It is draining to do things poorly and energizing to do things well.
When I found myself dragging my feet on starting the next exam, I’d take a short change-of-scenery break, maybe just going into the kitchen for a glass of water. And then I’d conjure up the face of the student whose exam I was about to read. ”Oh, hello, Ben! What have you got for me?” I’d say. And I’d open the exam to the essay section. Just telling myself that I was going to do it well and be energized by it seemed to go a long way. And it helped to recognize that opening an exam grudgingly, wishing I didn’t have to grade it, would be draining and so I wasn’t going to do it that way.
There was a certain amount of fake-it-’til-you-make-it involved, of course–I mean, I had 58 students and 41 of them wrote two essays, so that was 99 essays, and I wasn’t genuinely thrilled to be reading every single one–but faking it does, in fact, often lead to making it.
And I made it.
On to second semester!