When you're feeling overworked, overwhelmed and overextended, as we so often do these days, you may find yourself avoiding certain tasks, putting off a difficult conversation, or maybe even ignoring important priorities.
You know that the longer you wait the harder the task becomes, that the more you delay the harder the motivation is to find. But how can you turn it around?
Motivation is a force that comes from within. It helps us to push on when things are difficult, and overcome lethargy and procrastination.
Here are 12 ways to tap into your motivation when you're feeling least inspired:
1. Mind your mindset.
If you concentrate only on the task and how daunting it is, you may never get it done. Instead, think about how it will feel when the task is done. Imagining the relief and happiness can help get you moving.
2. Pay more attention to why and less to how.
If you're holding yourself back worrying how you'll get something done, chances are you're struggling with perfectionism. Try taking how off the table and focusing instead on why: Why is this important? Why is it worthy of my time?
3. Set smart goals.
Goal-setting is most helpful if you remember to set SMART goals--Specific, Measurable Attainable, Relevant and Timely. SMART goals can help you navigate effectively through all the things you have to do and set priorities on the fly.
4. Start small.
Break down your tasks into smaller pieces to make them more manageable and motivate you to start.
5. Hold yourself accountable.
Make a point of telling others that you have taken responsibility for the tasks, and share a deadline. It's motivating to have someone watching.
6. Use time wisely.
With so many competing demands, time mastery is more important than ever. Learn how to take control of your time and ensure you get things done.
7. Crush procrastination.
Especially when your motivation is low, it's easy to give in to procrastination. Discipline yourself so that now means now, whether you feel like it or not.
8. Find a carrot.
Decide on a reward and agree to give it to yourself when you've completed a task or set of tasks. It doesn't have to be exorbitant--a visit to the coffeeshop, a walk, or an evening off may be all you need.
9. Keep it real.
Part of procrastination is an avoidance of the reality of consequences. What will happen if you don't do your part? How will it affect your career? Your team? Your organization? Focus on your reality and start making things happen.
10. Look around you.
It's hard to get anything done if you're in the company of lazy and unmotivated people. But if you are surrounded by positive and driven people who encourage and empower you, you'll get things done much more efficiently and effectively.
11. Ask for help.
Hard as it can be to get started, sometimes it's even harder to ask for help. Nobody wants to appear incompetent. But often even a little bit of help can unleash all kinds of energy.
Use a Post-It pad and write on each sheet something that drives and motivates you. Stick them near your desk and computer for the next time you need a little extra push.
Finding the motivation within can be difficult, but the ability to stay motivated, even when you don't feel inspired, is a huge factor in your ability to be successful and something you'll always do well to cultivate.