“Why am I doing all of this again?” I ask myself as I gaze down at my planner, chocked full of errands, to-do lists, and self-imposed deadlines that I’ve got just about no time to meet. As I continue to think about all the things the day has in-store for me, a new feeling begins to settle in the pit of my stomach. It isn’t energy or determination; it’s unmovable, stone-cold apathy.
This is a scene I’ve come to know all too well in the recent months. My schedule has grown denser and my free time has been cut shorter. And while I’ve been okay with these new challenges and obligations (for the most part), I’ve also had some days when keeping up with them has felt like, well, a lot. Especially on those days when the last thing I want to do is be productive.
You know what I’m talking about, right? Surely I’m not the only one who has days when inspiration seems to just vanish. They’re pretty rough days confidence-wise. And worst of all, they make menial, everyday tasks virtually impossible.
So, today I’m sharing some tips for staying motivated even when you’re not feeling it.
HOW TO STAY PRODUCTIVE WHEN ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS SLEEP
Firstly and most importantly, reward yourself. A LOT.
I feel like it goes against our instincts to reward ourselves on super unproductive days. I don’t know about you, but when I think about treating myself to something, I usually imagine doing it after I’ve finished up a big project or gotten through a difficult situation.
However, despite challenging my immediate instincts, I know it’s important to reward myself even on days when I’m not feeling my most energized. In fact, one could probably argue that self-reward is even more important on days like these.
Taking care of yourself should always be one of your biggest priorities, and a lack of motivation often means you’ve been slacking in that area. With that being said, it’s critical to offer yourself little rewards every now and then.
A perfect example of this was something I did just the other day. It was early in the morning, and, despite the mountain of work I had planned to get done, I wasn’t feeling motivated to do anything. Rather than become frustrated with myself, I focused on powering through a few of my to-dos. Then, I dropped everything and took a quick Starbucks break. It was a simple reward, though it made the rest of the day go by a lot smoother. It really showed me the power of a small incentive.
Next, focus on breaking big tasks down.
This is super important if you’re feeling like you’re over your head on something, and it’s a strategy that has helped me astonishingly during stressful, uninspired times.
One thing I’ve come to know about myself is that stress and motivation gaps hit me at right about the same time. In fact, there’s a bit of cycle that I go through. I find myself in a position where I’ve got a lot of work to do, become stressed out, and lose all of my motivation.
After doing this time AND time AND time again, I’ve learned that big, overwhelming tasks always seem much more daunting when you first look at them. It’s after you begin breaking them down that they become a whole lot less impossible. And when things become less impossible, I’m less likely to lose my energy.
So, I break things down, which, given my well-documented love for planners, isn’t difficult to do. I love having things organized, and this is a great way for me to take that ridiculously large project I’ve got to get done and boil it down into small, manageable pieces.
Lastly, we’re going to focus on finding inspiration (which I realize seems incomprehensible on these days but still).
Inspiration seems like it should be tricky to find, though it doesn’t always have to be.
Sometimes, I think we inadvertently trick ourselves into thinking we’re less motivated than we actually are.
We don’t always have to be at zero or a hundred.
Sometimes, we can exist somewhere in the middle.
Instead of looking for the most creative, well though-out idea, just look for an idea. A single idea. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just something to get you started.
Because the fact of the matter is, not every idea we have is going to be the best idea ever. Occasionally, we’ll have to work with mediocre ideas in order to get our creative energy going.
I know that sounds kind of sad, but it really isn’t. Best ideas are best ideas for a reason; they don’t happen all the time. It’s okay to do something average while you wait for your next big strike of inspiration to hit you.
Anyway, that’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed reading, especially if you’re going through a situation like this at the moment. Hang in there. It’ll work itself out.
Thank you for reading and have a lovely rest of your day!
How do you manage to be productive even when you don’t want to?