Motivation is one of those things that we all have to struggle with. For me, the inspiration and energy to get work done usually comes in spurts. There will be long stretches where I’m feeling very motivated, followed by ones that leave me wanting to do nothing at all. It’s a strange and frustrating cycle, especially since you can’t blow off your responsibilities simply because you don’t have the motivation to follow through with them. You have to find ways to accomplish things even when you don’t feel like doing them.
Today I thought I would talk about the strategies that I like to use to get myself going when I don’t have the energy or motivation. These are things that have worked for me in the past and made major differences in my productivity.
Go to a good work space
Whenever I feel as though I have absolutely no motivation, something that tends to make me productive is going to a quiet work space. I often find that it’s difficult to concentrate or motivate yourself when you’re trying to work in an environment that isn’t conducive for working. Places that are loud, crowded, or filled with endless distractions are pretty much impossible for me to work in, especially if I’m already feeling unmotivated. Even the slightest of distractions can make it difficult to work. For me, having a lack of motivation makes me hyperaware of everything around me. I hear every little noise, see every little possible distraction. Finding ways to avoid getting work done becomes a lot easier when I’m in a hectic environment. It’s amazing how the most pointless can captivate your attention when you’re not in the working mindset. Something as simple as the tick of a clock or the thrum of an air conditioner is amplified five times in your brain.
When I’m lacking motivation and energy, it’s really important for me to find a spot that I can effectively work in. I like to go somewhere small and quiet and preferably where I can be alone. It’s a lot harder to get distracted when there aren’t as many things there for you to get distracted by. If you put yourself in an environment where the only thing you have to do is work, you’re bound to get things done. The goal of this should be to make it hard for yourself not to work.
Budget your time
If you’re a goal-oriented, my-planner-is-my-life type of person like me, something else that’s really helpful is methodically budgeting your time. I like to make a general lists of goals for myself every single day, but on days when I’m struggling with motivation, I find it best to plan out my goals on a minute-by-minute schedule. I think that when I only allot myself a specific amount of time to get something done, it makes me overall more productive. Having a time constraint puts a little bit of pressure on me, which seems to remind my brain “hey, you actually need to get stuff done today.”
I write my schedule in my planner and then highlight the activities that I accomplish. It’s definitely the most effective way for me personally to get things done in a timely manner. After I jot down a schedule, I tend to stick with it. If you like making plans, this strategy will probably work for you as well. It’s a great motivator and gives you a healthy dose of pressure.
A lot of people have different approaches to how they tackle a day’s worth of work, but for me, I think it’s best to start small. Sometimes we need a little victory to spark our motivation. Even if it’s just getting a simple activity like cleaning your bathroom or organizing your purse out of the way, it’s a good way to begin your day on the right note. I love getting simple, tedious activities completed before I have to deal with the big ones. It makes me feel a lot more accomplished and it’s a good way to work your motivation up throughout day.
Another reason starting small is so great is because at least you’re getting something done. When I’m feeling unmotivated, I know it can be hard for me to get any kind of work done, especially long and strenuous work. There are some days when it feels like it’s impossible to get things done, so accomplishing even simple chores and tasks can be pretty monumental. If you start small, you’ll get through some of your to-do list. Even if it isn’t the challenging tasks, you’ll have fought off your lack of motivation long enough to accomplish something important.
Drink caffeine strategically
There are a lot of good motivators out there, but, truthfully, caffeine is the best one. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve coaxed myself out of bed using the thought of my morning cup of coffee. One thing that has really helped me motivate myself has been to immediately use the energy I get from coffee to get work done. Right after I finish a cup, I like to start up my day’s work. I find that it’s when I’m at my most productive. Of course, if you’re not a coffee drinker, try paying close attention to what time you work best at. A great strategy is to discover when you’re most motivated and tailor your work schedule to that time. Most of my blogging is done right after I’ve had that cup of morning coffee because it’s when I’m at my most energetic, but that might not be the case for everyone. Remember that you know yourself and you know your own work habits. Make the most of the times you’re feeling energized that way you won’t have as much pressure on yourself when you’re not feeling 100%.
All in all, it’s important to keep in mind that motivation works in constantly changing cycle. There will be days when you’re ready to take on one hundred different tasks and there will be days when you struggle to take on one. Finding the energy to push through those rough patches can be difficult, but it’s certainly worthwhile. But it’s also important to remember that you can’t always be at your very best.
How do you find motivation?