Productivity and GTD
17 Tips to Stay Motivated
“Victory belongs to the most persevering” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
There are days or moments in some days in which, for whatever reason, we just don’t feel particularly motivated to face our tasks. Sometimes the problem is the work we need to do: we don’t enjoy it, it’s difficult or we just aren’t in the mood to do it. Sometimes it’s a personal matter. We aren’t always on the same mood.
Personally, summer is the time of the year in which I take longer to get to work. I have to acknowledge that my performance it’s not what you’d call optimum. The long days of summer, the high temperatures, the holiday atmosphere of the place I live (a little town on the coast that develops all its activity in summer season), the major sporting events (I love sports and this year is time for football) and the multiple interesting events of all kinds, all make me difficult to spend all day working in front of my computer.
If you are like me, here I show you a list of tips that might help you gain back that lost motivation, depending on the circumstances:
- Divide your work in tasks that are as small and as specific as possible. A very small task with a very clear description will let you visualize easily the end and it’s the best cure for procrastination. A very big and complex project can feel overwhelming. Dividing it in tiny tasks you get to see the path clearly and your resistance to face it lowers.
- If you have little energy or little enthusiasm, concentrate in quick and simple tasks. Close pending matters, even if they aren’t that important, it will give you energy and strength to tackle bigger objectives.
- If you feel overwhelmed because of the great number of tasks to carry out, just choose something and start with it. You’ll see the resistance to work disappears a few minutes after you start, once you’ve taken the first step. Fear disappears once you’ve faced it.
- Take your time. Sometimes we believe we are capable of doing a task in much less time than it really needs. When that time passes and we haven’t finished, we get frustrated and discouraged. Contingencies might show up, or it might be that you just aren’t at your hundred percent and you need to go slower. Don’t worry. Be more down-to-earth when it comes to planning and adapt if the situation changes.
- Give yourself frequent rewards. When you finish some task or you achieve a great progress in one of your projects, do what you want the most, something that relaxes you and doesn’t take any effort. Chill in a cafeteria, on the beach, go for a walk, read something interesting… look for you own incentives.
- If your options aren’t that attractive, try to see the situation from a greater height. There are some tasks that we just don’t feel like doing, but they are part of greater goals. Think about it, think where are you heading to and you’ll find enough motivation to do this less pleasant actions.
- Keep a log of what you do. Logging your work hours or the activity you are performing can motivate you to do things. Technology can make your life easier, but using tools you really like can even motivate you to work.
- Check your progress in each one of your projects. Try to draw some kind of graphic that let you evaluate how you’re doing things. In addition to finding very valuable information, graphics will motivate you to continue advancing in your goals.
- Visualize the goal once you’ve achieved it. Think that you have completed that task that you resist so much and the benefits that it gives you. Always keep the end in mind.
- Or on the contrary, think about what you’re losing if you don’t complete the work. There are studies that show that a lot of people work much harder not to lose 10€ than to gain 10€. What motivates you?
- For bigger objectives, look for support in online communities. Join groups that share the same interests. Go into their forums, read articles and comments, give your opinion. You’ll get constant motivation.
- Look for a partner in crime. It’s really difficult to motivate yourself. If you find an adventure buddy with whom to share some of your goals (your significant other, a friend, a work colleague…) you can support each other.
- When facing a great challenge, make it public. Talk about it with your family, friends. Post it on your social media, on your blog… Choose a deadline for the objective and make it public too. You’ll generate a commitment and an extraordinary motivation.
- Make it fun. Sometimes, a mundane task can become something interesting if you find a way of doing it differently. Listen to music while you’re working. Maybe changing your workspace for another one might give you that push you need. Unleash your creativity.
- Exercise. Physical exercise makes the body segregate endorphins, chemical substances that have the quality of producing a great feeling of wellness.
- Eat correctly and keep yourself hydrated. Many times, the lack of enthusiasm to do stuff is just a result of your organism missing some type of food. It happens to me sometimes with sugar and more often with caffeine. On hot days, it’s really important to drink a lot of water and really often to keep your activity regular.
- If all of the previous things fail, then you might be in a delicate moment. Take a bigger break, some free days and disconnect from everything. You need to relax and charge your batteries. Don’t think about what you’re not doing on that time. When you come back you’ll make up for the lost time.