(Tips and Tricks for Getting Started)
Most people on this earth struggle with motivation, maybe even on a daily basis. Sometimes we just don’t have the energy. Sometimes tasks seem overwhelming. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we can postpone doing the things we need to do- that they aren’t necessary at the moment. Whatever our excuse, it feels SO MUCH BETTER to actually make progress with our goals. Even if it’s just the tiniest bit of hedgeway, doing something always feels better than doing nothing.
In my years of experience grappling with the motivation/procrastination balance, I’ve found a few tricks to help me do the things I need to do.
- Get organized. Making lists of what you need to do can help you see if there’s something you can take care of right away, or if you need to accomplish a few little things before you can tackle a harder task. It also makes your goals more manageable. Crossing something off of my To Do List after I’ve finished it feels extremely satisfying!
- Just start something. Honestly some days after I get home from work, I just don’t feel like doing anything productive. The trick for me is to recognize the difference between being tired and being physically exhausted. If I’m exhausted, it’s better for me to rest and recuperate. If I’m just tired, then doing something useful actually gives me more energy and boosts my morale. So I try to just start doing things that need done. The other day, for example, I really didn’t feel like cleaning up, but my house begged to differ. So I started with something I like doing, and before I knew it I was cleaning things without even thinking about it. I emptied the dishwasher. I wiped off the counters. I organized the pantry. I took out the trash and the recycling. I was actually cleaning on autopilot, lost in my own thoughts and not even noticing how much work I was really accomplishing, when just minutes before I was considering lying down for a quick nap!
- Acknowledge your accomplishments. I think this is a really important step that a lot of us are guilty of skipping. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we haven’t yet done that we forget to feel good about the things we have done. It’s so very important to acknowledge the positive things in our lives, no matter how small they may seem. When we gain confidence from recognizing what we’ve already done, it can give us the energy and motivation to tackle the harder things in our lives.
- It doesn’t hurt to delegate. We are so centered on ourselves sometimes that we forget that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s definitely okay to ask our friends and family for assistance, and as long as we aren’t asking way too much, I promise you they’ll be very likely to want to help you out. Don’t put the whole burden on yourself if you don’t have to!
- The Twenty-Minute Trick. There are often times when the last thing in the world I want to do is the one thing I really need to get done. For me, it’s usually housework, paperwork, or making important phone calls. Then a friend of mine shared a tip that they found to work wonders for their own motivation- the Twenty Minute Trick. The thing is, it’s not all that hard to dedicate twenty minutes to a task. So when you find yourself unable to start on a particular task, set a timer for twenty minutes. When that time is up, feel free to stop. You’ve worked hard and accomplished a goal! Often times, however, I find myself ‘getting into the groove,’ and I don’t feel like stopping when the timer goes off. This trick has gotten me through a lot of motivation-lacking days!
Originally Published in 2018.