8 Productivity Tips for When You Don’t Feel Like It
You’ll find many productivity tips out there to help you get more out of your day. But many fail to address the one key aspect that’s holding back your progress in the first place. Lack of motivation.
In the following article, we’ll be discussing how this deficiency comes about. (And it will come about.) We’ll also be covering some steps you can take to kickstart motivation once the work-doldrums set in. Let’s get busy!
What Causes a Lack of Motivation?
A lack of motivation can be caused by dozens of specific occurrences and situations. We’ve been able to group everything into four categories. Before getting to the productivity tips, let’s look briefly at each one.
Personal Life Issues
Disturbances in your personal life are among the biggest productivity vampires out there. They can come about in ways from the mundane to the tragic. Some examples:
- Death of a family member
- Breakup of a relationship
- Getting a bad diagnosis from the doctor
- Nagging, undiagnosed health issues
- Fighting with your parents or significant other
- Cancellation of a favorite television show
You get the point. Let’s move on to number two.
Falling Behind in Other Responsibilities
Upper level high school students and pretty much all college students get overwhelmed by workload. It stands to reason when you’ve got six or seven classes with term papers, semester tests, required reading assignments, and nightly homework to deal with. When one deadline crowds out the next, it can get harder to be motivated because each time you start working you’re reminded of how much you haven’t accomplished.
A heavy workload, late bedtimes, and early mornings can all lead to physical exhaustion. That’s not going to help your ability to get things done. Unfortunately, you can’t control how much is demanded of your time as a full-time student. Throw a part-time job into the mix — as so many students now have — and it’s a wonder anything is accomplished.
Giving Into Temptation
Temptation comes in many forms. It happens when your friends want you to hang out instead of tackling that massive project your English teacher has assigned.
It happens when you know you should be studying but would rather watch a major sporting event. It happens when you allow yourself to be guilted away from your responsibilities by a significant other demanding your time and attention. All these factors lead to a chain reaction that can cause you to fall behind, thus grinding your productivity to a halt.
How to Beat It
Simply identifying the productivity hazards is a major step towards solving the problem once and for all. Once you can address the lack of motivation everything else falls into place. And these eight tips will ensure you’re able to do it.
1. Have a Good Reason to Do It
Part of what stops us from being productive is that we never identify a clear or worthwhile reason for why we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. Think deeply on this one. Don’t just answer, “Because I’ll get in trouble if I don’t.” Fear is not a good motivator.
However, purpose is. What purpose can be achieved by starting your task right now? Answering that question more often will be the nudge you need to get going.
2. Ask Yourself Why You Are Struggling
No one fails for “generic” reasons. Once you realize that, it’s possible to specifically diagnose your actual problem. That clarity can be the “a-ha” moment needed to get back on the right track.
So, refuse to accept the excuse, “I’m just not any good at that.” No one is “just not any good.” There’s a specific reason they can’t move forward. Determining what it is goes a long way in fixing the issue.
3. Time Sprints
When you’re really struggling, it’s a good idea to lower the bar for what you need to accomplish. Instead of thinking about the overarching task, just commit to working for 15 minutes straight before allowing yourself to stop.
Fifteen minutes generally isn’t hard to pull off. And it can be the nudge you need to push beyond whatever it is blocking your motivation. To do this correctly, don’t just ballpark it. Go through the formality of setting your timer and getting busy.
4. Find Fun in It
This might be difficult to do with the task itself. Don’t let that stop you. Scheduling frequent “mini” rewards in between work sessions will give you something you can eagerly anticipate.
Making it a task you really like to do — one game of Tetris, one chapter of reading from the latest bestselling book, watching a short (less-than-five-minutes) YouTube video or two — can make even the most boring of tasks bearable.
5. Stay Physically Active
A high-functioning mind usually requires a high-functioning body — or at least the highest achievable level of health for that particular individual. Your mind starts to stagnate if you sit for long periods of time and never test your physicality.
Try to do as much as you can, even if that means a short walk every hour. Ten thousand steps per day is a good number to shoot for, but it’s not set in stone. As long as you’re trying to do a little more than you did the day before, it’s easy to keep your will to work going strong.
6. Goals, Simple to Big
Big goals are hard to avoid. After all, you’re trying to do things like graduate high school, then college, then get a job, then buy a car, then start a life and save for retirement. But no large goal ever happened without first accomplishing several smaller ones.
So if you’re having trouble with motivation, it’s probably because you’re feeling overwhelmed. Solution: set smaller goals. Do things you know you can achieve. Then, ride that momentum to the bigger tasks.
7. Go Open-Source
Open-source software allows anyone access to make updates and improve upon existing work. Use a similar approach when you’re struggling with getting things done. Find some of your classmates, and see how much you can get done together. This could come in the form of work sessions or study groups. Two heads are better than one. And the more, the merrier!
8. Write It Out
The relationship between the brain, the hand, and a blank piece of paper is a strong one. The brain conceives an idea and sends it to the hand. The hand writes the idea out, allowing the brain to once again “see” the task and think of action steps that need to be taken to accomplish it. The paper then documents the task and allows you to read, re-read, and expand on it at your leisure. All this reinforcement brings with it clarity. And clarity helps you tackle difficult projects and assignments.
Follow These Productivity Tips to Success
It’s okay to struggle with your motivation. We all do. Having tactics for overcoming that struggle is your key to getting more done, even when you don’t feel like doing anything at all. What are some of the things you do to get motivated when you’re just not feeling it? Share your productivity tips in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Mudita-Music]