Waking up, working out, finishing that essay, going to work to get that $chmoney– whatever it is, I’ve found every excuse in the book to put it off even for just a few minutes more. Unfortunately, as life goes, the things that benefit us most in the long run are usually the very ones we tend to avoid. More than that, finding the motivation to do them is like trying to find redeeming qualities in a Trump supporter– taxing and tedious.
Would I go so far as to say I’m an expert in getting things done within a prompt and ideal time frame? Hell no. I still procrastinate and set 5 alarms 10 minutes apart because I over-abuse my snooze button. Now does that mean you shouldn’t take my life advice? Honestly? Maybe. However, after reliving this struggle over and over, I can’t deny that I’ve learned a few things that have helped me overcome that perpetual shadow of procrastination and cultivate motivation when I needed it most. Maybe it can help you too.
I’ll even list them and bold the important parts so you can completely ignore this intro and get to what you’re really here for. Which, let’s be honest, is what everyone does.
1. Take care of your mind and your body
WHY: I bet you were expecting “Wake up early” to be number one. Jokes on you, that’s number two. Instead of waxing poetry about how mind and body are one, I’ll just tell it to you straight out. Mind and body are one. The deterioration of one will eventually lead to the gradual yet inevitable downfall of the other. Damn, that sounded pretty poetic.
When you take care of yourself, you feel a lot better at the end of the day. In turn, you will more likely be able to turn that good energy into something productive.
HOW: Eat healthy, make a good breakfast and don’t sit on your couch all day. Focus on positive thinking. You may not want to write that essay, but the bright side it shows that you’re afforded the opportunity to go to college and learn. You may not want to exercise, but on the other hand, you have perfectly functioning limbs to do such things.
2. Wake up early
WHY: Waking up early is vital to a productive day. The earlier you start on your objectives, the sooner they get done. Compare this to sleeping till 12, where you feel lethargic and move at the pace of that sloth in Zootopia (which, if you haven’t, you should totally watch. Note: this is not sponsored. I just think it’s a great movie.)
Moreover, if you’re the kind of person who makes a lot of mistakes (e.g. me) having more time in the day to finish your required tasks leaves room for error and improvement. This is especially helpful if you’re working with a deadline. Plus, don’t you feel amazing after being productive? Though it’s psychological, that feeling of accomplishment can have a positive impact on your overall mood and in turn your day.
HOW: Sleep at a decent hour and stop binge watching New Girl till 3 a.m. Set your alarm at a reasonable time– let’s say, nothing past 8 a.m. Now disable your snooze button. After that, the first real step is to open your eyes. If you think that’s hard, wait till you hear this next one: Get out of bed. Crazy! I know. But you can do it. I’ve found that once you get out of bed and get moving, the initial grogginess of waking up early fades soon after. From there, make yourself a good breakfast and get it movin’.
3. Write a list. Seriously. This saves lives.
WHY: When you outline an agenda, the day flows much faster. Sure, you can always file a list in the back of your mind, but being able to view your tasks and physically cross them out, helps to make your goals seem more tangible and able to overcome.
HOW: When you write your list, don’t just write: “English paper”. Subtask it. Pretend you’re giving this to the most simple minded person on the planet. Make your list clear and defined so you don’t have to waste time getting into the details of what to do next.
Here’s an example:
To Do List
- English paper
- Research and brainstorm
- Write introduction, body, and conclusion
- Dominate like a boss
- Work out:
- 15 crunches
- 15 Leg Lifts
- 15 Bicycle Crunches
- 15 Chicken wings
4. Find a conducive environment
WHY: Everyone’s different. But for many, if not most, a clean organized space is ideal for optimal productivity. For others, open areas in the outdoors provide a plethora of inspiration. Keep in mind: Various environments can yield different results for the same task.
HOW: I prefer to take my laptop or notebook into a public area– because then I’ll feel pressure to actually write and look busy. This is going to require a bit of trial and error.
Are you the kind of person that studies and writes best with movement and noise? Try a cafe and plug in your headphones. If you prefer something quiet, try your library or a conference room at your school. I’m sure there are more options, but I’m not going to do all the thinking for you.
5. Make it fun
WHY: The more boring something seems, the less you want to do it. That’s pretty much all I have for this one. I mean, it’s pretty straightforward.
HOW: Plug in your headphones and rap to Drake while you get your homework done. Play basketball while you throw the trash from your room into a garbage can. You get the idea.
6. Remove Distractions
WHY: Have you ever started the daunting task of cleaning your room only get distracted by all the random and useless things you bought in 2009? Or maybe you had to type out an essay but your notifications keep going off because your group chats are constantly on a roll? As hard as they are to ignore, these distractions are crippling to productivity.
HOW: If left with options, we’re always inclined to choose the one that seems more fun. So make your work seem like the most fun option you have. Store away your phone or put it on airplane mode if you must. Turn off your notifications. You don’t have to go cold turkey, but you do need to discipline yourself. If you want to be really extreme– as in “holy sh**, I just wasted a week streaming Grey’s Anatomy online and have to turn in this essay by tomorrow why am I like this” extreme (speaking from personal experience)– give your phone to your friend. If you’re truly desperate and brave enough, give it to your parents. Have them hold on to it until you submit proof that you’ve completed what you had set out to do.
7. Do it with a friend
WHY: When you share your goals with someone, be it just verbally or mutually, you’re held accountable for your action. There’s more pressure to carry it out and get it done. Plus, when you share a goal with a friend, it’s always comforting to know they are suffering just like you.
HOW: Find a friend. But not just any friend– someone you can really count on for support. If they push you to be better, reciprocate. Text each other daily reminders to get that paper done. Run together. If one stops, pull them along until they reach that 3 mile goal.
8. nike Just do it
WHY: Nothing comes to you served on a silver platter. The things worth having don’t come easy. And furthermore, you shouldn’t want them to. Accomplishments are given value when we know we’ve earned them. And you’ll be pleased to know that more times than not, once you start and find your rhythm it’s hard to stop.
HOW: Ultimately, you can read a million self-help articles, listen to all the motivational speakers in the world and it would still mean nothing if you didn’t get up and actually do it. So just do it. Literally. That’s it.
So there it is. My 8 tips to finding motivation. I realize that 8 is such a random and somewhat awkward number. But 5 was too short and 10 was too long.
Now I’m going to do that thing that all blogger and vloggers do and encourage you to interact with me. What do you agree and disagree with on this list? Also, what motivates you?
Thanks for reading!