There are some days where it can be really tough to get going. Perhaps the weekend took a lot out of you, or the week ahead is intimidating. I know when I lose my motivation to work I can find just about every form of procrastination known to man.
Of course, lying around like a slug is unproductive and very unattractive. When there is plenty of work to do and people who depend on the whole team performing, you have got to find a way to get up to speed. Here are the seven ways I get myself out of the funk and moving forward again.
1. Start something new and meaningful
If nothing I'm working on is appealing enough to start the momentum, I look for a new project to spark some energy. It can't be a just a simple distraction. This project needs to be relevant to the work at hand. Just the act of getting moving on something will create valuable momentum.
2. Shut off the world
So often I allow distraction to get in the way of wanting to do anything. Then I rationalize email, Web surfing, or TV as productive or motivational when I know they really aren't either. At some point, you just have to shut off all the noise and focus on the tasks at hand. At most, I turn on music to encourage some rhythm.
3. Revisit your preferred future
Procrastination is about the here and now. True motivation comes from the promise of the future to be. If you have designed a clear vision of your desired destiny, reengage with that powerful possibility. Commit mind and body to the goals that energize you and get things moving in the right direction.
4. Set up rewards
No doubt there is something you've been wanting. Perhaps it's that one present that didn't get left under the tree or in your stocking. Make yourself the promise of a reward if you get certain key initiatives accomplished in a reasonable timeframe. Once you get the momentum going, the regular motivation will kick in.
5. Get someone to hold you accountable
Sometimes if I can't get going on my own, I will enlist the support of a friend. This requires a little discipline, since engaging the wrong friend can simply provide additional distraction. The key is to instruct that friend to help you, not get in the way. A good friend will know just which buttons to push to get you started. Or better yet, they may know which embarrassing info to release on Facebook if you don't get moving again.
6. Challenge yourself to beat the clock
Time is a powerful metronome. Often when I struggle with motivation, I use the power of the pendulum. I set myself small tasks in specific, small time increments. Getting the first few completions triggers good feelings that make me want more. Set up three or four 10 minute tasks and drive for the finish.
7. As a last resort, caffeinate
Personally, I strive to stay as mood-enhancer-free as possible, but when I can't seem to find the will any other way, I will turn to coffee. The stimulant creates energy that must be spent, so I buckle down and find a useful channel. Sometimes you just need better living through chemicals.