Do you ever get that feeling where you know there’s sooo much work to be done and more keeps piling up, but you just can’t seem to muster the energy to get it done?
Trust me, we’ve all been there. Whether you’re working a gig to pay the bills or your dream job, you can get hit with a feeling of laziness and a lack of motivation at any time. There are just so many other things you’d rather be doing instead, right?
If you’re feeling unmotivated try to do at least one of these ten tips to get yourself out of the rut.
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1. Make a To-Do List
I know, this one’s a no-brainer, but first things, first – you’ve got to make an inventory of your outstanding tasks. Make a list of everything you’ve been putting off. I know, it’s probably a daunting, ugly list of things, but that’s okay. Once you have your list group each task by it’s due date. What are things you need to have done next week, versus things you need to have done yesterday?
Now, in each of those groupings, arrange your tasks by how much time it will take. You don’t need to have the exact times listed; estimates are just fine. For instance, editing a 1000-word blog post may take around an hour, while washing the dishes may take 15-20 minutes. With the estimated times for each task you’ll be able to plan your day more effectively and set achievable goals.
2. Make a Fun List
Now that you had a dreadfully long list of tasks waiting for you, make a list of things you enjoy doing. This list can include absolutely anything from drinking a glass of wine in the bathtub to catching up with an old friend. Whenever you feel lazy or unmotivated turn to this list and complete one task. Studies have found that doing something that makes you happy can increase your productivity by 12%. Doing something from this list will help you feel energized and motivated to tackle your to-do list.
3. Start Small
Small wins are so important to building your confidence and motivation. It can be so demoralizing when you feel like you’ve been working hard towards a goal, but you have no results to show for it. That’s why one of the best things you can do when you feel unmotivated is to start small. Choose a task that is easy to accomplish and will have noticeable results.
I like to choose cleaning up around the house as my small win task when I feel like I can’t do anything. I put on some good music and get to work tidying and sweeping. Cleaning up gives me a double benefit. Firstly, I see the instant results of a clean space, which energizes me to do more. Secondly, having a clean space makes me feel more organized so I can do my blog work. Completing small, basic tasks can help you feel motivated to take on the bigger ones.
4. Get Rid of Distractions
Did you know it takes approximately 25 minutes to focus? Now, think of all the times you stop to check your phone in a day. Each time you get distracted on your phone, you not only waste time by being on your phone, but you also waste another 25 minutes getting back in the groove. That’s so much wasted time that you could use to do something else!
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5. Figure Out Your Best Time
Everyone is different and this is especially true for the times we feel most awake. Some of us are early birds who can run a marathon, finish writing three blog posts, and make a healthy breakfast all before 10am, but start yawning by 6pm. While some of us aren’t truly awake until at least 11am. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an early bird or night owl, as long as you know how to make the most of your time.
Ideally, it’s great to try to get everything done during your best time. However, sometimes you may have a lot to do. If that’s the case, try to schedule your more challenging tasks during your best time and the smaller, easier to manage tasks during your off time. This way you can still get a lot accomplished without feeling drained.
6. Mindset Matters
Let’s be real for a moment here. There are some tasks on your list that you will hate doing no matter what. For me, that task is washing dishes. There is nothing in this world that can motivate me to clean them. However, when I think about doing the dishes in a more positive way, it helps me. Instead of thinking “ugh I have a weeks-worth of dishes to clean,” I think to myself “I am grateful to have a kitchen to wash my dishes and food to eat on these plates.”
I know this probably doesn’t sound like much, but practicing gratitude is one of the best things you can do when you feel unmotivated. A study found that practicing gratitude encouraged people to achieve their goals by motivating them. Counting your blessings can be a great way to practice gratitude and create change in your life. One of the simplest ways I practice gratitude is with a journal. Before bed, each night, I jot down five things that I am grateful for. This small task rewires my brain to focus on all the positives in my life and motivates me for the better.
7. Watch your self-talk
When we feel unmotivated or unproductive, a lot of us tend to beat ourselves up about it. Sometimes, just taking a step back and listening to the narrative of the voice in our head can be eye-opening. Notice the language you use when talking about yourself in your head. Do you say things like “I just can’t get my shit together” or “I have no motivation”? The language we use about ourselves forms our own identity. Do you want your identity to be a lazy person? Probably not. Try to move away from language that doesn’t serve you, by switching up your narrative.
One of my favourite ways to change our inner narrative is by using Carol Dweck’s power of yet tactic. In her book, Mindset – The New Psychology of Success, Dweck discusses how you can transform your mindset through your inner narrative. When you catch your inner voice saying something negative about yourself, simply add “yet” at the end. For example, “I just can’t get my shit together, yet” or “I have no motivation, yet.” By adding “yet” to the end of each statement, you open yourself to the possibility of change.
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Visualization or mental imagery is used by athletes, actors, and others to mentally prepare for success. Visualizing your goals and how you’ll feel when you achieve them can make you more confident. When you visualize your goal and feel them deeply, you can trick your brain into thinking that your visualization is a past memory. By doing so, you will feel more confident while completing the task, because your brain will think it’s something you’ve done before.
Whenever you catch yourself feeling unmotivated, remember your goals and begin creating a mental image of your success. Think about the feeling of achieving your goal, the time and place you’ll do it, as well as, who is with you when you do it. Try to create a highly realistic visualization, so that your brain will think it’s a memory.
Sometimes when you feel like an absolute sloth, the best solution is to get up and move. Whether you simply get up and stretch or go to the gym for a full cardio workout, moving around can give you the energy to work through your day.
10. Take a Break
It’s important to treat each day like a marathon, and not like a sprint. You don’t need to rush through your entire to do list right away. Instead take your time to get tasks done and schedule breaks as needed. Most importantly, don’t feel guilty for taking breaks. Taking a break may seem like one of the last things to do when you feel unmotivated, but it may just be exactly what you need. Remember, taking time for yourself is part of the process and it will help you be your best!
Those are my top ten things to do when you feel unmotivated. Do you have any tips to get through a rut? I’d love to hear them!