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How to Get Motivated

Posted by Smita Kishore on

Working from home, especially during these cold, snowy, Winter days, it can be tough to find the motivation to get things done, as there's always a warm blanket, a cup of tea and a cozy couch just a few tempting steps away. While it's easy for me to get out and work from a cafe or a library during the warmer months, this becomes tougher in Winter as it's often too cold to walk to most of my favorite spots, and I don't always want to spend money on a Lyft, nor make the 10-minute walk to the train either!

But over the past year of working from home, I've learned and developed some strategies to help get me going. While no one thing is ever 100% successful, or the sole answer to increasing my motivation, it definitely helps to have a few tricks up my sleeve. Here are some tips to help get yourself motivated on extra tough days: 

  1. Be Inspired. When the motivation bus is really lagging, inspiration helps get the wheels moving. Find something to be inspired by, whether it's a quote, a book, a painting, music, anything. Allow others' works to inspire you and spark your inner flame. Tip: Know what makes you smile and feel good and do it! It's much easier to find motivation when you're feeling positive. BONUS: Do something for someone else that makes them happy. This can be a quick way to feel inspired and gain the energy to get to work. 
  2. Take a Break. Do something completely unrelated to work (including housework) and go back to your task list afterward. Sometimes that's all our brain needs to recharge. Go for a walk, enjoy a mindful cup of tea, color, draw, daydream, sing, watch a Ted Talk. Whatever you chose, make sure it's anything other than work for at least 10-20 minutes. 
  3. Get Moving. Sometimes even 10 minutes of physical activity is all it takes to raise our energy levels, which inadvertently helps increase our motivation. Whatever it is, find one way to get moving! When it's too cold to go outside, I'll simply open the door for a moment and breathe in a few breaths of fresh air. You might be surprised how something so simple can be so effective! 
  4. Start Small. Break your large tasks up into small manageable steps and start there. The momentum will build as you move forward. Trust me ;)
  5. Reduce Your To-Do List to One Thing. Looking at my to-do list on most days can be quite daunting, and on some days (especially if I haven't gotten out of the house due to the cold) it can put me in a complete rut. So instead of looking at that list during these times, I reduce my to-do list to a single item (sometimes the easiest one that I know I can get done) and just focus on that. Especially because I've chosen something easier on my list, I'm more likely to accomplish it, which will, in turn, make me feel good and more motivated; this also helps build momentum to get the day going. Once I've crossed off that one item, I'll add one more. And one by one, my to-do list gets an effective chunk knocked off. 
  6. Don't Force It. Nothing makes it harder to feel motivated then trying to make yourself feel motivated. If you're anything like me, doing this makes me want to escape altogether. So instead of forcing yourself to try to feel a certain way, try accepting it. Accept and acknowledge that you don't feel motivated and stop trying to resist or fight it. Sometimes the simple task of accepting how we feel can turn a mountain into a molehill ;)
  7. Reward Yourself. It's much easier to get things done when there's something to look forward to afterward. Try scheduling something that makes your heart smile as a treat for finishing the items on your to-do list. 
  8. Give In. On days when none of these strategies work, I try giving in by asking myself what I'd rather be doing instead, or what would make me really happy in this moment. If it's something I'm able to do without sacrificing too much of the workday, I allow myself to do it (e.g., read a few chapters of that book that's got me hooked, watch a guilt-free episode of my favorite show, etc.). Sometimes by giving myself my reward early, I'm able to change the energy of my thoughts and reattempt my work from a more satisfied place. So if all else fails, try seeing where the lack of motivation takes you. Eventually, your work will get done, but sometimes the path to getting there is quite different than the one we planned on our own. 

Love + Light,

~Smita :) 

What gets you motivated? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below! 

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