They say you should write about what you don’t know or what you are trying to learn because that is one of the best ways to make yourself better.
This is the main reason why I picked the topic of motivation for this blog post, which was also inspired by my re-reading of The Motivation Manifesto, which is one of my favorite books and one that I recommend everyone should read.
There are some weeks where I’m super productive; where I get everything done and then some and I’m often left at a loss for words at to how I did it all. I also feel an absence of the to-dos in my chest, where my stress often lives. If I don’t have anything to do, am I missing something? It’s hard for me to figure out where life begins and work ends, and ironically being super motivated and productive can make that difficult.
Luckily though, for the weeks I am motivated, I’ve realized some tricks that have helped me get motivated when I just didn’t want to be. I’m hoping that the next time I am feeling at a loss for getting anything done, I can look back at this blog post and give myself a swift kick in the rear to get things done.
This is one of my favorite tricks because it works in a myriad of ways. If I am dragging my feet on a chore, I will set a timer and see how long it actually takes me to get it done. Did you know that emptying and filling the dishwasher only takes about 7 minutes?! I was amazed at this the first time I did it.
If you find yourself avoiding specific tasks, try setting a timer to see how long it actually takes to get done. Once you surprise yourself, you may find it easier to get started on it the next time it comes around.
Timing yourself also sets a sense of urgency. For instance, yesterday I had 2 more things to do on my mega to-do list before I was done for the day. It was about 2:30 in the afternoon. I told myself that if I could get both things done in the next hour, I could go home early. That motivation to be able to leave the office early and not feel bad about it because I had gotten all my work done was exactly what I needed. I was able to finish both tasks with about 7 minutes to spare.
Had I not timed myself, I probably would have taken twice the amount of time.
Write Down To-Dos
If you’re reading blog posts like this, then this is probably advice you’ve heard before. But I’m telling you, writing down everything you have to do freaking works. However, I’ve found that having 2 separate to-do lists is a lot more effective at actually getting things done than just one.
I have a master to-do list of everything in my life that I need to do on Todoist. Some are recurring tasks that I do weekly or monthly, and other items are set 6-8 months ahead of time. Everything is all there and I don’t have to worry about missing something once it is marked in my Todoist app.
Then, every Sunday, I look at my calendar and my Todoist and I write down my appointments each day for the next week (I’m still using my Erin Condren planner) and then next to it, I write down the top three things that I need to do each day. There may be more things that I need to do than those three things, but I force myself to prioritize and narrow it down to just three things. Oftentimes, as Brian Tracy points out in several of his amazing productivity books, the top three things you have to do every day are usually what have the most impact on your job or life and what helps you move the needle forward.
If you are struggling to find time for actual work or fun projects, try calendar blocking. A lot of people explain this much better than I can, but it effectively entails blocking all your available time on your calendar. So if you have to write a blog post every day, you block off specific times on your calendar every day to write, as if it is a standing appointment that you have with a client or colleague.
For me, this is a little overwhelming and if I get behind on something or it takes longer than I thought it would. But it works wonders for others. So try it out if you think it would work for you.
Consider a Career Change
If you are struggling every day to get motivated, and you generally feel blah with life in general, I would recommend a career change. We all have our times of struggle when it comes to getting motivated, no matter our career or lifestyle. However, if it’s a constant problem for you and you just don’t feel happy or at peace, it may be time to make a shift. Knowing that you are living the right life means not feeling resistance to doing the work. If you are constantly battling yourself to get things done, ask yourself two questions:
- If money wasn’t an issue, what would I do with my life?
- What puts me into flow (the state where you are concentrating on something for hours and you forget what time it is because you are so enraptured in what you are doing)?
Sometimes the answers to those two questions are the same thing. If they are, it’s what you should be doing with your life. Think about the answers you gave and how you can turn it into a career. If Instagram models and lifestyle bloggers can make six-figures with their photos and blog posts, you can certainly take what interests you and turn it into a career. Use those wise six-figure babes as motivation to make a positive shift in your life. The less resistance you feel overall, the more likely you’ll find getting motivated much easier.