Self-control. I has it. Photo courtesy of meave. Licensed under CC BY-2.0.Finals are upon us, and whether you’ve got a light schedule or one that makes you feel like your books are slowly choking you to death, sometimes the hardest part of the exam period is motivating yourself to get to the end. We’ve already been through hell this semester, and when classes have finally ended, we’re supposed to keep going? I, for one, do not want to. I am enjoying this whole no-classes-all-day thing and would rather just keep pushing that literature review to the back of my mind.

However, we’ve all got to muster up some self-control this week in order to survive and get all of our studying and paper writing done. So here are some great articles that give you some insights about how you can wrangle up some self-control and get your shit done.

7 Essential Steps to Mastering Temptation

This Psychology Daily article has some very good points that college students can apply to their behavior during finals time. For instance, the article suggests that you choose your willpower battles because as humans we only have a limited amount of willpower. If you force yourself to do one unpleasant thing, you will have less willpower to force yourself to do a larger, more unpleasant thing. For example, if you force yourself to go run seven miles today, it is going to be a lot tougher to force yourself to study for five hours for biochemistry. Pick your battles, especially around finals, because your willpower should be focused almost exclusively on your studies. It’s just one big push to the end, so don’t trip up when you’re so close to the finish lane.

How to Summon Self-Control in Times of Need

From Lifehacker, this article explains an interesting test called The Marshmallow Test. Children were told that if they resisted the temptation to eat a marshmallow immediately, they would be rewarded with more marshmallows afterwards. What the study found was that children created distractions for themselves so they wouldn’t think of the delicious pile of fluffy marshmallows in front of them– sitting on their hands, singing to themselves, looking at other objects in the room.

The point that college students can take away from this article is that sometimes we have to create ways for us keep our self-control. In finals time, this creation is actually creating ways to get rid of distractions. Sometimes, you have to outwit yourself in creative ways to entirely rid your environment of distractions. For instance, if you keep eating to procrastinate from studying (what, I totally don’t do this at all…), then get rid of the food. If you keep finding yourself on Facebook or some other online distraction, just turn your internet off. It may take a lot of willpower, but you’ll find yourself become a lot more productive when your distractions are removed.

For more tips about how to remove distractions while studying, check out our other HackCollege tips and SelfControl, a Mac application that can disable your access to websites for a specified amount of time.

You can even create a rewards system like in the Marshmallow Test– if you don’t chill online for half an hour now, you’ll allow yourself a large chunk of time to do your online business to unwind after you’ve completed your studying. My favorite is always rewarding myself with a bit of chocolate after I finish an assignment.

Top 10 Ways to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

Okay, so this Lifehacker article has less to do with self-control. But, it’s still a good read if you need to get creative for an essay or project that you’re stuck on. Some good tips the article suggests are getting exercise, changing up your morning routine, and knowing when to take time off from your work. However, my favorite suggestion is think inside the box. Build on established principles and ideas by taking a different viewpoint. Not everything has to be original– just make it yours. 

Keep in mind this quote by Christopher Peterson: “If you never venture outside the box, you will probably not be creative. But if you never get inside the box, you will certainly be stupid.”

How do you keep up your self-control? Let us know in the comments!

[via Psychology Daily, Lifehacker, and Lifehacker]