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We’d all like to fit more into the day. Whether we’re chasing a promotion at work, hoping to ace a class in college, or trying to get our small business up and running, we want to pack as much as possible into every hour.
Productivity often takes a nose-dive, though, when we’re feeling unmotivated. Here’s how to pick yourself up out of a slump:
1. Look For the Reward
With any task you take on, there’s going to be some reward. Maybe it’s a paycheck. Maybe it’s the inner glow of helping someone out. Maybe it’s the pride of accomplishment. It might be nothing more than getting the task off your to-do list!
What’s the reward at the end of your task? How are you going to feel when you do get it completed? Who might you be helping (a client, family member, friend or yourself)? Focus on these things, and you’ll find your motivation naturally starts to build.
2. Set a Timer or Deadline
If you’re working on a short task (or one which is so huge you can only tackle it a bit at a time, like writing a book), then set a timer. Give yourself 20 or 30 minutes to storm through your inbox, or to hammer out a few paragraphs of your book. Knowing that there’s a clock ticking away really gets you moving!
For slightly bigger tasks, set yourself a deadline: perhaps you’re going to get your website launched by the end of the week, or you want to finish the first draft of your essay before Saturday. If you find it hard to take self-imposed deadlines seriously, tell a friend about your deadline: this’ll help you stay accountable.
3. Remove Distractions
When you’re feeling demotivated, you’re far more likely to succumb to distractions than when you’re raring to go at a task. Try to remove any distractions: that might mean turning off the television, closing your email program, logging out of Facebook and Twitter, and shoving all the clutter on your desk to one side!
If you regularly get distracted when you’re trying to stay on task, read Conquering Your Impulses to Reach Your Goals.
4. Make a Checklist
Still finding it hard to stay focused? Make a checklist. This helps because it breaks down your task into manageable units – reducing your urge to procrastinate. It also gives you clear steps for what you need to do next.
Many people get a sense of satisfaction from ticking off items on a to-do list, and as you complete each step, you’ll find that you’re boosting your motivation to see the whole project through to the end.
About the Author
Ali Hale is a postgraduate student of Creative & Life Writing, and a freelance writer working for several large blogs. She also runs her own blog, Aliventures, writing in-depth articles on “getting the most from life.”