Finding the motivation to get started isn’t always easy.
Sometimes we’re all fired up and raring to go.
Other days our old friend, motivation, seems to have packed up and shipped out.
We search in vain, scouring the horizon. And when there’s no sign of motivation’s jaunty dander heading our way, we can start to lose hope.
Maybe motivation’s never coming back. We double our efforts, consumed by the search. Motivation must be out there somewhere, if only we could catch a glimpse.
Slowly we realise our energy’s waning and our focus has been hijacked. Procrastination’s come calling and time is ticking on.
Meanwhile, nothing’s getting done.
But, what if…
We got it wrong about motivation.
Maybe, motivation was never really lost?
But right here, all the time.
Sure, a little sleepy, shy and reclusive at times – aren’t we all? But here, nonetheless.
Like a dozing dragon, that once awoken will breathe fire into our dreams, launching them high into the sky. Or just help us get the washing up done 🙂
Yep, motivation lives within us all. But there’s no getting away from it, some days, finding the motivation to get started is harder than others.
So how do we coax motivation out of it’s cosy cave, beat procrastination and get on with the job?
Finding the motivation to get started…
There are so many helpful ways to beat procrastination and find the motivation to get started. But to avoid adding to our already jam-packed sense of overwhelm, here are a few different scenarios with tailored tips to help you find the perfect solution for you.
Or maybe a combination of these tips will work best for you. Feel free to pick and mix 🙂
Some of the links included in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you click through and decide to buy I may earn a small commission from the sale. I am super picky about the links on my site and only share resources I believe will bring value to your life, most of which I personally use and love. Thanks in advance if you follow any of my links, I hope you find them helpful 🙂
When you can’t decide what needs to be done…
Take a deep breath, relax and grab a cup of tea, or your beverage of choice. Finding the motivation to get started is almost impossible when your mind is racing through infinite possibilities. First, you’ve got to get clear on what it is that needs to be done.
Emptying out all those random thoughts on paper can help us get a better handle on the big picture. Once we can see all the different tasks we could be doing, it becomes much easier to make sense of what ought to come higher or lower in our to-do list.
You could simply free-write everything on your mind, and even make this a regular habit with morning pages. Or if you’d like a little more structure and support, there’s tons of brain dump resources and a free download here.
When there are so many things to be done…
Try time blocking or block scheduling. Both of these time management techniques allow us to pre-plan our days and get a clearer picture of how much we can reasonably fit in. We can stop worrying about all-the-things. And take comfort in the knowledge that their turn, or block, will come 🙂
Rather than trying to fit everything we want to do into each and every day, it can be helpful to widen our parameters, to the next week or even month ahead. Making space for all we want to get done across this longer time-frame can give us a better chance of entering flow state and concentrating our efforts and attention on the things that matter.
When you don’t know where to start…
We often fill our to-do lists with projects rather than actionable tasks. This can leave us feeling overwhelmed and direction-less. When it’s not immediately obvious what we need to do next, it’s likely we’re looking at a project.
When you’re worried there’s not enough time to get the job done well…
In most cases, done is better than perfect. Write that on a post-it note and read it often. And remember, there’s almost always scope to come back and improve on whatever we’ve started later on.
Time yourself tackling various tasks that recur on your to-do list, chances are you might be over-estimating how long they take.
When you know a job’s going to take forever and you’ll likely get stuck there…
Harness the power of a sprint, whether that’s 25 minute pomodoros, 15 minutes, 5 minutes, even 2 minutes, it’s up to you. Put on a timer and race to get the job finished. When the timer goes off, whether the job’s done or not, you give yourself permission to move on.
And for those jobs that need more time, make an appointment with yourself to come back soon and do another sprint. You can even mark it on the calendar and treat it just as you would any other appointment.
When you’re feeling anxious and not up to the job…
Keep a record of compliments and achievements and look back on it regularly. Recalling past successes and nice comments people have made can provide a much-needed boost.
Meditation can be a great way to clear your mind and build your confidence. Follow up with affirmations and mantras to squeeze out any negative thoughts and keep you on track.
When it doesn’t seem important enough…
Revisit your why. Why did this item make it on your to-do list in the first place?
Write out goals and intentions daily, before you start a block of work, or whenever you need reminding of what you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there.
When there really is something more important to be done…
Sometimes we can’t get on with a job because we know we should be doing something else, but we don’t want to face it. And so we end up doing nothing at all.
To avoid the dreaded spiral of negativity we could so easily slip into here, there’s only one thing for it – eat that frog. Tackle the job we’ve been avoiding and tackle it fast.
When you just can’t get going…
When you keep putting it off…
If there’s something you regularly procrastinate on, consider how you can build this into the routines and rhythms of your life. Utilise the power of habit and make it an integral part of your day.
Perhaps you can add it into your morning routine, or evening routine? Write checklists, use a habit tracker or join a challenge to support your intentions. Once habits become established, we no longer have to worry about motivation.
When you’re feeling resentful…
Focus on the good this might bring for others. Consider who will benefit from the task ahead and re-frame it as a gift, for your family, your community, or even your future self. And make a start, for them 🙂
When you simply can’t be bothered…
Let yourself off the hook, just for now and settle for a set-up. Get yourself ready for whatever task you want to get done. Clear a space, gather equipment, tools or papers, find the phone number or manual – whatever helps to get you one step closer to starting. You don’t actually have to begin the task right now, but this might be enough to get the ball rolling. And if not, then when you are ready to get on with the job, you’ve given yourself a handy head-start.
When you really don’t have the heart…
Look for something to love about the task at hand and focus on that. Maybe it’s the feel of the warm water on your hands whilst washing up or the sense of calm you feel from having hoovered floors, and use that to propel you onwards.
Along similar lines, try combining your least favourite tasks with an activity you love. Listening to your favourite tunes or podcast while you’re tackling the cleaning can help the time fly by 🙂
or the energy…
While none of us want to get too cosy with procrastination, it’s not all bad news. Sometimes, a healthy dose of productive procrastination can be just what we need. Taking time out to rest, to move our bodies or to clear the decks of clutter and mess can work wonders, offering an energetic boost that can jumpstart our productivity and fire up that motivation machine.
So, what are you waiting for? Hopefully, now you’ll have no trouble finding the motivation to get started 🙂
Let me know which of these tips is your favourite and if you’ve got your own tried and tested ways to beat procrastination, we’d love to hear them. Drop us a comment down below. And if you like what you’ve read, be sure to subscribe to the blog so you’ll never miss another post.
And now… back to that to-do list 🙂