Reading Course: Free Sample – How to stay motivated

This is a free sample lesson from the Reading Course. Sign up for the course to get 40 lessons like this one – they will help you improve your reading skills and increase your vocabulary!

Download: Text / Audio

How to take the lesson:

  1. Read the article and learn the vocabulary. Note: The words in pink you will learn in the Discover New Words quiz in the worksheet
  2. Download the worksheet and do the exercises:
    • Comprehension questions
    • Discover new words quiz
    • Vocabulary exercise
  3. Try the writing task to practice your writing skills

Read the article and learn vocabulary

Staying motivated can be a real struggle. Sometimes the task at hand is too difficult or too tedious to maintain your interest. Sometimes you get sidetracked. Sometimes you feel crushed by the sheer number of your responsibilities, and it seems easier to give up or ignore them.

tedious = boring, monotonous (no variation or interest)
get sidetracked = get distracted by something that is not in line with your main goal
crushed = completely destroyed by pressure
sheer = only, without considering anything else (the number itself is great enough to make things difficult, regardless of the difficulty of the actual responsibilities)

How can we optimize our behavior in order to get the job done? Here are a few things that can grease the wheels.

optimize = make something the best it can be
grease the wheels = make things run more smoothly

Create a Constructive Environment

If your space isn’t conducive to work, you’re apt to become scatter-brained. Consider the following questions when arranging your workspace:

apt to = have a natural tendency to
scatter-brained = distracted, thinking about many different things

  • Do you have good lighting?
  • Is it noisy?
  • Do your surroundings remind you of all the other things that need to be accomplished?
  • Is it too cluttered?
  • Do you have everything needed to do your work at hand?
  • Are you inspired or distracted by decorations like photos, motivational images or quotes, plants, etc.?

Making your workspace a cocoon of productivity will help you get down to business.

cluttered = having too many objects occupying a space
at hand = available, close to you
cocoon = small, enclosed space
get down to business = begin doing something seriously

Change Your Routine

Ask yourself: do you feel burnt out? Perhaps you’re in a rut, and that’s what is slowing you down. If this is the case, try changing your habits.

Maybe working at a different time of day, or from a different location, will be a breath of fresh air. Other things you can vary include your meals or background music. A change of pace might spark some new ideas.

in a rut = stuck in the same routine
vary = change, do differently
change of pace = a shift in your normal routine
spark = cause to appear, create

Make a List

This is a time-honored trick for approaching multiple tasks. A slew of chores rattling around in your head always seems less daunting and more manageable when outlined on paper. And the best part of making a list is the satisfaction when you can cross off an item.

time-honored = respected because it has been useful for a long time
slew = a large number
rattling around = moving around and making lots of noise
cross off = draw a line through some words to eliminate them

Small Tasks

When writing your to-do list, break large jobs down into small, bite-sized parts. For instance, if your goal is to write a book, don’t consider that a single task. That can be intimidating – and you’ll never finish it in a day.

bite-sized = small enough to be manageable

Instead, tell yourself, “Today, all I need to do is write one dialogue.” Because that task is more achievable, you’re more likely to dive in and finish. 

Set Up a Rewards System

Everybody likes to be compensated for their work, and you can reward yourself, too. Choose something you enjoy, and then set a reasonable goal to reach before you can have it. For example, “If I study for an hour, then I can relax with one episode of my favorite television show.” Setting a limit to your leisure makes you less likely to binge on it – and you can enjoy your reward guilt-free once the work is done.

compensated = receiving something in exchange for your work/effort
leisure = relaxation, entertainment, what you do for fun
binge = consume too much

Take Care of Yourself

Your body is a machine, and in order for it to function at its peak, you must keep it well oiled. How can you do this? Easy: eat healthy food, exercise regularly, sleep enough, and don’t push yourself too hard. All of these factors improve your physical self, which improves your mental acuity and helps you feel on top of your game—and this can supercharge your productivity.

peak = highest point
well-oiled = saying something is a “well-oiled machine” means it operates very well and very efficiently
push yourself = pressure yourself to accomplish more
acuity = ability to think and perceive clearly and accurately
on top of your game = performing at your best
supercharge = greatly increase the power of

Writing Task

Think about an area where you can give some tips, advice, or teach someone “how to” do something. It can be practical (like how to build, make, or fix something) or more philosophical (like how to improve yourself or your relationships). Write an instructional text like this one, giving 3-4 of your best tips.