Many people struggle with motivation and inspiration, especially when it comes to things like art, cleaning, work, school, & exercise.
I’m going to provide you with four great tips on how to actually stop procrastinating and find motivation!
First though I want to say that your value as a person isn’t solely reliant on your productivity. Things like rest, sleep, your relationships, and having fun are just as important!
(All of these tips can be used in any area of your life.)
Tip 1: Just start and do 5 minutes.
Have no expectations. Do not expect it to go great and remind yourself that something is better than nothing!! Often people set the bar too high, get overwhelmed, and end up doing nothing instead. For example, thinking if you can’t make it to the gym to do a 45min workout, then you’ll just do nothing instead. Going for a walk is exercise, doing yoga is exercise, dancing around your living room is exercise. If you’re not feeling motivated, just set a timer on your phone for 5 minutes and say you’ll quit after that. Then usually you’ll feel motivated and want to go for longer than 5 minutes! And if not, then you still at least did 5 minutes rather than doing nothing! I will say it again, something is better than nothing!
You can also use the 5 minute, 10 minute, or 15 minute tidy for cleaning. Set a timer and see how much you can clean within that time frame, make it a game/challenge. You will be shocked at the progress you can make in just 10 min!
Also, you will not magically receive motivation from someone else and especially not from social media. Social media often drains us without us realizing it and causes us to compare ourselves to others. I get most inspired with ideas to write about by just sitting alone with myself thinking or reading books. I know everyone is different, but I suggest taking a step back from socials if you’re trying to get motivated.
Tip 2: Write down how long the task will take next to it.
We often put off tasks for SO long and let them hang over our heads and stress us out, that often will only take us 5-15 minutes. For example, the dishes. Unloading and loading the dishwasher really takes about 5 minutes, but people will put it off for days. Or putting off an important, but simple call for work or an appointment are common things people procrastinate on too! Just writing how long the task will take you so you can see and think about it will make you realize the task isn’t as bad or as big of a deal as you feel it is.
Tip 3: Circle the top 3 most important tasks for the day.
Again, we overwhelm ourselves by making huge lists of things we need to get done. I suggest, after writing out your longer list, figure out the 3 things that will have the biggest positive impact on your day or that are the most necessary to get done. For example, let’s say this is your list for the day:
- Dishes (5 min)
- Laundry (10 min)
- Go for a walk (15 min)
- Dentist appointment at 2:30pm (45 min)
- Vacuum under bed (10 min)
So, you know your appointment needs to be one of the top 3 most important things you need to do today. Then you realize you need clean dishes to eat off of so you have to do that and that today is the only day warm enough to go for a walk over the next week, so you really want to take advantage of it for your health. You realize the laundry can wait until tomorrow and so can the vacuuming under the bed.
Now you can just focus on getting those three things done and you realize it will only take an hour and 5min of your day! If you still feel motivated after accomplishing those things, then you can choose to do the laundry or vacuum under the bed. Or you can choose to not, and not feel guilty about it because you already know you got the three most important things done for the day!
Tip 4: Figure out what time(s) of day you feel your best and most energized & focused.
This will be very different for everyone! You can figure this out by reflecting on what times you notice you get the most done and feel the most focused throughout the day. Or you can take this quiz to find out your chronotype! Knowing your chronotype is great, because you can then be more mindful about how to schedule your time! Here is even more information about chronotypes. Your type also changes over time!
I personally feel my best usually between 8am-12pm, so this is often the time I do my focused work. I wakeup usually around 7am or whenever sunrise is. My lowest energy and lowest motivation point of the day is usually 2-5pm, so I know to go easier on myself during this time and allow myself to relax, read, sit outside, or nap. Then I get a bit more energy again from 5-7pm, then it tapers off with me usually asleep by 10pm-ish. I’ve taken the tests too and I either come out a Bear or a Lion, I believe I am a mix of the two.
This concludes my 4 tips on how to become motivated and get things done! I hope you found it helpful!
-Meghan (A recovered procrastinator)
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