Whether you work from home, in an office, or you just can’t manage to spend your weekend productively, finding out how to motivate yourself and then keep yourself motivated is one of the most important things you can learn. But how can you motivate yourself when you’re a lazy ass like I am? I’ve made a list of some things I try to implement in my day-to-day, and that you can too, that will help keep you in that ‘determined-to-get-shit-done’ mindset.
18 Ways to Motivate Yourself
1. Get your ass out of your bed.
Simple as that. Unwind at night by cutting off your phone/computer time, maybe read a book and get to bed at a decent time. It’ll make getting up in the morning so much easier. Disable the snooze function on your phone, or put your phone on the other side of the room to force you to get out of bed to turn off your alarm. Actually getting up the first time around will set the tone for your productivity for the rest of the day.
2. Wash, get dressed and have breakfast before you even look at your phone.
Don’t bother ‘checking emails’ or hitting up your social media. When you first get up in the morning, prepare yourself for the day ahead. A refreshing shower and fresh clothes will instantly make you feel more motivated and set the right foundations for the day ahead. Motivate yourself further with a good, healthy breakfast; Plan something healthy and full that can fuel your body until lunch time. Remember, it’s the most important meal of the day!
3. Set achievable goals throughout the day…
This speaks for itself. Every evening make a note (or at least, a mental note) of your plans and goals for the next day. Make sure they are goals which you can actually do in a day and that you’re not setting too many ‘big’ goals for one day. If you have a few big goals, space them out over a few days or the month. Use being able to check goals off your list as a way to motivate yourself to start on the next task.
4. …Then reward yourself when you reach them.
You did it! Whether it’s something big or small, reward yourself when you complete it. That can be anything from having a coffee break at an unscheduled time to just a metaphorical pat on the back. Make sure you don’t over-reward yourself – don’t reward yourself with an episode of your favourite show because you managed to motivate yourself to take the bin out, then end up binging on tv for the rest of the day. Keep the reward proportional to the goal, and use big rewards to motivate yourself toward achieving long-term goals.
5. Break your bigger goals into smaller goals.
Bigger goals are things you are working toward in the long run. They could be saving for a holiday or a new luxury item or releasing an ebook on a topic you’re passionate about. Once you have your goal in mind, break it down into the smaller goals you need to meet before you get there. For example, writing 500 words every evening, or finding 5 items a week in your house to sell on eBay. Once you start making progress toward your bigger goals, the small goals will be motivation enough.
6. Compromise with yourself.
So you didn’t manage to get everything done in a day, you overscheduled yourself. Let things roll into the next day if you have to. Review and analyse your day and see why you didn’t meet goals. Did you not try hard enough? Did something come up that wasn’t within your control? Make a deal with yourself to set things right, then continue. You can’t dwell on things.
7. Start small.
At the start of your day, eliminate all of the small tasks you have planned for that day. Anything that takes less than 10 minutes to do should be a priority. Checking off small task after small task at the start of the day really sets a motivating tone for the rest of the day by building a flow and an ‘I can do this’ mindset. If you start the day with a mammoth task that takes forever, you’ll demotivate yourself and knock your own confidence
8. Push past your comfort zone.
Force yourself to do the things you really don’t want to do. Write down all the reasons you’ve been avoiding something and break them down into the steps you need to take to overcome whatever is holding you back, then push on. As Nike say, Just Do It.
9. Research everything you need, then make a plan.
If what you need to do is something that you’ve been avoiding because you’re new to it or don’t know where to start, take some time to research what you need to do to actually get started. Maybe you want to set up a blog or start a new DIY project, but you haven’t yet because you just don’t know how. Use the resources at your disposal and create a plan of action to get yourself to a place where you’re confident enough to start. Try Pinterest for inspiration and how-tos.
10. Cut out the distractions.
If you have something you need to do, turn off Twitter, turn off Netflix, sit your ass down and do it. Don’t let yourself be distracted, and learn some self-control. Make a deal with yourself, set a goal and eliminate anything from your line of sight that will distract you from making that target. Being strict with yourself is the only way to get things done.
11. Multitask, like a lazy person.
Figure out two things that can be done simultaneously, and do them at one time. Schedule your Pinterest while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, or edit all of your photographs for the month in one sitting. Plan things in advance and see where you can skip corners. If you can manage to check two things off the list in the time it should have taken to do one thing, you’ll feel massively motivated for your next hurdle.
12. Learn the Two-Minute Rule.
The Two-Minute Rule is simple. If something will take two minutes or less, do it right now. If you just do all of your two-minute tasks as they crop up, you won’t end up with a pile of 20 little things (that’s 40 minutes!) to do in one go. Get it? Good. Examples of two-minute tasks: Wash your spoon after you make tea instead of leaving it to the side to be washed later, or hang your coat and bag up as soon as you get into your house instead of leaving them lying around.
13. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
Stop comparing yourself to other people, and stop caring what other people think of you. You are you, and the only person you should be competing with is yourself. Just because someone else is hypermotivated and successful doesn’t mean you can’t have that, too. But you need to stop focussing on what other people are doing and thinking; Learn to love yourself and get on with progressing your own agenda. Otherwise, you’ll never move forward.
14. Compete with yourself.
That being said, you should always be improving. Your goals should include self-improvement, and even when you’ve done something well and successfully, you should be analysing your results and seeing in what ways you can better yourself next time around.
15. Have someone else hold you accountable.
Tell someone else what you’re planning to do. A partner, close friend or family member is ideal because they’re the types of people who will check up on you. “Have you finished that ebook yet?”, “How’s the decluttering going?” – Knowing someone else is checking up on whether you’re actually doing what you say will really make you want to finish what you start.
16. Find your zen.
Figure out what motivates you to get what you need to done. For me, I find wearing comfortable clothes, having a clear desk and total silence helps me work. Whether it’s music, putting your hair in a bun or just taking a few minutes before you start to get your breathing pattern right, figure out what it is you need to do to put you in the right state of mind for the task at hand.
Tidy your desk, your office, your bedroom – whatever workspace you need. Less stuff = less distraction, and less distraction = more work done. That’s just maths.
18. Take regular breaks.
Don’t overwork yourself to the point where you feel completely exhausted. You’ll burn out, and that’s hard to come back from. Take breaks throughout the day to regain your energy and keep yourself motivated. Use the breaks as rewards for completing tasks, though – don’t just treat yourself to a break in the middle of something just to procrastinate! Use short breaks to motivate yourself to move onto your next task positively and in a determined mindset.
How do you stay motivated? Let me know in the comments how you manage to motivate yourself, I’d love to hear any ways I’ve not mentioned above!