Who doesn’t love a lazy day where you blissfully do nothing but binge-watch Netflix, eat your favorite snacks, and relax? But when the love for doing nothing outweighs the motivation to become productive, getting off the couch can be a challenge. Thankfully there are motivation hacks you can deploy to help you stay on track and zoom through your to-do list. We all need help now and then when our own mind is working against us, so let’s dive in!
14 Brilliant Motivation Hacks to Help You Focus and Get Stuff Done
1. Define your why
What gets you out of bed each morning? We all have a reason. Besides the habitual nature our brain is accustomed to and our evolutionary need to survive, there is an existing motivation behind your goals. If you’re struggling to define your why, especially if you feel depleted (we’ve all been there), think about your most recent memory where your productivity levels were through the roof. Where were you, and what were you doing? When you felt confident, what were you telling yourself? Did you have an adequate support system cheering you on? Was there a sense of urgency driving you forward? Reflecting on these questions and determining your underlying reason is critical for cultivating motivation and helping you discover how to improve your focus when you feel stuck.
2. Set goals
Working without setting goals is counterproductive. If we don’t have an end in sight, how will we know what daily steps we need to take? But the key is setting specific goals. Vague goals like “launch my website” won’t cut it. Instead, follow the SMART method.
- Specific: Build and launch my website using Squarespace to sell my product
- Measurable: Now quantify your goal. Increase product awareness to achieve 20% more purchases in the next month
- Achievable: This step involves giving yourself a reality check and analyzing whether or not your goal is achievable
- Relevant: What is your why? Build and launch my website using Squarespace to attract my target audience, increase product awareness, and achieve a 20% increase in sales
- Time-Bound: Tailor the above goal to reflect a realistic timeline. For example, in three months
3. Create a checklist
Is there anything more satisfying than checking an item off your to-do list? We think not. Not only does it allow you to put everything circling in your brain on paper, but it helps you stay focused. It’s like a map that lessens the anxiety pointing you in the direction of where to go next. Plus, it’s rewarding! Every check mark gives you a boost of confidence and leads you closer to your end goal.
4. Start with the small tasks first
When a project is overwhelming, procrastination will become second nature. You’ll do anything you can to avoid tackling it. So, to learn how to stop procrastinating, break down the scary project into smaller, more digestible parts. For example, if you’re a coach and need to give a presentation about EMDR therapy for beginners, start by creating an outline for your research bit by bit. This approach will provide a sense of accomplishment even if you’re not in the mood because the small tasks will be easier to complete.
5. Get a dose of inspiration
If you can’t motivate yourself, no matter what tool you adopt, receive a dose of inspiration. For example, listen to a motivational TED talk from Tony Robbins, a podcast that makes you feel like you can conquer anything, or talk to a friend that will set your priorities right. Getting support will boost your self-esteem and give you the motivation you need to start fresh.
6. Employ positive self-talk
The way we talk to ourselves impacts every facet of our lives, especially our ability to forge ahead and accomplish our goals. So, if you’re struggling with motivation, pay attention to your inner critic. You may realize you’re punishing yourself for not starting a pressing deadline. If that’s the case, remind yourself of your strengths, repeat positive affirmations, and reframe your current stressor as an opportunity to grow.
7. Batch your work
One of the best motivation hacks is task batching. It involves batching similar tasks together to complete them in a specified time. If you have an upcoming deadline, categorize the steps required, group your administrative or research tasks, for example, within a 30-minute time block, color code it, and begin. This task works because it maximizes your cognitive power to work on one task at a time and prevents your brain from wearing itself out by jumping back and forth between different tasks.
8. Time yourself
Sometimes the source of unblocked motivation is stress. Indeed, maybe you’re on the verge of burnout, or you feel like there is never enough time in the day, so you hit a wall, and productivity paralysis becomes your reality. If you feel this way, employ a few tips when you feel overwhelmed, then come back, set a timer for 20 minutes, and start the task. When the timer stops, check-in and evaluate how you feel. Chances are you’ll feel less overwhelmed, more motivated, and empowered to finish the task ahead. Often half the battle is just starting.
9. Track your progress
Don’t forget to track your progress and reward yourself along the way. Both are essential to maintaining your productivity and motivation to tackle your goals. You can use goal-tracking apps or turn your Google Calendar into a colorful art display. For example, color-code your tasks, follow the task batching and breaking down tools, and set notifications on your computer, email, and phone so you can’t help but see how far you’re coming. After, reinforce your accomplishments with celebrations like eating your favorite dessert or unplugging and seeing a friend for coffee.
10. Take a break
Never underestimate the power of breaks. Our brains need breaks to unwind, recharge, and disconnect from the onslaught of responsibilities and even technology. Whether you adopt simple brain breaks for adults, like a deep breathing session, or go for a short walk outside to bask in the sun, you’ll be able to return with a better outlook on the work day ahead.
Additional tools to find your motivation
Other tips to help you power through include:
- Mindfulness. Connecting to the present moment and unlocking yourself from worrying about the past or future will help you remain focused
- Visualization. There’s a reason why athletes and celebrities swear by it; it works! Visualizing your desired outcomes can help you turbocharge your motivation to complete the necessary steps
- Fuel your physical health. We can’t find the cognitive clarity or physical energy needed to move forward without following a healthy diet, prioritizing our fitness, and receiving a great night’s rest
- Self-compassion. If you’re struggling to find motivation, that’s okay. We all have days where getting out of bed feels like a challenge. After all, you’re human. But when you experience these moments, shower yourself with love and compassion to help yourself recuperate
Which one of these motivation hacks will you use? Explore which ones resonate with you and tailor them to fit your circumstances. And while motivation is the force that drives our behavior, it’s also a skill that needs consistency, nurturing, and patience to develop. So, if you’re lacking motivation, don’t worry. Keep setting goals, moving forward, and you’ll unlock a system that works best for you.
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