Whether you’re just having “one of those days” or if you’ve experienced a significant setback, there will be times when you don’t want to do squat. Maybe you can only handle — zero, zip, nada. Occasionally, taking the day off may not be a bad idea when you feel this way. But, just laying-low shouldn’t be the norm — it can wreck your productivity and schedule.
Thankfully, there are simple ways to pick yourself up and get back to work. Even better, the following tips can also help you kick yourself into high gear so that you’ll accomplish more in less time. That sounds like a win-win to me, right?
Come on, get happy.
Take a second and think about why you can’t get motivated. I’d go out on a limb and say that it’s because you’re aren’t in a great mood.
There’s nothing wrong with that. It happens to all of us at some point. But, research shows that we’re most productive and successful when we’re happy. The military teaches recruits optimism to toughen them up mentally.
How can you quickly improve your mood? Sometimes it doesn’t take much. Maybe you could watch a short YouTube video that makes you laugh. You could phone a friend. You always lighten the mood, or you could go outside for a while or write in a gratitude journal.
What about when you need to get motivated, though? There’s nothing more powerful then monitoring your progress and celebrating your success — at least what the research from Harvard’s Teresa Amabile has found.
Find your ikigai.
Ikigai is a Japanese term that means “a reason for being.” Of course, if you’re a fan of Simon Sinek, you ikigai, or reason would be your “why.”
According to the Japenese, everyone has an ikigai. You just need to determine what that is for you. That may sound impossible when you’re in a slump. But, it’s a relatively simple process. You just need to find the convergence of the four primary elements of ikigai, which are your passion, mission, vocation, profession.
You can do this by grabbing a piece of paper and drawing four circles. In the first circle, you’ll list what you love. In the second circle, you would record what you’re good at. In the third circle, jot down what you believe in. And, in the fourth circle, take a moment to list how you are getting paid — or how you can get paid. Whatever overlaps in the center is the reason why you get out of bed in the morning. Remember it.
Just do it.
Yeah. It can be that simple as the Nike slogan implies. Give it a try using Mel Robbins 5-Second Rule. “When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards action, writes Mel.
That sounds easy enough. But, what if you need a more significant nudge just to get started. Well, in an article for Calendar, Max Palmer suggests:
- Making a plan so that you can prepare in advance. For example, if you struggle to go to the gym after work, have your bag in your car so that you can go right after.
- Putting your priorities in your calendar.
- Getting in the flow by removing distractions, practicing mindfulness, and knowing your purpose.
- Breaking larger tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces.
- Setting time limits and deadlines.
- Getting over the fact that whatever you do won’t be perfect.
Once you get started, you’ll build momentum. And, as Newton’s first law of motion states, t “a body at rest remains at rest, or if in motion, remains in motion at a constant velocity unless acted on by a net external force.”
Schedule when you’re at your peak.
Thanks to ultradian rhythms, we all have different times when we’re productive. Instead of fighting against our body’s natural cycles, use them to your advantage.
For example, after tracking your time for around a month, you may notice that you’re most productive from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. During that timeframe, work on your most important or challenging tasks.
I know that’s not always the case. But, give it a try. You’ll notice that it’s a whole lot easier to get stuff done when you have more energy as opposed to focusing when your batteries are running low.
Cut the crap.
“If you want to do it, you do it. There are no excuses.” — Bruce Nauman
True. But, let’s be real. We’ve got a knack for making excuses. You can’t work out because you don’t have time. It’s not a great time to start a business because of money. You don’t ask someone out on a date because of the fear of rejection. I could go on. But, you get the point.
So, how can you eliminate these excuses? Well, you can stop comparing yourself to others and dwelling on the past. Instead of focusing on problems or what you can’t do, look for solutions. And, when that doesn’t work, go back and revisit your purpose.
Get to know your competitors.
You don’t want to obsess with comparing yourself to others. But, when in moderation, you can use this to your advantage.
“Competition is a fact of life, writes Lisa Quast in Forbes. “How do your skills stack up against others?” Knowing this can “help you determine your advantages and shortcomings, and help you decide on the actions you need to take to better compete by improving yourself.”
Diversify your life.
“Whether you want to call it diversification, getting out of your comfort zone, expanding your horizons, or shaking things up, variety presents several benefits, says Albert Costill in a previous Calendar article.
At the top of the list? Diversification prevents you from getting out of a rut. Think about it how boring and uneventful your life would be if you kept replaying the same day over and over again like Phil Connors in “Groundhog Day.”
Furthermore, diversity can increase focus, improve memory, and boost productivity. It can also help keep your fear in check, better handle the unexpected, and gives you the chance to re-evaluate your life.
Surround yourself with the right people.
I know that you should hold yourself accountable. But, sometimes, when you need a little motivation, it’s better not to go it alone. For example, going to the gym is a struggle for most of us. However, when we have a workout buddy, we’re more likely to go. Researchers from Kansas State University “found that those who exercised with a teammate whom they perceived to be better increased their workout time and intensity by as much as 200 percent.”
In short, don’t hang out with lazy, toxic, and unmotivated people. Instead, spend more time with positive and supportive people who are known for getting stuff done.
Pump yourself up.
For me, music seems to do the trick. I mean, how can you not get amped listening to the “Rocky” soundtrack? Other times going for a walk with my dog helps. But, for others, they get pumped up through exercise, reading inspiring quotes, or speaking with a mentor. Other strategies you could try is creating a vision board, reviewing your business plan, reflecting on your accomplishments, taking a cold shower, or striking a power pose.
See failure in the right light.
As someone who has experienced failure, I’ll be the first to tell you that it sucks. But, it’s inevitable — like death and taxes. So, as opposed to running away from this, embrace it. Use failure as a learning experience. As Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Finally, think of ways that push your limitations. The reason? Like diversifying your life, this gets you out of your comfort zone. But, it can also motivate you when paired with gamification. For instance, you set a time limit to complete a task or learn something new. On top of the challenge of meeting this timeframe, you’re also going to reward yourself for completing the challenge.
John Hall is the co-founder of Calendar a scheduling and time management app. He’s also a keynote speaker that you can book at http://www.johnhallspeaking.com.