We all have those days when we don’t feel like doing anything. Mentally and physically, we are exhausted. It’s tough getting out of bed in the morning. And, it’s a challenge just to get out of bed, let alone seize the day.
As much as we wish we could stay in bed all day, we cannot. So when you feel uninspired, you can overcome that emotional hurdle with these 20 daily techniques.
1. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike.
“Inspiration is for amateurs,” said painter and photographer Chuck Close. “The rest of us just show up and get to work.”
“If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens,” he further explains. “But if you just get to work, something will occur to you, and something else will occur to you, and something else that you reject will push you in another direction.”
Instead of wasting your time and energy waiting to feel inspired, tap into the power of a daily routine. And this is actually something that successful creatives and entrepreneurs have long known. William James, the famous psychologist, once said that habits and schedules are necessary because they “free our minds to advance to really interesting fields of action.”
While there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to scheduling your calendar, here are some tips to get you started:
- Schedule time for planning. For example, every evening, create and review your schedule for tomorrow.
- Jumpstart your day with a morning ritual. Some ideas would be journaling, exercising, meditating, or reading.
- Time block your calendar. Establish specific times for specific tasks throughout the day.
- Designate a “most important task.” Always include the one absolute task that needs to get done for the day.
- Leverage the power of breaks. Breaks are needed to help you refresh and recharge.
- Give names to time slots and downtime. This ensures that you use this time purposefully, like s “Tuesday a.m., break 15 min walk,”
- Be flexible. Even if you’re consistent, the unexpected is always lingering around the corner. So leave blank spaces to address the unanticipated.
2. Connect to your values.
“This is the ultimate secret,” notes author and Director of Innovation at Microsoft
J.D. Meier. “If you can connect the work you do to your values, even in small ways, you can change your game.”
It’s important to J.D. Meier to learn and grow as a person — a worthy goal for all people.
“I find ways to grow my skills in any situation,” he adds. For example, he just doesn’t “call back a customer.” Instead, he aims to “win a raving fan.” He doesn’t merely “do a task.” Instead, this is a chance to “master my craft.” And, it’s more than “get something done.” Rather, it’s an opportunity to “learn something new.”
3. Add your goal to your calendar.
Did you know you can boost your internal motivation by setting a target date? It’s true.
As such, whatever your goal is, schedule it. If you’re working toward a goal, you might have a deadline. For example, preparing for a meeting presentation or submission date for a project.
By establishing a realistic deadline, you can add structure to your goal. Target dates also help you stay motivated. And, when added to your calendar, it lets you keep track of your progress. As a result, you are always aware of how far you need to go.
Also, once you’ve established your goals, share them with someone else, such as a mentor.
You’re more motivated if you share your goal with someone higher up because just caring what they think of you makes you accountable. For example, you might be more motivated to get promoted if you tell a mentor or manager than if you merely tell a friend or peer.
4. Turn off distractions.
I think this is a no-brainer. However, I’m talking about turning off distractions the entire day long instead of just during certain times. When you do, you’re taking your inspiration game to a whole new level.
It’s easy to lose track of time and focus constantly being glued to our phones, the internet, and social media. It does not matter if you are reading a book on the subway or listening to a podcast or playlist while exercising. As a result, I’ve found myself instinctively reaching for my phone during periods of downtime, allowing myself to scroll mindlessly on Instagram or Facebook. Despite how helpful and entertaining it is to be tuned in, tuning out can leave your mind wandering for hours.
5. Create a feeling of gratitude.
You may find it hard to motivate yourself when you’re stuck in a rut. Think about how you feel before trying to motivate yourself.
Motivation comes much easier when you feel appreciated for who you are.
Gratitude is the quickest way to lift your spirits. After all, it’s almost impossible to be grateful and feel depressed at the same time.
Get in the habit of practicing gratitude by writing down three things you’re grateful for. From your morning coffee to your pet, or even your comfortable chair, there are many things you can appreciate.
To stay motivated, you should include this in your daily routine. Also, when your grateful for the people in your life, let them know that you appreciate them through thank you notes or social media shout outs.
6. Take advantage of others’ motivation.
There are always words or artwork from others to turn to when you need extra inspiration.
Making a playlist of songs that excite and inspire you can be a great place to start. After all, music can elevate your mood and change your perspective. I dare you not to get up and move when you listen to “Gonna Fly Now” from Rocky.
In addition to music, books, movies, and Ted Talks can inspire and guide you. Also, you can search for tweets with the hashtag #inspiration or discover blogs of people who have overcome adversity.
Furthermore, hundreds of motivational quotes from successful people can make you more optimistic immediately by changing your mindset.
7. Ask, “What Would Dolly Parton Do?”
It doesn’t exactly have to be Dolly. But, come on. She’s a national treasure.
Anyway, looking through a different lens can be powerful. After all, when imagining yourself seeing the situation from the perspective of someone else.
Consider your favorite role model, but use their perspective to gain insight. It’s a great way to think outside the box and to gain a fresh perspective.
For example, if you want to improve your leadership skills, ask “What would Richard Branson or Barack Obama do?”
If you’re overcoming adversity, ask “What would Oprah, Nick Vujicic, or Bethany Hamilton do?”
8. Embrace and share vulnerability.
Nowadays, we’re all about Instagram likes and Instagram followers. Being perceived as anything less than perfect is a daunting prospect. A dangerous facade of success can be created by the glossy social media statuses of our lives.
However, sharing defeats and admitting failure is a powerful motivator for moving forward. Do not let your emotions get the best of you. Instead, work through them. Afterwards, move on to something more productive.
As a result of sharing these vulnerable moments, peer relationships are also deepened. And, it might just inspire them as well.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing,” states Brené Brown, a research professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host. “It’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”
9. Get back to nature.
Our daily lives can be enriched by learning from nature’s lessons. A hike or watching the water of a river pass by, for example, is said to calm one’s prefrontal cortex, allowing it to access other regions that might produce insights or new ideas.
The experience of being in nature also inspires a sense of awe. ”Expansive thinking” arises when we realize the world is much bigger than we can understand. It allows us to consider different perspectives and can result in innovative solutions.
It might be tough to do this daily. But, you could start by going on a walk with a coworker after lunch or with your family during the sunset
10. Put together a win list.
“I have exchanged my to-do list with a win list,” Ken Gosnell, CEO of Experience tells Forbes. “A win list is a list of actions and behaviors that I know will create momentum for me and my organization.”
“I focus on at least one win a day and then I record all the wins, big and small, at the end of the day, to review everything that I feel good about accomplishing that day, he adds. “Often, one win can lead to the next one and many other wins.”
You can also do this with your team. For example, kicking off a meeting with what everyone accomplished in the past week. Or, create a dedicated Slack channel where people can share their success stories.
11. Compete in a friendly way.
Try to finish a boring or routine task first with a coworker at work in a friendly competition. A little gamification usually keeps things lively.
In addition, you can also add a small prize, like pizza or coffee the other person, to motivate the winner.
12. Embrace positive peer pressure.
Achieving your goals is ultimately up to you. Other people, however, can motivate you in a very positive way.
It has been shown that teamwork can boost perseverance, engagement, and performance — even if you’re flying solo. What’s more, this can also keep you accountable or push you when you’re not in the zone. Depending on what you want to accomplish, this might mean a running team or joining a professional organization.
And, again, sharing your goals can strengthen your commitment to achieving them, according to another study. If you have work goals, consider sharing them with your supervisor or mentor.
13. Reframe questions.
“Let’s say that you are demotivated by a problem that seems impossible to solve,” writes Scott H. Young over at Lifehack. “What you can do is invest a lot of time upfront framing the right questions.”
According to Timothy Ferriss’s Tribe of Mentors, readers should ask themselves, “How would it look if this [endeavor, goal, etc.] were easy?”
In The One Thing by Gary Keller asks, “What is one thing I can do that would make everything else less important or unnecessary?”
“Think about the problem you want to solve, and ensure you ask the right questions,” adds Young. “Also, consider if you have assumptions baked into your line of thinking.”
Asking (the right) questions is always better than assuming. An inspiring solution can be found by using these methods.
14. Cut your to-do-list in half.
Our ability to achieve success is hindered by long lists. These lists impede our progress instead of helping us advance. So, what’s the solution? Focus on the most completing items first by cutting your to-do lists in half.
In some studies, people don’t accomplish any tasks if they have more than seven on their list. Nevertheless, if you have only three items listed, there is a high likelihood of finishing them all.
15. Don’t be a critic, be a coach.
A person can either be their best coach or their worst critic. It’s up to you what you choose.
Whether you beat yourself down or lift yourself up, you know best how to do it. You can give constructive feedback to your inner coach, and give your inner critic a rest.
As soon as you choose to become your best coach, you will gain a fresh perspective on yourself. And, it can take your potential to levels you’ve never dreamed of.
Also, keep this in mind when sharing feedback with others. Instead of being too harsh, keep the feedback constructive.
16. Reflect on how far you’ve come.
When is the last time you paused to appreciate and refelct all you’ve accomplished? It’s likely that you undervalue all your accomplishments in the face of all your growth.
Spend a few minutes daily reliving and feeling your successes, no matter how small. You could do this as a part of your morning routine. Or, even, when taking a break from work.
17. Declutter and tidy.
In the event of a messy desk, it’s impossible to inspire and motivate yourself. The same is true when you’re calendar is cluttered with useless tasks that prevent you from achieving your goals.
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to go on a daily cleaning spree. But, you could set aside 15-minutes at the end of the day to declutter and tidy your workspace. And, maybe this will inspire your teammates to follow suit as well.
18. Do some mood-lifting.
The quality and quantity of work are both improved when a person is in a good mood. Having a positive attitude every day isn’t realistic, though. Mood lifts can get you going if you’re lacking in the inspiration department.
Looking for some mood-boosting ideas? The following might be helpful:
- Chat with a supportive family member, friend, or college
- Get outdoors and enjoy the scenery
- Watch some cute animal videos or pictures
- Stream funny YouTube videos
- Feel empowered by adopting an alter ego, aka “The Batman Effect.”
19. Treat yourself.
“Biologically, rewards increase dopamine levels in your brain,” Elizabeth Perry for BetterUp. “Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps us feel happy and increases our memory retention, helps us sleep, and regulates our mood and appetite.” When dopamine surges, specific behaviors are reinforced.
“Experiencing a rise in dopamine levels is addictive, and we physically and mentally crave that feeling again,” adds Perry. “When we’re content, we’re more productive.”
Don’t worry about getting hooked on rewards though. As you work hard, you train your mind to view it as a reward in itself.
Moreover, rewarding yourself reduces procrastination, sharpen your focus, and eliminate distractions.
But, when and how should you reward yourself? Well, you can treat yourself when you complete your to-do list for the day. If so, you can start rewarding a new book, watch a TV show, make plans with friends, or take the day off.
20. Shake up your routine.
While having a routine is key to inspiration, sometimes we get into a rut. So, occasionally mix things up.
Switch up your commute, rearrange your schedule, or work somewhere else. Experiment with different activities as well. Simple changes these can make a big difference when you need inspiration.
Image Credit: Designecologist; Pexels
Editor-in-Chief at Calendar. Former Editor-in-Chief and writer at Startup Grind. Freelance editor at Entrepreneur.com. Deanna loves to help build startups, and guide them to discover the business value of their online content and social media marketing.