As most entrepreneurs can attest, motivation ebbs and flows. Some days, you’re ready to hit the ground running while other days, all you want to do is hit the snooze button and do anything but work.
When this feeling hits, it’s really hard to get yourself into gear. But we’ve all been there – myself included – which is why I decided to create this list of things you can do to feel more motivated.
I’ve shared this something like this with you in the past and thought an updated list might be helpful – especially since many of you may be struggling with this during the pandemic when you’re stuck at home, surrounded by distractions.
All of these suggestions are super simple to implement and they can help you get more done each day even when you just want to stay in bed.
Let’s take a look…
Get to the root
Sometimes, a lack of motivation can be symptomatic of something else that’s going on. It can stem from a deep-seated fear or insecurity. Or, it can come from being over-extended.
Here are some of the most common reasons that can lead you to feeling unmotivated:
Avoiding discomfort – Often, we put off doing things that make us feel bad in some way. If a task is boring, we’ll likely find it difficult to feel motivated. Or, if we perceive a project to be difficult or time-consuming, our lack of motivation may come from wanting to avoid those uncomfortable feelings.
Feeling overwhelmed – If you have a lot going on in your life, you’ll likely feel overwhelmed and stressed. And these feelings can totally tank your motivation.
Experiencing self-doubt – We’ve all gone through this before. When we think we won’t be good at something or that we just flat out can’t do it, it can make us feel like we don’t even want to try.
Not feeling enthusiastic or committed – There are certain tasks we need to do that are a means to an end. We know we need to get them done but we just don’t feel excited about them. We also might not feel all that committed to a particular goal. We might feel obligated to complete a task, but our heart isn’t in it.
All of these feelings and experiences can contribute to a lack of motivation. So the next time you feel like you’d rather do anything but work on a particular task or project, see if you can identify your feelings’ underlying cause.
Getting to the root of the issue helps you better assess how to correct it. For example…
If we’re avoiding discomfort – We can find a way to make a task more fun or enjoyable. Or, we can break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces if we find it challenging or time-consuming.
If we’re feeling overwhelmed – We can look at our workload to see where we can trim some fat or come up with a schedule and become more organized about all of the things we need to get done.
If we’re experiencing self-doubt – We can become more mindful of the negative scripts running through our heads and actively combat feelings of self-doubt by replacing them with more positive, encouraging words of affirmation.
If we’re not feeling enthusiastic or committed – Again, we can find ways to make a task feel more entertaining. Or, we can focus on how good we’ll feel once we’ve completed the task or project and no longer have it on our plate.
Fake it ’til you make it
Sometimes, you might be able to “trick” yourself into feeling motivated. During the pandemic, many of us have found ourselves working from home more than usual. Accordingly, many people have opted to stay in their pajamas all day and work from their bed or couch, sometimes even in front of the TV.
And working under these conditions can really zap your motivation.
So, if you’ve been finding yourself in a similar situation, try changing your behavior/routine. Change out of your pajamas and put on actual clothes. You can still be comfortable. Just put something on other than what you slept in. And try to create a designated workspace for yourself.
You can also ask yourself questions like, “What would I be doing right now if I felt really motivated? What would I be wearing? Where would I be sitting?”
Then, try to create that situation as best as you can, and hopefully, real motivation will follow.
Check your perspective
If you’re feeling unmotivated, you probably have a number of negative voices in your head telling you things like, “It’s too hard. You’re not good enough. You can’t do it. It’ll take forever. You won’t be successful.”
It’s a lot easier to come up with a list of reasons NOT to do something that it is to find the motivation to follow through on projects and goals. But we actually have a lot more control over our feelings and thoughts than we think. And with a bit of effort, we can flip the script on the negative voices running through our heads.
Whenever you’re plagued by thoughts of self-doubt and failure, actively challenge those thoughts by arguing the opposite.
The next time your head says, “It’s too hard. You’re not good enough,” say, “It’s challenging, but I’m smart and capable, and I can do it.”
The next time your head says, “It’ll take forever. You won’t be successful,” replace those thoughts with “I will budget my time, and my hard work and perseverance will pay off. I will be a success and achieve my goals.”
Think about what you would say to a close friend if they were speaking negatively about themselves. What would you say to them to be encouraging and supportive?
We often can see other people’s value, talent, and worth more clearly than we can see our own. So try to talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend. Replace negative thoughts with positive things you know to be true about yourself. And actively do this on a regular basis.
The more you speak to yourself in a positive, encouraging way, the more your brain will automatically think these types of thoughts and the more motivated you’ll feel.
Practice the 15-minute rule
If you really can’t get motivated, try setting a timer for 15 minutes and committing to work for only that length of time.
If, after the timer goes off, you still feel unmotivated and would rather do literally anything else, you can stop.
But odds are, you’ll have gotten into a groove and will want to keep going, as getting started is often the hardest part. And even if you don’t want to continue (and some days you might not), you’ll still have gotten 15-minutes’ worth of work done – which obviously isn’t a lot, but it’s still better than nothing.
I know someone who works in 15-minute increments on a regular basis. She calls them her “work sprints.” Sometimes, committing to sit down and work for several hours straight seems too daunting. Plus, not everyone’s schedule affords them large chunks of free time like that.
Instead, you can find 15 minutes here and there and commit to blasting through 4-8 (or however many) work sprints a day. The sprints don’t have to be back-to-back, just whenever you have 15 minutes to spare – for example, after putting dinner in the oven and you’re waiting for it to cook or while you’re waiting to switch your clothes from the washing machine to the dryer.
If you want to get the biggest bang for your buck out of your work sprints, you can break down bigger tasks you’re working on into 15-minute increments. That way, you have a plan. And you’re actually building towards something.
It’s fine if you’re feeling really unmotivated and need to do a work sprint just to get something done. But you can also be more intentional about it and treat your work sprints as stepping stones toward bigger goals.
Make it fun
Work and chores don’t have to be a complete drag. There are ways of making mundane or challenging activities more enjoyable.
For example, you can play music while you work or take mini dance breaks in between tasks to get your blood flowing and raise your energy level. Or, you can light scented candles to enhance the vibe in your workspace. You can watch your favorite TV show on your phone while you fold laundry or do dishes or you could chat with a friend.
You obviously don’t want to completely distract yourself from the task at hand. But as long as you can still be productive while you’re enjoying yourself, go for it!
(Note: I’m not usually an advocate for multi-tasking, as it’s actually not an effective way to work. But in this case, when your motivation is low, it can be helpful to infuse a little fun into what you’re working on.)
Give yourself a reward
If you do find the previous suggestions to be too distracting, you can operate with a reward-based system instead. This way, rather than trying to mix fun with productivity, you save the “fun” for after you’ve been productive.
For example, you set a goal, such as creating 10 new designs for your LHS Amazon store. Next, you decide what you will give or do for yourself once you’ve completed that goal. Maybe you reward yourself with an ice cream sundae or 15 minutes of YouTube videos – whatever feels motivating to you. Then, once you’ve completed the task, you give yourself the reward.
You probably don’t want to operate like this all the time. But it can be a good way to get the ball rolling.
Commit publicly to your goals
If you tell your friends and family about your projects and goals, you are more likely to follow through. They may ask how things are going. And you don’t want to have to tell them you haven’t made any progress. You want to honestly report that things are going great and you’ve been getting a lot done.
You can even tell your friends and family to regularly check in with you about your progress to hold you accountable.
It can be really difficult to self-motivate sometimes. But when you involve other people, there’s more at stake so you’re less likely to succumb to a lack of motivation.
This goes back to feeling overwhelmed and over-extended. If you’re feeling like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew and that’s why your motivation is lacking, try breaking down your goals or tasks into more bite-sized pieces.
Find 1-3 things you can accomplish in a day, even if they’re super small. You just want to make some progress. Moving forward doesn’t have to happen in leaps and bounds. It can happen in tiny, consistent steps.
So if you’re feeling particularly unmotivated, pick a few quick and easy items from your to-do list, such as responding to an email or making a social media post, and knock those items off. Again, that little bit of forward-moving momentum might be exactly what you need to take a bigger stride.
What do you think of this list of suggestions for how to feel more motivated? What do you do when your motivation is waning? Leave a comment below and let me know! And if you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with your friends and followers.