Treat Your Motivation Like Family

“You Don’t Turn Your Back on Family…”

-Dom, Fast and the Furious

Inspiration and motivation may be some of the most difficult things to attain. Some claim they are as simple as finding a muse, others, claim to have them all the time. Am I one of those people? Absolutely not. Nothing feels worse than getting stuck at a roadblock, but there are ways around it. Here are a few things that I do to help me push through a lack of motivation.

The Build-Up

Sometimes, a task can seem insurmountable, which leads us to avoiding it and lacking any desire to complete it. When I am faced with a situation like this, I like to do small things in relation to it in order to build up to face it. As an example, let’s say you are writing a book. The task itself seems rather daunting to just sit there and begin writing, so how do we build up to it? Maybe we have someone ask us a question about the world? Then you think of a little bit of world lore and allow or imagination go wild. Then you absolutely have to start writing this down and outlining it. Suddenly, you find yourself writing and so begins the motivation, word by word, to tackle this suddenly not so daunting task. There are obviously other ways to go about it, but this is the general idea of how to build motivation!

Do Something Else

Now this may sound odd since we are looking for motivation to do that specific task but bear with me here. Let’s say that I have homework that I really do not feel like doing, but it obviously needs to be done. So, how do I push past the lack of desire? Well, I start by doing something simple, like cleaning for example. I could start with dusting, the wiping the counters down, and keep doing tasks to get into a satisfying, productive flow and then it’s just a matter of shifting what I am working on. This allows me to channel that flow, into something that needs to be done, my homework in this case, while also being productive in other realms of my life.

Reward Yourself

Lastly, you need to reward yourself for being productive. Think of it as almost training yourself. Got a paragraph done? Let’s have a snack. Finished a page? Take a 10 minute break. And so on and so forth. It is simple psychology, the concept of conditioning, that when you are rewarded for something, you have this innate desire to do it again. If you allow yourself to be rewarded along the way, it makes the process easier to get through and keeps that motivation to continue working.

A lack of motivation is, at least in my case, a major proponent of procrastination and stress as a result. Doing these things on a day to day basis has been helpful for me to continue, and I hope you find at least one of these techniques useful. At the end of the day, if you are your own muse/inspiration, you’ll be able to get anything done if you set your mind(s) to it.

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The Good (Mental) Place

“…You make me sad.”

-King Arthur, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

With last week’s focus being on how to manage time, I thought it would only be right to go into another important proponent of having a less stressful experience when overwhelmed. Focusing on yourself and your mental health needs to be a priority, even when it doesn’t seem like there is time for it. In the context of school, the main impact on my mental health is by far stress, especially as deadlines approach. With that being said, pobody’s nerfect, but here are some things that have helped me along the way!

Do Not Procrastinate

Procrastination (at least for me) has a significant impact on the stress and mental health, especially in terms of school work. This is typically a direct impact of time management and you can take a look at my last blog, which explains some techniques I use to manage my time. In short, the best thing you can do is anticipate and prepare properly. Preventing procrastination can prevent any unnecessary stress from building and eating away at you, and leaves plenty of room for the next two tips!

Take Breaks

Now I know what you’re thinking, didn’t you just tell us to not procrastinate? Well yes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take breaks. In fact, part of the reason you shouldn’t procrastinate is so that you can take breaks and keep yourself recharged. Working consistently for hours upon hours takes a toll on your mental state and degrades the quality of your work. Allowing yourself some time to not think about work, or maybe even stepping away from a screen can not only give you that refresh, but also help you in figuring out the solution of a problem that you are stuck on. I can’t recall the amount of times I solved a problem when looking away from my computer screen and practically shouting “Aha!” as I figured it out.

Find An Outlet

Lastly, find an outlet (that works best for you) to help alleviate your stress. That can be anything and is different for everyone: reading, meditating, playing games, exercising, playing with your pet, the possibilities are truly endless here. As long as it brings you some semblance of joy and relaxation, do it when you can and embrace it! This doesn’t exclusively relate to school work, but to life in general. Having an outlet that works, will reduce stress in daily life and therefore, have a positive impact on your mental health.

This, of course, is just my take and some tips on how I manage my personal stress and work on my mental health. These things may not work for everyone, but I strongly believe it is a good start to getting to the right place. Before you know it, you’ll only be thinking on how you got better.


I know Mental Health is complicated and not purely related to stress. I just found these things helpful in my day to day life and thought they would be worth mentioning. If you feel like you need help, please go seek that help and do what it takes to be in a good spot mentally.

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Fantastic Time Management and Where To Find It?

“He buggered off…”

-The Three Headed Knight, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Time management is a difficult skill that most struggle to perfect even well into their adult/professional life. There’s a lot that goes into it and requires discipline, planning, and sometimes, even luck. Only so much can be controlled at any given point in time and so managing what you can control is essential. Managing work and schoolwork can always be a challenge, especially when managing group work as well so one’s personal time management is critical.

Everyone has different methods to manage their time. That being said, here are some things that I find helpful when managing my own.

Breaking Tasks Down

When a task seems too big to accomplish, my first order of business is to break it into several smaller tasks that I can work on. Those smaller tasks should be divided in a way that everything that task is going to accomplish something related. From those tasks, create small steps that you can accomplish quickly and break them down again, and again, and again… until you are unable to and have a manageable task list. This list, made up of small steps, can help you accomplish larger and complicated tasks easily.

Scheduling Work Sessions

This, in my opinion, is the most important factor of time management but also proves to be the most difficult to complete. Why you ask? Well, life gets in the way and sometimes it feels like you never have the time. Even a 15 minute work session can be helpful (as long as it isn’t your only one). An important note here as well, scheduled work sessions should not be your only work sessions if you have a busy life. There are times in my life where I’m not always able to make chunks of time work so instead, I have periods through my weeks that are specifically scheduled for working on deadlines to ensure there is always progress made.

Make Your Own Deadlines

Finally, making your own deadlines for your tasks can help immensley with managing time. Here is a hypothetical for you: you have to finish coding the final dragon fight in the game you’re making in one month. Now let’s break this down into some manageable tasks. We need to create the dragon, the attacks, the room, and the flavor text. You can now set some deadlines for yourself – have the room finished by end of week 1, the dragon by end of week 2, the attacks by end of week 3, and finalize details/flavor text by the end of week 4 (the real due date). With that out of the way, there’s your fleshed out, detailed, dragon fight in a timely manner!

Managing professional, educational, and personal lives all at once can be difficult and is by no means an exact science. For the purposes of this blog, I definitely focused more on the professional/educational side of things, but hopefully this helps bring balance across the other aspects. After all, no one quite likes it when time just runs away.

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Telling Your Story – World Building 101

“Of course it’s a good idea!” – The Lord

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Creating a game requires a great deal of thought, effort, and detail-oriented thinking. I could go on and on about the different types of video games that can be dreamt up but you all likely are familiar with a vast majority. My group project for my Capstone is a Text-Based Adventure game, which provides a good deal of fun, but requires a creative and interesting take to pull in an audience. As the story-builder for our game, my role in the project requires such thinking and innovation.

What is World Building?

Simply put, what does it mean to create a world that a video game (or book, movie, etc.) exists in? Well, the beautiful thing about it being your (and/or your group’s) world is that it can really mean anything you’d like. The hardest part about world building, is keeping yourself focused on your story. How might you do that you ask? I’m glad you asked, here are some of my tips and tricks to do just that.

The Setting

There are many different tropes and genres that can chosen. The first question to ask is, what type of world is it? Is it High Fantasy? Science Fiction? Steampunk? All three or none at all? It all starts with what story you want to tell and how you envision its surroundings.

The Player’s Journey

Your second step is to determine where your story begins and where it ends. Having a rough map/outline can make it much easier to frame your story. It builds the foundation to have a cohesive story in a world that not only makes sense, but is immersive and enjoyable to build. After the start and end are established, come up with your major story points and milestones. Then after that, break it down further from each major story point, and so on. Before you know it, the map from Point A to B will have filled out and you will have a story that’s detailed, engaging, and most importantly, uniquely yours.

The Characters

The characters in the world can give it life and bring out the nuances throughout the story. Something as simple as a description, an accent, or even a quirk, can make characters and the world around them have greater meaning. NPCs (Non-player characters) in particular are great to have as a story telling device. Giving them all a bit of variety can continuously add depth and intricacies to your story. And characters don’t stop at just NPCs, different settings, and even buildings (think of the game Control).

Fill-In The Details.

With the above finished, your world and story is nearly complete. Now this is where the fun begins. Want to add a religion system? Have at thee! Want an NPC to have a dirty little secret that can lead to something down the road? Yes, please! How about a giant monster that roams the forest? Throw it in there! The possibilities here are endless and this is what truly makes the world feel so much bigger and gives players the ability to sink hours upon hours into it. Immersion lies with the details and the details are entirely up to you. Who knows what you could come up with, nothing is too outrageous, not even…a holy hand grenade.

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Finding Harmony In Your Court of Camelot

King Arthur: I seek the bravest and the finest knights in the land who will join me in my court at Camelot.

King Arthur: You have proved yourself worthy. Will you join me?

King Arthur: You make me sad.

-Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Group projects can be stressful to be a part of, especially when everyone is on a different time zone. The program here at OSU has great benefits, but with those benefits, comes some unexpected barriers. We are able to take our courses at our own pace and entirely online. This also means that we work with people across the country who are taking advantage of this flexible schooling option. This has created an environment where working in a group can both be beneficial and difficult. Certain complications that arise out of differences in time zone and a diverse set of group members need to be addressed quickly to have a worthy group (court?) of the finest members (knights?).

My main focus today, is to provide some tips and tricks that I have found helpful in group projects I’ve worked on in the past.

Establish A Schedule

When working on different time zones with people at different points in their life, a schedule is crucial. It is essential to make sure everyone knows the following: when the meetings will take place, deadlines for tasks the time zone that everyone is on, and everyone’s general availability. Doing this early on will be extremely helpful and using shared calendar’s (such as Google or Outlook) can also have a major impact.

Play To the Strengths of the Members (Knights)

Establishing what each team member’s skills are during introductions will help tremendously. A majority may be more comfortable coding in a specific language, some may enjoy presenting, others documentation, etc. Narrowing down who enjoys (or prefers) what role, can really impact not only the work quality, but how enjoyable the project is. Being comfortable and competent in a role, can greatly increase the degree of enjoyment by your and your teammates.

Be Flexible

Above all, be flexible with what is occurring day to day. This can be taken in any aspect of the project. Is somebody struggling to accomplish a task? Pitch in. Even if it may not be the task you are more comfortable with. Not everyone can make the meeting? Write meeting notes to provide or push the meeting back. If there is no flexibility in the project, it can cause things to crumble quick. As the common saying goes, “You may bend, but never break”.

Working with multiple teammates can get complicated to say the least. It is a system of give and take that requires a balance for sanity and grade’s sake. Being able to work together and work with each other is imperative to be successful. Without proper teamwork and planning the Black Knight’s words speak your group’s fate….

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Stop! WHAT is your name?

It is Arthur, King of the Britons!

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

It is Sal, IT Support Specialist of Michigan! And what is my quest? Well, to seek a Computer Science Degree!

This being my first blog post, a proper introduction is the perfect start. As previously stated, I am a full-time IT Support Specialist in Michigan and an OSU student. Technology has always been a strong interest of mine and it, as most can relate I am sure, began with a love of video games. From there the passion took off and I began taking the time to fix any tech problems that I, or my family, were having. This eventually lead (after getting a degree in Psychology, but that’s another story…) to being interested in coding.

It was a very difficult and an interesting shift in mindset going from my Psychology degree to Computer Science. Much like technology, the way people worked was intriguing to me and I found both of these schools to be two different sorts of puzzles. Now that I’m close to finishing both degrees, my main goal is to find an ideal career that will somehow fuse both of my degrees and passions.

That is what lead me to where I am at today; working in IT and starting to do work for the Cyber Security Team at my firm. While Cyber Security is very much tech based, I do hope, in some way shape or form, to utilize the Psychology of the every day user, hackers, etc. to expand my role and fulfill my career goals.

Thank you for reading and I hope you are able to better understand my mind set for this final step. I look forward to continue my quest in the next post and next time be sure to bring me…a shrubbery!

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