It can be hard to work on assignments that you don’t have enthusiasm for. Fortunately, there are five proven techniques to help you find the motivation you need to complete your task and get it done as soon as possible.
And if you’re feeling that way, well you’re not alone. I feel that way all the time.
One of the most common problems people encounter is low productivity. We do a lot of research around this and I talk a lot about it in my videos, so it might sound strange that I often find myself procrastinating. However, even the most productive individual will sometimes lack the motivation to complete tasks.
For productivity, there are more long-term solutions and also many short-term fixes.
I want to focus on short-term fixes today, rather than long-term solutions. For this problem, that might include things like building better self-discipline or building strong habits or creating a better study space. We’ll talk about how to build these later in this post!
If you’re feeling unmotivated and don’t want to do anything today, maybe following these 4 steps might help.
And through personal experience over the years, I learned that making these things work! The more I believed in myself and looked after my mental health, the better I felt.
When I actually take the time and put in the effort to put these things into practice, they really do help.
1. Go for a Walk
This one’s pretty self-explanatory: just go outside and take a walk. It’s probably the simplest on this list, but it’s also the one I always tell myself I don’t have time for.
When I have a lot of work, getting up and going outside feels like a waste of time. However, each time I do it, even though I’m feeling unmotivated or dealing with brain fog, it always helps to recharge my batteries.
For instance, Dr. John Ratey’s book, “Spark,” goes into all sorts of detail about how exercise raises your cognitive abilities after you do it. There are also various studies that have shown that Vitamin D, which is mainly obtained from sunlight exposure, can help with the symptoms of fatigue.
You might have heard about that Japanese concept called Shinrin-Yoku. It states that being in a forest is beneficial to one’s health.
2. Focus on ONE task
So once you’ve gone out and finished that walk and you brought your mental energy up just a little bit, the next thing on the list to do is to decide on one specific task to work on. If you have a to-do list with multiple items in it, put it away.
You need to focus on what you’re doing, don’t want to get easily distracted by a never-ending list of unrelated tasks. Achieving your goal starts with committing to one goal at a time.
If there are three different hamsters in the ball, all going in different directions, then the ball is not ever going to get anywhere.
That’s a bit of an oversimplification. Sure, they won’t be able to communicate quite as well if everyone decides on the same idea, but thankfully your brain isn’t like a hamster ball that can only go in one direction at a time. Make sure to take the time to focus on one specific aspect at a time. When you just put your attention into it, you will make progress much faster.
If you find it hard to keep track of all your tasks, why not create a list of tasks you need to do and post it on your desk where you can refer back to it throughout the day.
TIP for focus: If you want an electronic solution, there’s also a chrome extension called Momentum which replaces your new tab page with an interesting background and gives you more control over how the page is presented.
Momentum mission: “Achieve your goals faster and more consistently with your own personal dashboard. Featuring to-do lists, weather, daily photos, and encouraging quotes.”
When you type in your focus for the day and press enter, it creates a clean line to write down anything that pops into your head.
3. Clean up your WorkSpace
To clear up your workspace, tidy up your desk and put a clean desktop on your laptop – so it’s ready for you to work on that one thing and nothing else.
Workplace organization is essential for productivity and decision-making. When your work area is set up and organized to suit the tasks that you need to complete, you’re much more likely to work on those tasks consistently.
4. Apply the Low Effort Hack
In order to actually get your task done, try making use of the low-effort hack. This is a mental trick I use on a daily basis as it requires little actual effort. It means, just start with the easiest task, do something!
I find that it’s often hard to find scientific evidence to back up my arguments when I’m conducting research. However, this is where the ‘low-effort’ feature comes in handy. As far as writing goes, all I really need to do is write what’s on top of my mind.
Remember the blank page is the enemy.
If you’re not happy with your first draft, it is much easier to come back and revise than start over from scratch. Trying to create the perfect text on the first try is a recipe for failure.
If a writer is feeling tired or uninspired, it can be beneficial to use low-effort writing as a way of easing into the flow and warming up.
5. Use the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method for increasing productivity. It was developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. The technique uses a timer to break down the work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.
The Pomodoro Technique is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility and help us avoid procrastination or getting distracted.
The technique involves setting a timer for 25 minutes of work followed by a break of 5-10 minutes. The worker then repeats this cycle as many times as they want before taking a longer break of 30-60 minutes.
There are four phases of the Pomodoro Technique: planning, tracking, recording, and analysis.
The Pomodoro Technique can be used for any type of task: studying, writing an article or blog post, or even doing household chores like cleaning up or cooking dinner. It can also be used when you’re working on tasks that need to be done quickly and don’t require much thought like calling someone on the phone or sending an email.
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