How to get things done when you’re not motivated enough

Do you ever wake up on some days and think, “Okay, today’s gonna be the day I am extra productive” and like, you feel productive and, wow oh wow, you just want to get everything done but then you start on something and… suddenly… the motivation fizzes away?
You end up feeling worse than ever because the slump really decided to close in on you today.

I get those days a lot. In fact, nearly every day. Through trial and error I have slowly learned how to overcome these days of not wanting to do anything or just… physically not being able to.
Here are some tried and true tips to waking yourself up and giving your mind the little nudge it needs.

•  Splash some water on your face. Preferably cold, cold water. Count down from five so you can build yourself up to the moment and then just throw it on your face, the more sting the better (okay, don’t hurt yourself here).

•  Go down to the kitchen and fill up a tall glass of ice-cold water. If you don’t have ice then put the cup in the freezer for a couple of minutes and wait until it gets really really cold. Now that you’re ready, down the whole thing. You’ll not only feel extra rejuvenated but your body will thank you for the refreshment.

•  Have you eaten anything today at all? If you haven’t, make sure to grab an apple or a handful of almonds or something. If you have a pure dark chocolate bar or dark chocolate chips, you can chew on some while you work. No sweets, no chips, and no junk food!! Unless they are the healthy kind, they’ll only make you hungrier and you WILL feel compelled to have a lie-down afterwards.

•  Stand at the entrance of your room. Turn your head and look around into every corner. Now analyze it, is there anything you’d like to move around (away from the window, for example) that will make the room brighter? Is there a small mountain of clothes sitting on the foot of your bed or the chair at your desk? Do you have books, notebooks, and paper scattered throughout? Okay, now clean up. Section by section begin putting stuff away or rearranging if you wanted something different. Feel a little bit better? Good. You weren’t supposed to. This was to clear your head and get you up and moving.

•  Now go grab yourself a calendar or a daily planner (a bullet journal works well too) – you can even print out one month at a time from Google or online for free. Situate yourself. What day is it? How many more are left until the end of this week, this month? Make goals. I want to read this many books, exercise this many times, and go outside to take a walk this many days a week/month. Move things around so that you’ll be more motivated to do them. Do you work better in the mornings and get groggy around three o’clock? Make sure you set an alarm to wake you up earlier so that you can finish that blog post, chapter, essay, homework, or photo-shoot at the time you know you work more efficiently. Remember to be careful with long-term goals though, you never know if something pops up or any last-minute plans are made. You don’t want to feel pressured or stressed because you didn’t get to complete your goals. That’s completely besides the point of motivation.

•  Prioritize. I know, I know, procrastination can hit hard. And fiercely. Trust me, I understand this. Also trust me that you can punch procrastination right back into where it came from, ages away from you. If you were to look back on your life, would you agree with the way you did things? I understand that some lessons involve experience and take time to learn, but most are better learned by avoiding. Such is procrastination. Its honestly such an ugly thing to do, not only does it mess you up but the stress that comes with it is absolutely horrible. You can do better than that. Instead of leaving off your weekly post or project that’s due in a month, work up to it slowly. Put those important things at the top of your list and tell yourself you can do it. Nudge yourself. Promise yourself a treat, a gift. Focus on what is important first and all else will fall in place. 

•  Now, go and get yourself excited about doing whatever it is you’re trying to do. Inspire yourself to keep going. You want to finish your schoolwork but Netflix has got you? Remember all the people who’ve graduated before you, all those who finished high school with good grades and high GPA’s. Trick yourself into studying. The books being published right now didn’t come from one day of sitting down and writing!! It came after days and days of practice, deleting, and changing stuff up to become the perfectly rounded out story it is today. They worked hard for what they got, which in this case means you can too.

•  Find a support buddy. Somebody who will check in on you – accountability partner!! – on the daily/weekly/monthly and ask about the work or exercising you said you would get finished. I used to get on video chat with my cousin and work out with her, both of us in different states but calling out the same moves. This was successful for a long, long time. Doing stuff with other people is not only fun but it challenges you into doing something for longer and far better than you could have done alone. Chances are if you told somebody you were gonna get something done, you’ll at least have started it. 

•  Turn up the volume on your pumping playlist (preferably without words), close your eyes for a minute, and let it boost you up. I personally prefer instrumental music for this so that I won’t get distracted. Music while working will bring your creativity levels to an all time high. Seriously, try it yourself.

•  Get yourself in the mood. Prepare your area and clear your work zone. Even if all you want to get done is piano practice or sewing together the first pieces you found in that vintage pattern, you have to get yourself in the mood for it. If looking at online pictures of a finished product or a final draft will get you motivated enough, then do it. You should prepare your mind for what is to come. Sort of like how before a game started my soccer team would jog around and through the whole field, scanning and situating ourselves with the playing area while we stopped and did some stretches in between. We were slowly getting our bodies into game mood, even if we got there not feeling it we would come out of stretches wanting to be the first on the field.

•  Set a realistic time frame. You do NOT want to be working at midnight, especially when you could easily find the time during the day. If it seems like you can’t do that, then do me a favor and at least give yourself six hours of sleep tonight. I know sometimes it just isn’t possible to finish stuff when your mind is too scattered but try not to break your body. At least allow yourself that much.

Sometimes it might seem pointless to try to get something done because everything seems bland and thinking about it hurts. Motivation is key to survival. 
Think about it, would you rather be the person on the sidelines losing your will to compete or the one up front-and-center giving it all you’ve got? Even if you lose, even if you don’t come out with what you expected or wanted, at least you got up and tried. Especially when trying sounds like a death note at this point.
So I say go at it. 
Because if I can do it, I know you can.

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