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What do you do when you're unmotivated?

  1. Dec 8, 2014 #1


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    Gold Member

    I think everyone once in a while becomes unmotivated. It's probably even more common in physics majors..

    So, what do you do when that happens to you? Do you watch videos? Read books? Something else? What?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 8, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Are you unmotivated about everything? like in a depression? is there some stress in your life like finals coming up?

    The best course of action is to take a walk, do something completely different.

    If its lack of sleep then don't play video games, use a computer... an hour before bedtime.The screen brightness will affect how well you sleep.

    Sometimes reading a book is good therapy but not in the subject you're fretting over.
  4. Dec 8, 2014 #3
    Do something I like.
    At the moment I like to watch a classic Doctor Who episode (or 3) in those moments.

    But even if I'm bored/stuck/unmotivated with because of some problem, I tend to do some physics I truly like. At the moment that's deepening my knowledge of GR.
    Maybe next week I want to study the "Physics of Mosh Pits" (it exists, really)
  5. Dec 8, 2014 #4
    You know I went through this with physics. I felt so unmotivated/burnt out that I was just ready to give up. I let my physics courses slide a little and now I deeply regret it.
    If it is with physics (research or courses) talk to one of your professors, classmates, graduate students ( if you are an undergrad) just to learn about something interesting. It might give you a spark. Like JorisL, find something in physics you like and look at it a little deeper.

    If it is in general, you might want to do some other activities? Go out and have fun with your friends! Go to the movies or try a new restaurant. Read a non course related book.
    One time my friend I were not motivated enough to study, but we decided to make a bucket list of things we wanted to do with our lives. It went from random things we to a list of goals we aspired to accomplish for our professional lives. Maybe try that with a buddy?
  6. Dec 8, 2014 #5


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    I'm not sure how to answer that question.. I guess I'm a bit unmotivated about everything and yes, finals are coming up!

    Sometimes when I see physics related movies/videos I get quite motivated for a while.. Need to find something to watch! The other day, after watching the new Hawking movie, I was super-hyper-mega motivated.. The next morning it was gone!!
  7. Dec 8, 2014 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    I get that way about programming. Sometimes, I can see so clearly that some tricky algorithm can be easily done until I begin to implement it and then discover that I didn't factor some oddity in.

    One recent example, was an attempt to determine what classes weren't be used in a legacy project. I scanned for all the imports and discovered that many used the .*; option instead of indicating the actual class that was being imported (Netbeans IDE fixes these when you adjust imports but there were too many to "fix").

    Lack of motivation kicks in, sit on it over several days (should I continue the effort...) but then...

    This required my algorithm to read all the source code finding all class names and then checking if the class was a member of one of the * import statement sets or was in the current package of the class being scanned. In one case, there was a class name in more than one import set.

    Small lack of motiviation kicks in, take a walk and then...

    Once I completed that scan, I then discovered that for a few cases there was no import as the programmer used the absolute package name + class name to reference the class.

    Ship the algorithm with some caveats...

    The last problem was the use of dynamically loaded classes dependent on some data file (ala properties file) which is beyond the scope of the algorithm.

    And the search continues...
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  8. Dec 8, 2014 #7


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    The trick is to do what you must no matter whether you are motivated or not.

    This may sound strange, but I am serious. The relationship between motivation, volition (look it up!), and action is by far not as clear as most people think, and very often motivation follows action, not the other way around.

    The best way to get motivated to do something is... to actually do it.
  9. Dec 8, 2014 #8
  10. Dec 9, 2014 #9


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    This is interesting. Thank you both!

    However, I've noticed that when I'm motivated my work is of much better quality than when I'm not.. Let's say motivated me takes 15mins to understand something. Unmotivated me takes 2hours.
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