I do not want to write this post. I DO NOT WANT TO WRITE THIS POST. I. DO NOT. WANT. TO WRITE. THIS POST. PERIOD.
As I sat down to write this post, this was the only thing going through my mind.
Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love writing. But some days, I would rather stare at the floor for hours than write anything. I’m sure quite a lot of us can relate.
When this happens, I have a few tactics to get myself up and running, even when I completely lack any motivation whatsoever.
First, I clear away any obstacles. Mental, physical, whatever. I isolate the things which are stopping me and I make a plan to deal with them. A lot of times, the only reason I don’t start something is because I don’t know where to start. So what then? I make a plan.
There are things I do which always help me get into the proper mindset for productivity: I organize my workspace, I get myself a refreshing drink, and I lay out clear guidelines for myself. This helps get rid of the obstacles I usually face when I’m trying to be productive and allows for my mind to stop worrying about the things that are stopping me and to focus completely on the things I want to get done.
Second, I set a time limit. Fifteen minutes, thirty minutes, forty-five – whatever I think is a reasonable time for the task at hand and how I’m feeling. If I’m really unmotivated, I go for a solid fifteen minutes. I take a seat at my desk, and for those few minutes, I give my complete attention to my task. Even if I manage only a single sentence, that’s one more sentence than I had to begin with.
Usually, those fifteen minutes are enough to get me started, inspired, and motivated to do what I’m supposed to be doing. Sometimes I even turn off the timer and just go until I’ve finished. Setting a timer helps to get the juices flowing, and once they’re going, why stop?
Third, I allow myself to breaks. I am a firm believer in avoiding the burn-out, so on days when my head really just isn’t in it, I don’t hassle myself into doing what I can’t. I’m here for quality work over quantity, so I don’t force myself to do things if the product is turning into something truly terrible.
Taking breaks helps because it is a reward that also makes it possible for me to continue doing something for a long period of time without completely wearing myself out. I get up, I take a walk, I get a fresh drink, I pet a Guinea Pig – these are all things which help me pace myself as I’m going through my day.
Fourth, I prioritize. If I’m really out of sorts, I give myself small tasks, focusing on the most important. A lot of times I just want to go to bed and sleep off the day, so I tell myself, “if you do just this one thing, then you can go to bed and not worry about anything else.” A lot of times, I’ll get so much satisfaction out of getting one thing off of my to-do list that I’ll be inspired to get more done, in which case I no longer feel like going back to bed. But in case this doesn’t happen, I still got something really important done, and I don’t have to feel guilty about taking some time off.
So this was a really short post – because I had no motivation to write it, and I told myself that if I did, I didn’t have to be productive for the rest of the day. As it turns out, I don’t have any more motivation than I started with, but I still have the satisfaction of knowing that I got something important done today, and I don’t have to feel as though the entire day was wasted.
I hope that this helps you be productive today. Now stop procrastinating, and get to work!