. Personality and Individual Differences , 86 , 249–256. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.06.026

If you’re spending a significant amount of time on social media platforms, your feelings of being a failure may result from comparing yourself to others. 

4. Unaddressed mental health issues

Sometimes, an underlying mental health problem can explain the feeling of being a failure. For example, feelings of worthlessness and inappropriate guilt are diagnostic symptoms of depression. [4] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US). (n.d.). Table 9, DSM-IV to DSM-5 Major Depressive Episode/Disorder Comparison – DSM-5 Changes – NCBI Bookshelf . https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519712/table/ch3.t5/

So, if you struggle with depression, your feelings of failure might be related to the features of this mental health condition. Researchers have found that negative thinking patterns can cause depressive symptoms to persist over time. [5] Beevers, C. G., Mullarkey, M. C., Dainer-Best, J., Stewart, R. A., Labrada, J., Allen, J. J. B., McGeary, J. E., & Shumake, J. (2019). Association between negative cognitive bias and depression: A symptom-level approach. Journal of Abnormal Psychology , 128 (3), 212–227. https://doi.org/10.1037/abn0000405

The bottom line is that depression can be linked to feeling like a failure. Furthermore, this type of thinking can, unfortunately, create a vicious cycle, in which feelings of failure cause depression symptoms to worsen. 

And, as depression persists, the feeling of being a failure is likely to continue. 

5. Thinking errors

Even if you don’t have a specific mental health condition, you might be prone to thinking errors. Thinking errors occur when we tend to think about the world and ourselves in biased or illogical ways.

Sometimes, we can be biased toward the negative, especially when it comes to ourselves. This means we can be prone to viewing ourselves in a harshly negative fashion.

For instance, we might expect ourselves to never make a mistake, when we would never hold other people to such a high standard. So, feeling like a failure might be a result of thinking errors that lead to negatively biased thinking about ourselves. 

6. Imposter syndrome 

Imposter syndrome occurs when people view themselves as frauds. [6] Gresham-Dolby, C. (2022). Imposter syndrome: An opportunity to positively influence mentees. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning , 14 (2), 130–132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cptl.2021.11.019 This tends to occur in high-achieving people who believe that mistakes mean they aren’t worthy or capable.

When you’re feeling like a failure, it might be because of imposter syndrome. You feel that a mistake means you haven’t lived up to the expectations and you’ve failed to fulfill your role.

Imposter syndrome also typically involves a belief that you have achieved great things only out of luck and a fear that others will find out you’re a fraud.

If you experience imposter syndrome, you may even have the feeling of   “I don’t know who I am” each time you make a mistake. If your mistakes make you feel you aren’t capable, you may lose your entire sense of identity. 

why do i not feel like doing homework

The impact of feeling like a failure

Constantly feeling as if you’re a failure doesn’t typically have a positive effect on your mental health. In fact, ongoing feelings of failure can be quite distressing and lead to mental health problems.

Some of the impacts of feeling like a failure include:

  • Poor self-esteem and feelings of self-doubt
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Being overly critical of yourself
  • Never feeling “good enough”
  • Withdrawing from others because of feeling inadequate
  • Ruminating over mistakes
  • Working yourself to the point of burnout to achieve perfection
  • Increased risk of mental health problems, which could include depression, suicidal thinking, and PTSD [2] Mansueto, G., Cavallo, C., Palmieri, S., Ruggiero, G. M., Sassaroli, S., & Caselli, G. (2021). Adverse childhood experiences and repetitive negative thinking in adulthood: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy/Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy , 28 (3), 557–568. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.2590

Strategies to overcome feelings of failure 

The good news is that you can learn strategies to overcome ongoing feelings of failure. When you learn to change your thinking patterns, you’ll stop ruminating over your shortcomings.

Consider the strategies below. 

1. Challenging negative self-talk

All of us are prone to automatic negative thoughts from time-to-time. These are thoughts that just pop into our heads without much effort.

Automatic negative thoughts might include telling yourself that you’re a failure or that you’ll never be good enough.

Rather than accepting these negative thoughts as they pop into your head, decide to challenge them. Perhaps you’ve made a small mistake today, but you’ve certainly had many prior successes in your life.

Rather than telling yourself that you’re a failure, challenge yourself to think something along the lines of, “ I made a mistake today, but I can learn from it and succeed in the future. ” 

2. Setting realistic goals and expectations

It’s only natural to have goals for yourself, but you cannot expect perfection. This simply isn’t realistic, and it tends to lead to a host of psychological problems.

Instead of expecting perfection from yourself, expect excellence in areas that are important to you. You can set high goals for yourself in your highest-priority areas, but give yourself plenty of time to reach these goals. – Dr. Jenni Jacobsen, PhD, Licensed Social Worker (LSW), mental health writer Click to post

Work toward them in small steps, and make sure you don’t have too much on your plate at once. 

In other areas of life, outside of your top priorities, try to get comfortable with the idea of being “good enough.” For instance, if you’re trying to commit to an exercise routine, don’t expect yourself to be in the gym for hours a day.

If that’s not realistic for you, commit to three days of exercise per week, or simply take a walk after dinner. Settling for “good enough” in some areas of life can take off a lot of the pressure that leads to feelings of failure. 

3. Embracing a growth mindset

When you maintain a fixed mindset, you’re more vulnerable to feeling like a failure. If you have a fixed mindset, you feel that your talents and abilities are predetermined and cannot be changed.

On the other hand, a growth mindset believes that abilities can be developed. If you tend to show a fixed mindset, try to embrace the idea of a growth mindset.

Rather than viewing your abilities as fixed, recognize that you can strengthen your skills over time. So, failure doesn’t need to be seen as an endpoint. Instead, it’s just one part of the journey toward success. – Dr. Jenni Jacobsen, PhD, Licensed Social Worker (LSW), mental health writer Click to post

Psychologists have found that a growth mindset can foster greater resilience and achievement, so this way of thinking could actually lead you closer to your goals. [7] Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2020). What can be learned from growth mindset controversies? American Psychologist/˜the œAmerican Psychologist , 75 (9), 1269–1284. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000794

4. Learning from setbacks and challenges

When you struggle with feeling like a failure, it might be because you’re convinced you should never make mistakes or experience setbacks. This isn’t a realistic way of thinking.

We all experience setbacks and challenges. Rather than viewing setbacks as a failure, recognize that they are just part of the process.

Consider what you can learn from a setback, rather than fixating on how you’ve failed. 

5. Celebrating small wins and progress

You might think that you only deserve to celebrate huge accomplishments, but it’s okay to be proud of yourself , even for small wins. 

When you recognize even small accomplishments, you’ll begin to notice more of your successes. This can help you to get out of a pattern of negative thinking. 

If you’re working toward a goal, such as graduating from a master’s degree program, allow yourself to celebrate the completion of each semester. Or, reward yourself for making it through a tough class.

6. Practicing self-compassion and self-care

The sad truth is that we tend to have less compassion for ourselves than we do for others. Those of us who struggle with feeling like failures would never hold our loved ones to the same standards to which we hold ourselves. 

Overcome feelings of failure by practicing kindness and compassion for yourself. Recognize that everyone makes mistakes, even those of us who are talented, capable, and qualified.

If you’re having a hard time being compassionate, think about what you’d say to a close friend or family member in your situation. 

Would you tell them they’re nothing but a failure? Absolutely not! 

So, don’t talk to yourself like that either. Give yourself permission to be human, and if you’re struggling with negative thoughts, make some time for self-care.

Engage in hobbies you enjoy, prioritize rest and relaxation, and care for yourself through physical movement. 

7. Surrounding yourself with supportive people

Having a supportive network in your corner is essential. People who support you and your goals and dreams can be a voice of reason when you’re feeling down on yourself.

When you’re struggling with negative self-talk, there is no shame in reaching out to a friend or family member and sharing your feelings. Chances are that they can offer words of encouragement and understanding. 

When to seek professional help

You can practice self-help strategies to overcome feelings of failure, but sometimes, you might need professional support.

We can all get caught up in negative self-talk from time to time, but if it’s persistent and doesn’t improve with the strategies above, it might be time to seek professional help.

If your sense of feeling like a failure has become chronic and unmanageable, you might benefit from working with a counselor or therapist. 

Some signs that it’s time to seek help include:

  • Feelings of failure are making it hard for you to enjoy life
  • You’re unable to be productive at work or school because you’re so caught up in negative self-talk
  • It’s difficult for you to focus on anything but your feelings of inadequacy
  • You have begun to withdraw from relationships and social engagements
  • Your negative thoughts toward yourself are starting to interfere with your mental health (ie: you have ongoing feelings of sadness, significant anxiety, or thoughts of suicide)

If you are struggling to manage feelings of failure on your own, reaching out for therapy is a good next step. A therapist can help you process your feelings, challenge negative thinking patterns, and set realistic goals for yourself. 

Once you make the decision to seek professional support, you might consider online therapy. This allows you to connect with a professional from the comfort and convenience of home! 

A word from Calmerry

If you’re struggling with persistent feelings of failure, Calmerry therapists are here to help. 

They offer compassionate, expert guidance to help you uncover the root causes of these feelings and develop strategies to build a more positive and resilient mindset. 

Start with a brief survey – and we will match you with one of them within 1 hour. 

You are not alone!

Overholser, J., & Dimaggio, G. (2020). Struggling with perfectionism: When good enough is not good enough. Journal of Clinical Psychology , 76 (11), 2019–2027. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.23047

Mansueto, G., Cavallo, C., Palmieri, S., Ruggiero, G. M., Sassaroli, S., & Caselli, G. (2021). Adverse childhood experiences and repetitive negative thinking in adulthood: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy/Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy , 28 (3), 557–568. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.2590

Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Okdie, B. M., Eckles, K., & Franz, B. (2015). Who compares and despairs? The effect of social comparison orientation on social media use and its outcomes. Personality and Individual Differences , 86 , 249–256. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.06.026

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US). (n.d.). Table 9, DSM-IV to DSM-5 Major Depressive Episode/Disorder Comparison – DSM-5 Changes – NCBI Bookshelf . https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519712/table/ch3.t5/

Beevers, C. G., Mullarkey, M. C., Dainer-Best, J., Stewart, R. A., Labrada, J., Allen, J. J. B., McGeary, J. E., & Shumake, J. (2019). Association between negative cognitive bias and depression: A symptom-level approach. Journal of Abnormal Psychology , 128 (3), 212–227. https://doi.org/10.1037/abn0000405

Gresham-Dolby, C. (2022). Imposter syndrome: An opportunity to positively influence mentees. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning , 14 (2), 130–132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cptl.2021.11.019

Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2020). What can be learned from growth mindset controversies? American Psychologist/˜the œAmerican Psychologist , 75 (9), 1269–1284. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000794

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    If you are unmotivated and don't want to do anything, speaking with a professional therapist may be helpful. Therapy can be a place to explore and get to the bottom of these feelings, identifying ways to manage them. In therapy, you may find helpful ways to feel better, improve motivation, restructure your thoughts, and find self-compassion.

  17. End Homework Anxiety: Stress-Busting Techniques for Your Child

    This helps them avoid putting off homework until it feels too rushed and pressured. Make sure your student has support available when doing their work, so they know they'll be able to ask for help if needed. Teaching your child general tips to deal with anxiety can also help, like deep breathing, getting out to take a short walk, or quieting ...

  18. [Need Advice] I don't want to do my homework. : r/getdisciplined

    This continued on, and I did not do most of my homework. I just don't feel like doing my homework. In a class which I could have very easily ended up with an A+ if I just did the homework (which wasn't difficult by any means), I ended up with a C. ... And it's not like I hate studying or doing homework, I enjoy learning. I think this is a ...

  19. Can't do homework because depressed? (9 ways to cope)

    Just feel the moment and you will be able to concentrate on your homework. 3. W‌‌rite journal. Writing a journal when you cannot concentrate on your homework can help you get over anhedonia. We all need to socialize at some point to share our feelings and emotions especially when we are not happy or feeling depressed.

  20. What "I Don't Feel Like It" Really Means: 6 Possibilities

    The phrase, "I don't feel like it," is often a cover for other emotions and problems. Common ones are being emotionally driven, depression, medical problems, and not knowing how to do something ...

  21. Why do I feel incredibly sad/lonely when I do homework?

    It feels like I'm the only person in the world when I'm doing work, as dramatic as it may sound, but it really does. This makes me upset, and I find myself having difficulty concentrating. I see homework, professors, school in general as threats. It feels as though everyone connected to school, including fellow classmates, are against me and ...

  22. Why Do I Feel Like a Failure?

    The bottom line is that depression can be linked to feeling like a failure. Furthermore, this type of thinking can, unfortunately, create a vicious cycle, in which feelings of failure cause depression symptoms to worsen. And, as depression persists, the feeling of being a failure is likely to continue. 5.

  23. I have lost all motivation to do my school work and no matter what I do

    It will let you get jobs that pay enough for you to eat ridiculously good food with extremely good alcohol (and, honestly, this is why I work every day) and have hobbies that make many people envious. And, if you don't do what I did, you can start doing all those things before you get too tired to do them.

  24. Spring Commencement 2024

    Join us for this afternoon's commencement exercises for our graduating class of 2024. #ForeverToThee24

  25. Doraemon Santain (Remake Los tipos de Estados) Tanda 2024

    Doraemon Santain (Remake Los tipos de Estados) Tanda 2024. Like. Comment

  26. I feel like I'm only able to do stuff at night. : r/productivity

    I feel like I'm only able to do stuff at night. I'm a highscool student and I've been trying to not to play video games during the weekdays and do my class work instead, so now everyday after school I spend 4 hours pacing around thinking of something to do and scrolling through Twitter. Then after dinner I begin my homework and projects.