Being productive when you’re not motivated can be challenging.
Sometimes, you wake up and can already feel that this day is not going to be a productive one. This is what happened to me this morning: I got up, got ready, but didn’t feel like being creative or doing anything at all.
I was planning on writing a couple of posts, work on my SEO and proofread a bunch of texts. Well, I don’t feel like doing any of this. I just want to sit on the couch and watch YouTube videos.
This is why I sat down at my desk and started writing this article. It wasn’t on my to-do list, and I’m not even sure how it’s going to end yet. How am I going to motivate myself when I don’t feel productive at all?
Especially since I’ve been working from home, I have come across two major problems:
- Since for now, my work doesn’t generate any money (which is normal, I haven’t published anything yet), I often feel like I’m just fooling myself. Like I’m doing stuff that doesn’t lead to anything and doesn’t have a point. If what I do doesn’t have a point, I could just as well watch YouTube, right?
- No one asked me to do anything. I’m merely doing it for myself, and when you’re your own boss, and you don’t yet have clients, it’s easy to forget why you made the decision to do what you’re doing.
While writing this, I decided what I’m going to start with. I’m going to remind myself why I want to create this blog.
The truth is, I hope to create a community of people who have the same issues and aspirations as me, and I want to do my very best to help them reach their goals.
Writing this down actually felt very good. I have always been passionate about helping people, and I really hope that my efforts can actually help someone in the world.
I’m glad I reminded myself of my initial motivation for this project.
I will now create a valid to-do list for the rest of the day, and I’m not going to sit down and watch YouTube until I’m done with it.
First, I need to do my daily Yoga practice. Then I need to write an article about the stress-reducing power of to-do lists (I already feel a lot less stressed while writing this). I need to make myself some food because all I ate today was granola. And I actually just remembered that I had some great ideas for my article about stepping out of your comfort zone.
There are only 4 items on my to-do list because I don’t want to overwhelm myself right now. I already don’t feel productive to begin with, so there is absolutely no need to try and build Rome on such a day. I feel like I can do this, and I also finally feel like I have a plan.
I’m just quickly going to summarise this article and get to work!
So, here is how I just motivated myself to get off my ass and be productive (even though I’m technically still on my ass but oh well):
Remember the motivation you had in the first place
If you decided to do something, chances are you had a good reason for it. Writing this reason down or saying it out loud (thinking won’t suffice here, believe me) makes your brain actively reprocess that information. If your goal is exciting to you, you’ll feel a little more motivated to be productive after this exercise.
What if your reason for doing something is because your boss told you so? Remind yourself of the general goals you have in your job: getting promoted, getting a raise… If you want to achieve that, you have to show your motivation and be productive. Same goes for studying. If you want good grades or even just a diploma, you’ll have to do the work!
And if no matter how hard you try, you cannot find any good reason for doing the task you’re supposed to do, maybe it’s not that important after all. Maybe you’re following an old goal of yours that isn’t exciting to you anymore. Or you’re following someone else’s goal that you thought was yours too (I’ll touch on that in a future post). In that case, spend some time re-evaluating and don’t bother doing something that actually has no point!
Make a to-do list to organise your thoughts
Making a to-do list is a great way to organise your thoughts and all the different tasks fluttering around in your head. Make a to-do list, but make it short. If you’re not feeling motivated today, you probably won’t have the most productive day in the history of time. And you know what? You don’t have to. No one is productive every day, and if you manage to accomplish a couple of tasks even on your worst days, then this is a great achievement in itself!
So, create a short and easy to-do list and start on it right away. Putting a task down on paper helps your brain picture it better, which in turn makes starting easier, and you’ll become productive on your unmotivated day in no time!
Reward yourself once all your tasks are completed
When you’re not motivated to be productive, you usually crave another (probably unproductive) activity. Don’t do it now, but do it as a reward as soon as you’ve finished a small to-do list. And you’ll actually feel good about it because you accomplished something! Isn’t this so much better than just lounging around and feeling guilty? I sure think so.
Let’s do it together. We’ll both just finish this sentence, get up and get to work. Ready? I am!
Oh and if you liked this post and my tips to be productive when you’re not motivated, I would be so happy if you could share it with your friends!