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Want to know how to quickly improve your motivation? Sometimes you need to get started on a project right away. Maybe you’ve been procrastinating for days, or even weeks, and now you’re down to the wire on an unforgiving deadline. The threat of not completing the job on time should be enough to motivate you to get moving, right? Wrong.
Often, even knowing the consequences for not completing a task isn’t enough to push us forward. Fortunately, there are some tangible steps you can take in order to give yourself a boost when your usual routine isn’t working.
One way to convince your brain that an activity is worth starting is to look ahead to the result. Think about the money you’ll make a by completing a freelance gig, the feeling of satisfaction you’ll get from handing in your portion of the monthly report to a nagging co-worker, or the freedom to begin your two-week semester break when you submit your last paper.
No matter what the project, visualizing the result of your efforts can improve your focus and motivation. Consider adding an actual visual such as a photo, magazine clipping or other image to improve your motivation.
If you’re feeling sleepy or even restless, you won’t be able to focus on that pressing task. A solution can be to move your body. Science has shown that exercise increases mental clarity and decreases stress. This is the perfect combination for working on a complex project with a looming deadline.
Taking a brisk walk or heading to the gym for a quick step aerobics class on your lunch hour can be just enough of a jolt to get you in prime thinking mode. Be careful not to overdo it or you’ll be too exhausted to do much of anything.
Take a Rest
It’s also possible that a quick rest can restore your clear thinking. If your brain is feeling cloudy or your thoughts are cloudy, a quick nap might be a better course of action than exercise.
Put your head down on your desk or stretch out on the sofa in your office for 10 or 20 minutes. When you wake up from this power nap, you should be rejuvenated and ready to work. Just be careful about letting coworkers or your boss see you if sleeping at your desk is against company policy. But if you're working from home... 😉
Listen to Music
Upbeat tunes might be a solution that leads you to tap your toes and feel more alert. If you can work with background noise, keep the music going. Perhaps changing to a mellower playlist or instrumental songs might be a better option for you than fast beats.
If you require silence to concentrate, put on just a few of your favorites to shift your mood, and then get to work. Listening to music can really improve your motivation if you find the right sounds.
If you're like me, then you just want something quiet but melodic or instrumental in the background. Epic Music VN on YouTube has a 24/7 epic music stream which is perfect for getting into the mood to work on difficult tasks.
The other station I listen to is mynoise.net. It's got hundreds of sounds, adjustable frequency bars, and you can find something that works for you.
A method that is often successful in tricking the mind to move on a task is to start with a small portion of the whole. Using the above example of the monthly report, you might wish to begin by gathering your data and other supplies necessary for completing the job. This small action can put you in the right mindset to keep working on the rest. Getting started truly is half the battle.
Seriously. If I just start doing something, even just starting the timer in Toggl for it, I'm a lot more likely to do the rest of the task too, even if I was procrastinating at first.
Experiment with What Works for You!
These suggestions can, and should, be tailored to fit your personality, preferences and lifestyle. Experiment a bit. Use the ones that work for you, and throw out the rest. You’ll likely be surprised by the significant effect a simple action can have on your productivity.
Need some help getting motivated even with these tips? I can help you. Sign up for a free 60-minute coaching consultation call. We'll talk about what's worked in the past, why it isn't working now, and what to try in the future. Even if we don't end up working together, you'll still come away knowing what you need to do to get work done.