Recently I found myself in a rut. I was getting nothing done.
My house became a disaster area, my pile of to-do lists went untouched, and I spent most of my time staring at Netflix for hours.
Not actually watching anything, though. It takes me half of forever to actually find something I want to watch.
And usually by the time I think I've found something, it's gotten too late and I'd rather just go to bed.
As you can tell, I live quite the exciting life.
After about a week or two of getting nothing done and avoiding all responsibilities, I finally decided it was time to be pro-active about getting myself motivated. How did I get the motivation to get motivated?
Well, it really just came down to waking up one day and saying "today will be different."
I've put together a list of some of the simple ways I got myself out of my slump. And hopefully it will also help you stay motivated and avoid falling into a do-nothing rut.
Keep your to-do list short
Do you ever look at your super long to-do list and get completely overwhelmed by how much you have to do?
So do I.
And that usually results in me hiding in my room and binge watching Netflix for the rest of the day. Feeling overwhelmed completely destroys and motivation I might have to get things done.
Another reason to keep your list short is when we have long to-do lists, we tend to think we need to multi-task to get things done.
Multi-tasking doesn't help anyone. You don't get things done faster, you just spend more time getting less done.
Single-tasking is the way to go. Keeping your to-do list short makes it easier to just focus on one thing at a time.
If you're having trouble focusing on just one thing or keeping a short list, try out the power hour method. All you have to do is set a timer and only focus on one thing for 20 minutes. Once the timer goes off, you're on to the next thing.
Learn to take breaks
Never taking a break is a really great way to get burnt out and overwhelmed. So unless that's what you're going for, you're going to need to learn to take a break every now and then.
If you have a big project you're working on, try to take a small break every 20-30 minutes.
Now, this is the important part, set a timer for your break. 5-10 minutes is usually plenty of time. You don't want to get carried away relaxing and forget to go back to getting things done.
Another important thing: when you're taking a break, be sure to walk away from what you're working on.
I got into a bad habit of taking my breaks at my desk. I'd sit there and think "ok, I'm taking a break.... what do I do?" And then I'd think of some other work-related thing I needed to get done and I'd just start doing that. I wouldn't actually stop working when I'd take "breaks."
That is the opposite of helpful.
Do something you enjoy on your break, or something to take your focus off work. Stretch, go for a short walk, make yourself a cup of tea, grab a healthy snack, draw a picture. Do something relaxing that's going to take you away from your desk.
If you need more inspiration on keeping your work day stress-free, I wrote a few tips on how to practice minimalism at work that might help you out.
Sometimes your reward for getting things done is simply the fact that you'll get to take a break.
Breaks are very rewarding.
If that's enough to keep you motivated, then that's awesome! Good for you! But it's ok if you need to tempt yourself into getting things done with a different kind of reward.
Personally, I like to reward myself with a nice, hot cup of coffee. But not just coffee. A fancy coffee. Specifically a venti soy latte. Because apparently I'm that person.
But whatever your preferred treat or reward is, whether it's a special snack or drink, or getting to read a chapter of your book, or going on Pinterest for a few minutes, or looking at pictures of cats, whatever it is, set some goals.
Once you've met them, or worked at them for a certain amount of time, you get your reward.
Remember your why
Once you've made your to-do list, go through each item and ask yourself why it's on the list.
Is it because it's something you're passionate about? Is it going to get you closer to achieving your goals? Are you doing it for the benefit of someone you love (like cooking and cleaning to keep your family happy and healthy)?
Sometimes remembering your why is all the push you need to get things done.
But when you're going through your list, you may realize your "why" for some items doesn't make sense, or really isn't all that important to you after all. Those things should be removed from your to-do list.
Or at least moved to the back burner to be done if you have time later.
This exercise in remembering, or figuring out, your why is a great way to see where your priorities are. And to see if your to-do list is lining up with your goals for your life.
Create a vision board
And put it somewhere where you'll see it often. Having a visual reminder of your "why" can be a powerful motivator to get things done. If you know your "why," then creating a vision board can be easy and fun.
Get in your head a clear picture of what you want your life to look like.
What are your goals and dreams? Where do you want to be in the next few months, in the next year, in the next few years?
Once you can answer those questions, go find pictures that represent your vision for you life. You can use pictures, motivational phrases, anything you want.
Put it all together and hang it somewhere you'll see it all the time.
Create an energizing morning routine
Our mornings set the tone for the whole day.
One of the best ways I've found to get motivated and be productive is to start the with activities and rituals that give me energy. Creating a morning routine full of things you love can be beneficial in this way.
If you need help figuring out what you should be doing in the mornings, you're in luck! You can take a peak into my morning routine. I call it a miracle morning. And it really is that! If I don't stick to my routine, I quickly find myself falling into an unproductive slump.
Little things in the morning really do make a huge difference!