Staying motivated after a long summer is super important. Part of that definitely comes from having still been productive over the summer and not falling behind on learning. Even if you did take the summer off, though, don’t sweat it! It’s not the end of the world having to get back into the swing of things, it just takes a few days and tactics in order to get back on your feet.
One of the things that I feel helps keep me the most motivated is simply surrounding myself with other friends who also need to get a lot of work done. When I surround myself with friends who are in the habit of being productive, it only feels more natural for me to be working too.
One of my biggest habits is getting out of my house and out of my room or dorm when I want to be productive. I tend to go home when I want to socialize and relax, and if I try to work at home I find that all I really end up doing is making less-focused, lower-quality work. Even without my roommates or friends over, just simple things - like my bed or television - really keep me in a lazy state, so I really have to remove myself from those two objects in order to stay focused. If you’re in your room working with a bed right next to you, it’s going to be super tempting to grab your laptop and try and work on your bed. I’m guilty of that myself, and if you really need to get your work done and focus on an assignment you don’t want to fall into that trap.
One of the other things that really helps my work ethic is taking breaks. If I am grinding down on my work all day every day, I am going to burn out and it’s going to be a bad time. One way I help counteract this is by simply keeping a schedule for everything. All my work times and meeting times go into my calendar, but I also have a scheduled time for relaxation and just winding down. It helps and you really need it to get focused for another day of work.
One other thing that’s more a personal opinion than anything else is working at coffee shops. I like to work in coffee shops and places that I feel comfortable in, but also an environment where I can get in the zone and focus in on my work. Java's at RIT is my favorite go-to coffee place where the chairs are upright (but still super comfortable) and tables in the front for me to work on my laptop. The amount of people who are working in there or reading also helps me hone in on my own work.