You can’t cross items off your to-do list without motivation. You could be the most organized person on the planet, but without motivation, you’re not going to get anything done. But how do you find it to get you through the day?
Talk to yourself in the second person.
If you are a little confused, that means you will refer to yourself as “you”! Instead of telling yourself “I need to do”, say “You can do” something. Researchers at the University of Michigan found this was true across groups, helping people with a lot of stress and anxiety about their tasks, get them done.
Make yourself love the unpleasant parts.
Think about it as if you were at the gym and a coach is telling you to learn to “love the burn” or you won’t finish the work out. The pain of getting tasks done is inevitable, but suffering through them is not. If you are comfortable with feelings like stress and pressure, you will be able to turn them into advantages. Start looking forward to them, like a bodybuilder look forwards from the ache of a tough workout.
It doesn’t have to be anything too extravagant, maybe just a trip to the water cooler, another cup of coffee or a Facebook break. Little rewards like that can help you get through “what you should get around to” and reach “what’s actually done”.
Do something else.
If there is one task that you know you won’t be able to accomplish, don’t stop working or go home early, find another task to take its place that you know you can do. When it comes to motivation, if you stop or slow down, then you are done. Stay moving and you will find that it is easier to transition from one task to another. Keep sitting around and you will continue to sit around.
Take a break. Sometimes you start a task and no matter what you do, you just cannot get it done. That’s okay. Walk away and take five. Don’t stare at the screen, don’t mess around on facebook. Just walk away and come back to the task with fresh eyes.
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