How to Get Stuff Done when you have Zero Motivation
June 16, 2020
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Does anyone else ever have days where you have zero motivation to speak of? Surely I’m not the only one who sometimes finds it hard to get stuff done? It’s as though my motivation sometimes disappears and I’m left doing things by sheer force of will.
When that is the case, every single distraction pushes me off track. Completing even the smallest of tasks feels like a feat equivalent to scaling Everest. That’s what happens when motivation starts to dwindle.
If you’re in that position too, it’s ok. We’ve all been there. I’ve got several productive things in my life that I truly enjoy doing – my day job, blogging, even practicing self care – there are time when I would rather binge Netflix.
Don’t get me wrong, there are other times when I work out, go to work, blog and practice self care like a boss. Times when everything I do is productive and I can accomplish so much in a day and other times when my biggest accomplishment is watching a whole season of Shadow Hunters.
That’s the tricky thing about motivation, it comes and goes. That’s where discipline becomes necessary. We all know that we have to do things even when we don’t feel like it.
To do lists are an amazing way to keep you focused and keep those productive tasks you need to do in the forefront of your mind. When things are tough, set small very specific goals. Don’t bite off more than you can chew and keep your tasks manageable considering how your feeling.
Personally, I have days where I work out, do everything I need to at work, cook supper from scratch and have a little self care evening with and manicure and face mask. Those days feel amazing, like there’s nothing I can’t do.
With that said, there are other days where getting out of bed, showering and making a pot of coffee feel like all I have the energy for.
What helps me most on those days is making a list of very specific things I need to accomplish during the day. The list will include things like “pay the power bill,” “wash the dishes” and “make my bed.” Generally it’s things I can do pretty easily and start crossing stuff off right away.
That’s the real magic of breaking things into smaller steps – you get success right away. With every item I cross off, I find myself more motivated to do the next one.
2| Make it Easy
Don’t make things harder or more complicated than they need to be. Plan your day to ensure maximum efficiency and set your self up for success. Do this when you’re motivated and you’ll have less chance of falling off track when you’re less motivated.
How can you expect to eat healthy if you fill your fridge with junk food every time you go shopping? But if you prep your food over the weekend and know exactly what you’re going to eat for the week, you’ll probably stick with your original plan. Even if it’s for no reason other than it’s easier to eat the food you had prepared than to make something else.
3| Know Why You’re Doing it
Being productive and staying motivated is hard. It’s hard to exercise every day, it’s hard to eat healthy, it’s hard to stay on task at work. We’re not going to do it with out a reason. Remembering why is a great way to rebuild that motivation and to focus the choices you’re faced with.
When you can choice between having a bowl of ice cream for lunch or a salad, it would be easy to chose the ice cream. It’s got less prep time, and tastes so yummy. But when we remember that swimsuit season will soon be upon us, or that we’re worried about our cholesterol or blood sugar – the choice suddenly becomes easier.
That’s not saying we can’t have the ice cream, just that we should remember the costs and benefits of it. Even if you have zero motivation, this should help you focus on what matters most to you.
4| Get off Social Media
It’s addictive AF. Who hasn’t fallen into the trap of endlessly scrolling through the apps on your phone. It’s an easy way to lose hours of your day. There’s nothing productive about it.
Furthermore, it can be toxic to your self confidence and overall mental health. Especially at times when you’re struggling, it’s easy to feel like you don’t measure up and you’re not good enough. Those feeling are not going to help your productivity or motivation whatsoever.
When you’re in the midst of a zero motivation day and having to do things you don’t really want to do, put your phone away for a couple hours and fight the urge to scroll until you’ve done what you need to do.
5| Just do it
You’re strong, you know what you need to do and why you need to do it. Stop waiting until you feel like it and just do it. You don’t need motivation to do the things you want to do and live the life you most want to live. Don’t get me wrong, motivation helps, but it comes from within.
Make a commitment, a promise to yourself. Get it done and over with. Think about how much time you spend thinking about the thing you have to do, how much time you spend wishing it was done. Wouldn’t it be quicker and easier to just do it?
Just get Started
I constantly fall into a rut where I don’t want to work out. I’ll be honest, I don’t really enjoy it and I would really like to never have to exercise again. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for me.
So here’s what I do. I put on my exercise clothes and mentally talk myself into just 5 minutes. Just a warm up, a few stretches… the funniest thing happens once I get started – I finish the video, every single time.
I’m dressed and already starting to sweat, why not get the most out of the ordeal?
It works the same way with other things too. You know that report you don’t really want to write at work? Just get the into done, write an outline. Chances are you’ll be on a roll and finished before you even realize what you’re doing.
Remember, motivation comes from within. But be gentle and kind to yourself if you’re just not feeling it, don’t be too hard on yourself. A bad day isn’t a sign of failure. You’ll be back on track in no time.
Motivation is tough and fleeting. No one has it 100% of the time. The key is to harness it when you do, and find ways to work around it when you don’t.
What are your go to tips for increasing motivation or being productive when you have zero motivation to speak of?
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