Let’s face it: No matter how much of a self-starter you are, there are days when you struggle. Sooner or later, it happens to everyone, but there’s good news. There are a few simple things you can do to help minimize the impact of a sudden lack of motivation.
One of the simplest and best ways to nip a lack of motivation in the bud is to arrange your life so that there’s a minimal chance of it creeping up onto you in the first place. That starts with good planning. In order to keep your momentum up, at the end of each day, spend a few minutes writing down your plan for the next day.
Doing that helps you in a number of ways. It clarifies exactly what you need to do, it gives you an opportunity to prioritize the next day’s work, and when you start your workday, you’ve already got a do-list to rely on, so you just don’t have to think about it. That allows you to hit the ground running without having to think about it.
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If you’re already struggling with motivation, the least little distraction can turn into a major time sink. The best plan, then, is to limit distractions whenever possible. That means avoiding the temptation to jump on your favorite social media platform “just to check in,” because this could easily turn into a two or three hour time sink. The same goes for email. Just make a rule for yourself that you’ll only check email two or maybe three times a day, and limit your email time to fifteen or twenty minutes at a time. That forces you to return to task in a fairly short timeframe.
You are at your most productive in the early part of the day. This is actually another reason why pre-planning is such a powerful tool, because it allows you to make the best and most efficient use of your most productive hours.
The best way to really capitalize on that fact is to tackle your biggest challenge first. That makes the rest of the day feel a whole lot easier.
A lot of times, especially when faced with a really big task, you can find yourself paralyzed into inaction. The best way to break out of that mindset is to just start.
You start by refusing to look at the big task in its entirety. Instead, break it into smaller, discrete parts, and begin tackling them one at a time. At first, it might not look like you’re gaining much ground, but after a few hours, you’ll find that you’ve made surprising progress.
Remember, you can’t eat an elephant in a single bite, so don’t try, and don’t obsess over how big a given project is. Just focus on the smaller portions you can knock out quickly and easily, and the big picture will take care of itself in due time.
These strategies work. Use whichever of these you like. Use them alone, or in combination. Experiment to find the combination of strategies that work best for you. Remember, the how doesn’t matter nearly as much as progress, so whatever you can do to get yourself motivated again