Author Note: This article is part of a collection from the previously lost Bordering Bears website, and has thus been re-uploaded and archived.
We all can feel demotivated, particularly when a task ahead of us is long or dull. Sometimes, you may find yourself demotivated within your daily life. This can impede your chances of living each day to the fullest, as well as potentially cause problems at work, for example, if you aren’t performing to your usual or required standard.
It can be difficult to break out of this feeling, and you may lack the drive to do so. Here are my top 10 ways to break free from feeling demotivated, so you can take your life back.
Give Yourself One Hour
One hour. One. Singular. That is how long you’re allowed to wallow in the feelings. Set an alarm or timer. When it goes off, you need to do a productive task.
Use this hour to practice self-care. This will help you feel better overall, and is great for your mental health.
Use a Calendar
I struggle with motivation and making sure tasks get completed. To combat this, I list my tasks on a calendar. You can use a physical one on your wall, a diary planner, or even a digital one. I tend to use Google Calendars and sync it with my phone and laptop. This means I can always see what needs to be done.
I even have set calendars titled “Work Calendar” and “Completed Work”.
As you can see in the image above, I have three tasks to do on Bordering Bears today. The pink represents the Completed Work, whereas the purple is under Work Calendar, indicating it still needs to be done. Upon completion of tasks, I move them to the Completed Work calendar.
This also assists me as I have a physical representation of how well I am doing, which motivates me to continue being productive.
It may also be useful to add a “Home Task” calendar for chores around the house.
Whatever you struggle with, using a calendar can really assist you. You don’t have to use set times, as I often don’t, but it represents your day’s tasks.
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a really useful tool in finding lost motivation.
Use this to try and work out what has put you in a slump. Is it the weather? An event? Something you saw online?
By working out the root cause, you will be able to start working through the problem as well as identifying potential triggers in case of similar situations in the future.
I hate being told to go for a walk to clear my mind and improve my mental health. I am also grudgingly accepting that it does help.
Even if you don’t go for a walk, spending some time outside can do wonders. Sit in the garden, listen to the birds, nip round the shop for an iced coffee.
Whatever it is, get yourself out of your house. It will help lift your mood. This can also be good if it’s something at home that has caused your lack of motivation. By removing yourself for a little while, you are helping yourself decompress. You’ll get more accomplished with a clear mind.
Make sure you don’t stay away for too long, as then a healthy break can become an avoidant strategy. Always return to complete whatever it is that needs doing.
Break Down Your Tasks
If a task seems too overwhelming you may feel less inclined to do it. For many people, myself included, the fear of failing can sometimes inhibit the actual trying.
Sometimes it can be useful to have several, smaller chunks, rather than one task.
For example, I have an article I need to write this afternoon for a client. Rather than seeing it as a total word count, I break it up into manageable segments.
So I will complete a 200 word introduction, 300 word paragraph A, 300 word paragraph B, 300 word paragraph C, 300 word paragraph D, 200 word conclusion.
This, to me, seems easier than saying I have a 1300 word article to do.
This method may not work for all tasks though. You will need to judge which ones it will help with. For me, it helps with work, but not with household chores.
If I say I need to hoover the house, that is manageable to me, but if I break it down into rooms that seems like more work.
It may sound silly, but breaking down tasks is solely about your perception. What works for one person, or even, as described, one job, may not work for another.
It may sound childish, but reward yourself for good work. This can help to keep you on track. Something as simple as when I’ve cleaned the bathroom I can have a biscuit can make you feel more positive about tasks. It all comes down to training your brain.
Task = good is a simple way to put it. Doing chores or work may be boring and tedious. There is no harm in finding ways to make yourself want to do work.
As proof of that, I can tell you that I’m using the reward method right now. I need to complete this post, the social media updates, and one paid article before we can go to the beach for an hour.
It’s something I want to do, so it is spurring me on.
Again, like with previous points, make sure your reward doesn’t take over and become a means of avoidance for the rest of your jobs.
Feeling demotivated really can suck, but it doesn’t have to take over your life. By finding healthy ways to work around your feelings, you will be able to be more productive.
It is important that you don’t bottle up or bury your emotions. After all, the demotivated feelings came from somewhere. If you can identify, and work through, the root cause, you will be a lot better off.
As with previous posts, please remember that, if your struggles are becoming overwhelming, it is vital that you seek professional support. Some helpful numbers can be found on our HELP page.