Motivation 101: 7 Tips to Keep Yourself Motivated

How to Motivate Yourself

7 Tips to Keep Yourself Motivated

Motivation may be approached in different ways. You can see it from the perspective of science, habit, or a simple day-to-day drive. And though there’s a study about motivation, which you can learn more about in Charles’ Duhigg’s Smarter Faster Better, here are some of the things I actually do for daily motivation.

In the architecture field, it’s important to keep oneself motivated as the lack of motivation makes it hard to make room for creativity. The same goes for any other profession as we all need that creativity and drive to do something. So, what are the things you can do when you have no motivation? Here are 7 things you can get started on.

Related: What Lifestyle to Expect in Architecture School

#1 | Remind Yourself Why

Motivation tip number 1 is to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. If you’ve read my post about self-management and time-blocking, you’d know the first step is to know your “why”. Reminding yourself every day, every morning, what you’re living for, or what is the purpose of everything you’re doing, helps you align your focus and evaluate your tasks every day. Which of those tasks are actually important? Which of them do you actually want to do? And although not every important task is something we want to do, it helps to use the Eisenhower Matrix. It is better explained by Thomas Frank here

If I believe in what I’m doing, it’s more likely that I will actually pursue and do it. 

#2 | Schedule Daily Inspirations (whether it’s pictures or videos, etc.)

I got this idea from iiSuperwomanii or Lilly Singh. She has this book called “How to Be a Bawse” and one of the things that struck me with her speech (promoting the book or the content of it) is that she mentioned having to schedule our inspirations. It’s true that we lose inspiration but the message here is that we can rekindle it. So let’s rekindle it regularly. 

I personally use Pinterest, seeing photos, and reading articles, to rekindle my inspirations. I also use Youtube, following people I admire with their work, and I also listen to audiobooks, as expanding my knowledge more amazes me and helps me try new and different things that keep me inspired and motivated. Listening and seeing other people’s motivation tips help me experiment with my own and figure out what works and what doesn’t for me. (You should do the same as well!)

Related: Self-Management and Time Blocking

Smiling woman on the phone having coffee

#3 | Read Empowering Books or Listen to Audiobooks

This motivation tip is related to #2. Every morning I try to listen to self-help audiobooks whilst getting ready for the day. Aside from helping me broaden my knowledge about things I want to know more about, it helps keep me motivated by encouraging me to do different things. Don’t get me wrong. Not all self-help books have been helpful for me and I don’t force myself to read or listen to a book I don’t like. But listening every morning to something that inspires you can influence your day and your motivation. 

If you want to have some book recommendations, you can check out my Goodreads account here. For self-help books, I mostly like to listen to unbiased books meaning those of which that is based on science and psychology, and not merely on an author’s opinion or experience.

#4 | Take Regular Breaks but DON’T Quit

This motivation tip is something I always tell people, especially my friends. I grew up with the notion that having breaks is a bad thing, but they’re really not. We might think that that’s just us procrastinating, or being lazy, but the truth is, if you go on with your work non-stop 24/7 then you’ll get burned out pretty quickly. I’ve done this before and it took me about a year or more to recover. The burn out is a real thing. 

The breaks or rests we give ourselves help us avoid burnout and recover from the tiring work somehow. And when I say rest, I really do mean rest. It’s not “rest” when you try to watch a show for leisure and still have your work in the back of your mind. It’s not “rest” when you’re trying to eat well but you’re still thinking of the things you need to do for that day. Focus on the show, focus on the food. If you think focusing on your work is important, focusing on your rest is equally important as well. Where else will you regain the energy and motivation to do work? Think of rest as the gas station and your energy as the fuel. Your car won’t run without it, you can’t drive without it. Breaks are important too when done properly.

Relaxing woman while reading and tanning under the sun

#5 | Spend Time with People, AWAY from Your Work

Throughout college, I’ve been having this FOMO. And no, it’s not the fear of missing out on trends, but it’s the fear of missing out on life. I’m afraid of not noticing the changes happening to my family, friends, and other loved ones, just because I’m too focused on my work. How much of a sacrifice is needed or justified when trying to fulfill your goals? You would know when you list your priorities well in order.

I realized, and I don’t think it’s just because of the fact that I’m an extrovert, that I gain much energy and happiness when I spend time with the people I care about. Being surrounded by people who love you and support you can really give you that energy and motivation to continue doing what you’re doing, knowing that they are there to support you along the way. Now, the time spent with loved ones is truly an important break. After all, it’s more important to care for our relationships than for our work, right?

#6 | Make Yourself Feel Like You’re In Control

There is a science behind this and it’s explained in Charles Duhigg’s Smarter Faster Better. However, even before I read the book, I realized that I am able to do more, and am more driven, when I know that I am in control. Although I believe that there are things beyond my control, the fact is, I am given the freedom which allows me to make decisions on my everyday life. The same goes for you and everyone else. Whenever I feel like I’m in a slump or can’t seem to move, paralyzed with the numerous decisions I have to make, or numerous tasks I have to do for that day, I start small.

I have a list on my phone and I will check on that to-do list whenever I feel like I’m losing control. I start with that simple list of routines, and I focus on the items on the list one by one. It helps get me started with the momentum. Once I feel like I’m doing something already in my control, it allows me to continue on from there.

Other times, however, when it gets too much, it’s important to stay still and breathe and be mindful or aware of our own state of mind and environment. In relation to motivation tip #4, sometimes the best way to get back on track is to stop for a while.

Planning with a calendar and a blank notebook

#7 | Have Some Variety in Your Life

Having routines on our day-to-day life helps us in a number of ways. However, it can also make life seem dull. When this happens, I motivate myself by having variety – changing up things a bit. When working or studying, sometimes always working at home seems too much and therefore I go out to coffee shops. When the same coffee shop gets too familiar or too much, then I move somewhere else. When my routine gets boring for me and I want to do something different, I add and subtract things from it. When I study for a long number of hours, it even gets boring to me just doing it one way — and so I have different ways of studying! You can change things as much as you can as long as you know it’ll be helpful. This will keep you motivated and driven.

Motivation tips are everywhere and there are more ways out there we can read about and try to apply in order to have motivation. Sometimes, exercise helps me too. I feel that boost of energy after a workout and it helps me start and get through my day right.


  1. Remind yourself why
  2. Schedule daily inspirations
  3. Read empowering books or listen to audiobooks
  4. Take regular breaks but DON’T quit
  5. Spend time with people, AWAY from your work
  6. Make yourself feel like you’re in control
  7. Have some variety in your life

I hope at least one of these motivation tips would be of help to you because they’re really what works for me. Remember though, each of us is different and we just got to find out what works best for us. If you want to read more, a related post would be How I Manage to Handle Stress in Architecture School.

Any of these tips helpful? Feel free to share more down in the comments! Feel free to share it with your fellow freshmen architecture students. You can sign up for our newsletter for more exclusives on How to Succeed in Architecture School!

6 thoughts on “Motivation 101: 7 Tips to Keep Yourself Motivated”

  1. Mali #4 pala and #6 is where i rate myself lowest. It seems i am not taking enough break where needed. So i get overwhelmed sometimes. Thanks for the reminders Kayla. 🙂

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