If I had a Fairy God Mother, I wouldn’t ask for a pumpkin to turn into a pretty carriage or for my plaid button-down shirts to turn into fashionable clothes (although that would actually be nice…I would ask for that second). First, I would ask for all of our dirty laundry to be turned into delicious healthy food to stock the refrigerator. Ideally, I would want it to be cyclical transformations – as I eat the food it turns into clean clothes, I then wear the clean clothes and the resulting dirty clothes then recycle back into healthy food. This would take care of the two tasks I consistently lack the motivation to do- laundry and grocery shopping.
Sometimes motivation is hard. When life is hectic and the to-do list is a mile high, losing motivation can send the day or week into a tailspin and leave you with an even longer to-do list, more stress and still no motivation. Everyone loses motivation now and then… the couch looks so comfy, the bed looks so inviting, that beer won’t drink itself… and then poof two.. Ok, fine, six hours later, nothing has been accomplished.
If you ever feel like your drive to accomplish something is taking a nose dive and your motivation is hovering somewhere between zero and -10%, your best bet is to catch it early and make a change. Here are a few techniques I use jump start my motivation.
5 Tips to Jump Start Motivation
- Crank Up the Music. I think music has the power to intensify or even change our moods, but it has to be the right kind of music. I love country music but it doesn’t exactly hype me up. Find some upbeat songs that make you happy and create a HypeList. My favorite song is “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled… it gets me motivated every time.
- Set Deadlines. Creating a sense of urgency to complete a task will help manufacture motivation. I tend to work best under pressure which is excellent rationalization for procrastination. Unfortunately, procrastination and motivation are on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of productivity. In order to combat my tendency to procrastinate, I re-adjust my deadlines to create a sense of urgency. Usually I figure out that I’m just tricking myself (I can see through my own manipulation) so it helps to tell someone else about the self-imposed/fake deadline – that will make it more real. It’s all psychological but surprisingly effective.
- Focus on One Thing. In order to accomplish a goal two things are needed- energy and focus. If I try to focus on my entire to do list I realize no amount of caffeine could possibly manufacture the energy required to complete everything. Here is where it helps to laser focus on one task at a time, one check mark at a time. There are two theories here: start with the easiest task or start with the hardest task. I always start with the easiest task and work up because by the time I have a few boxes checked, my motivation grows and I naturally start to have more energy to put towards the harder items.
- Use a Post-It Note. Keep your goals in front of you! This is one I just started doing, but it has really helped with motivation and focus. Write down your goals on post-it notes and stick them somewhere you will see them on a daily basis. I stick my post-its on my bathroom mirror so I see them first thing in the morning and before I go to bed. When you are constantly aware of the big goals you are working toward it helps motivate you to do the day-to-day tasks necessary to achieve those big goals.
- Take a Nap and Chill Out. Sometimes the motivation just isn’t happening and that’s OK. No one should be productive all the time. When life is hectic and the to-do list is really overwhelming, sometimes the best thing to do is take a nap and recharge. And then wake up, listen to DJ Khalid, and hit the ground running!
Ok, there you have it. Go out there and get started. Do something Awesome!