All of us, at some point, find it hard to be motivated, to get things done. For some of us, we have to work at it. Have you ever struggled to reach goals or meet deadlines? If you’ve ever fallen into a pit of inactivity, the first step to getting out of it is to identify how I got there in the first place.
1. ENERGY LEVELS
Sometimes we simply become unmotivated because we’re tired. Don’t expect to be able to concentrate after a high carbohydrate lunch or if you’re dehydrated. If you’re finding it difficult to concentrate, feel slumpy or sleepy have a big drink of water and see if it changes your energy levels.
2. ONE THING AT A TIME
The moment you start splitting your time and attention between activities, or projects, you start to lose focus. Don’t be fooled into thinking that multitasking makes you more productive, it’s a myth. In fact, research has shown that if you split your time between multiple tasks, it takes you 2 – 3 times longer to complete all those tasks than if you tackled them individually, one by one. Additionally, if you finish one task at a time, the positive sense of fulfillment and completion, motivates you into the next action.
3. FIND DIRECTION, FIND FOCUS
The starting part is easy, sticking with it can be tricky. So often we start a project but lose momentum. Excitement motivates us into starting the project, and we can be inspired when we’re close to the finishing line, but it’s the middle part that can be tricky. Typically, people will stall when they don’t have a clear path or know what is next. If you find yourself putting off a particular part of your activity, think about how you can break it down into small steps and schedule time to take on those small steps. Give yourself a deadline goal. Set yourself a reward for the end.
4. BE ACCOUNTABLE TO SOMEONE
It can be particularly hard to stay motivated when you’re working independently and on your own. A coach is a valuable way to not only stay focused but to have someone who keeps you accountable, who keeps you in check and reminds you of the promises you made to yourself. Mastermind groups where you can share ideas, brainstorm or share your goals, are also valuable. There’s nothing worse than coming back to a group of people and updating them on what you’ve been doing since you were last together.
5. MANAGE PROCRASTINATION
By definition, procrastination is choosing to do something more pleasurable over something that is less pleasurable. We do the things bring us joy or satisfaction and avoid the things that don’t. Find a way to tie into your task something that you are passionate about. Find a way to make the task fun and enjoyable. Spend time gaining clarity around what it is that you truly value, your core beliefs, your personality traits as these underpin our motivations and drive our procrastination.
6. FIND THE FREEDOM TO FAIL
We often live by the common adage “A job worth doing is worth doing well”. My mentor, Dr. John Hinwood would disagree. Dr Colin Thie challenged his belief around work ethic many years ago and it stuck with him. Dr Colin Thie says “A job worth doing, is worth doing lousy”. What does that mean, I hear you ask? If we wait until something is perfect, or we fear a lack of perfection, we won’t start or won’t continue. it is rare that first attempts are ever perfect, if this were true we would never have learnt to ride a bike. Instead of living by a job worth doing is worth doing well, live by “Practice makes perfect”. Each failure is an opportunity to learn. Don’t allow a lack of confidence to slow your motivation. Have the conviction to continue despite the setbacks. Allow yourself to feel comfortable to move outside of your comfort zone, when you do feel uncomfortable, recognize that this is you in a state of learning, a state of courage embarking on your next big growth phase. The best cure for fear is action.
- Pace yourself
- Track how long it takes to do things
- Drink water
- Find someone to be accountable to
- stop after the first mistake