My alarm rang the other day around 6:30 am, and I lumbered out of bed, sleep still stuck in my eyes. There are a hundred different tasks which need completing, but I don’t feel particularly motivated, and don’t quite know where to start. Has this ever been you?
Motivation can be a game changer or game killer. For example, if I’m motivated to write – a new blog, an article, a poem, whatever it be – if the motivation exists, the task seems relatively easy. The words seem to fall into place, and ideas flow steadily.
But when I’m not particularly motivated, just starting a task can be the hardest part. Most of us have been there – What do I write about? What task should I start? What should I be focused on?
As professionals we’ve all heard and read about the importance of focus, planning, and execution, but alas, it still isn’t always easy. I realize quite a few go-getters exist out there who have no trouble motivating themselves, and I’m jealous.
As someone who has had ‘experience’ with motivation issues since my teen years, there are some activities and habits that help me, and perhaps can help you too if you’re having an off-day.
1) Eat a healthy, filling breakfast
There’s nothing like sitting down at the desk to get some work done when BAM – you’re hungry again. You’ve already had some breakfast, or maybe just a pastry with your coffee at Starbucks. Whatever the case, eating a well-balanced breakfast will help in multiple ways.
A nutritionally complete breakfast gives your brain energy to think. I know we have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet millions of professionals in North America skimp on breakfast nearly every day of the week.
Fresh fruits, whole grains, yogurt, and sources of protein like eggs or milk are some of the best choices. For busy people on the go, a fruit and yogurt smoothie or whey protein shake can do wonders!
2) Get rid of distractions
Translation: focus. If you’re trying to work at the computer, don’t login to your Facebook or Twitter account. Try not to get distracted by socializing with friends, reading the latest celebrity news, or checking out new deals on Amazon.
Or, if you’re like me, certain types of distraction might be beneficial. I like to listen to music when I write, because it drowns out all the outside noise and lets me focus on the sole purpose of writing.
3) Start and finish a simple task
Completing a relatively simple task can help get you on the right track. We all feel somewhat accomplished when we, well, accomplish something. Feeling like you are making progress can provide a boost of energy and motivation, and help steer your day in the right direction.
It could be as simple as sending off a few well-written emails, posting some professional updates, or even just getting involved in a conversation through a web forum. Do something positive, and try to build on it.
4) Remind yourself to stay motivated
Sounds kind of dumb, but it does work. Everyone reading this article has almost certainly heard this information before, at some point or another. Yet the important thing is to stay vigilant, and to remind yourself to stay proactive.
Every now and then I print a full-page document and tape it right next to my computer screen. It simply says “GET BACK TO WORK” or “CONCENTRATE ON THE TASK AT HAND”. When I start looking around, it catches my attention and helps me retain focus.
How do you keep yourself motivated? What are some of your favorite productive habits?
Photo: Matthew Barcomb