Struggling to motivate myself

6 Causes and Ways to Overcome It

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Understanding how motivation works

Why are you lacking motivation?

How can you get back on track?

FAQs about motivation

Everyone experiences a lack of motivation at some point in their life. Whether you’re having a hard time finding a sense of motivation to do your laundry or work on the business pitch you’ve been thinking of, we all get into slumps. 

But we can all learn to identify what causes a lack of motivation in daily life and how to help ourselves get back on track.

Understanding how motivation works

You developed strategies to increase your sense of motivation a long time ago. You didn’t even realize it, but they formed at a young age — long before you entered the workforce. Here are three examples to reflect on to better understand motivation.

Being motivated by “adults” no longer works when you are one 

Did your parents or teachers yell at you to convince you to complete your daily tasks when you were young? Parents or teachers motivating you by punishing or reprimanding you if you didn’t meet their expectations isn’t sustainable in adulthood. This is extrinsic motivation.

But now that you’re an adult and you can’t get detention or be grounded, nobody is pressuring you the same way. This could be why you’re having a hard time finding motivation.

Being a people-pleaser undermines your motivation

Are you a people pleaser? Do you lack motivation? Little do you know, those things are related. If your motivation only turns on when you’re trying to do something for other people, you won’t have any left for yourself.

Even if you think you’re just a great helper, you’re training yourself to put others before your well-being.

Social media consumes your motivation

As you scroll through posts and posts, your need for self-esteem could be suggesting that you need to be more like people you see online. The images and lives shown are curated and often unrealistic. They may seem unreachable. Rather than motivate you, social media can be demotivating.

Even if you are motivated by what you see, the time lost can still cause you to lose motivation. Also, if you rely on comparison, when you take a break from social media, that motivation could be gone. 

Why are you lacking motivation?

It’s okay that your previous motivators don’t work for you anymore. This means you’re experiencing some personal development, and that’s good. It’s important to understand that no matter why you’re experiencing low motivation, there will always be strategies and people to help you find motivation again.

A few people more than happy to help are the coaches at BetterUp. We want to be there for you regularly to help your well-being and learn how to unlock your motivation again. To learn more about BetterUp, click here. 

Everyone experiences a lack of motivation in different ways. What hinders some may not be an issue at all to others. The first step to beating your procrastination is to identify your motivation problems.

Think about which ones apply the most to you. Here are six causes for lack of motivation:

Spreading yourself too thin

Burnout is real. When you have too many things on your to-do list, it doesn’t encourage you to get them done. Your procrastination can stem from feeling overwhelmed with your daily tasks. It doesn’t matter if you’re working from home and think you have plenty of time to hustle; your energy and level of motivation can be exhausted from your couch, just like the office. 

Doubting yourself

When you doubt your abilities, you don’t feel like your completed tasks are done right. It can be a struggle to feel that sense of motivation to get started. Try to tell yourself some positive affirmations to help you get off the right foot. Think about the qualities and characteristics that you love about yourself. Even if it’s not work-related, think about how you deserve to keep trying to achieve your goals.

Mental health issues

Low motivation can be a common symptom of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. You can practice self-help and self-care as much as you can, but you may find that seeking professional help is more helpful for your emotions. Online therapy is beneficial, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just know that you’re not alone, and you have lots of loved ones who want to see you receive the best help.

Lack of commitment

Take a step back and think about how dedicated or passionate you are about your work right now. Do you agree to do these tasks because you feel obligated? Identifying where your to-do list decreases your motivation helps you know where to add some spice. (And by spice, we mean something fun that gives you incentive and energy to complete your tasks).

Bad attitude

Things don’t always go the way we hoped, but that doesn’t mean you’ll stay in a rut forever. Focusing on bad things deters you from accomplishing tasks, and it can’t control you forever. You can be upset, but a lasting bad attitude will ruin your motivation unless you actively try to change it.

Not being specific enough

You may think you have specific goals in mind, but are they encouraging your motivation levels? Giving yourself clear directions is essential. Without them, vague ideas will fade over time. You can’t just say you want to eat healthier. You need to be specific about what you want to achieve and outline precisely how you’re going to do that.

How can you get back on track?

Now that you know what can cause a lack of motivation, you need to learn techniques to start finding your motivation again. Repeating positive affirmations will only take you so far.

Each tip may not be for you, but try and find at least one that you can start practicing:

  • Listen to podcasts that share positive, encouraging stories.
  • Surround yourself with people in your life who are also working on goals and share progress and challenges.
  • Give yourself incentives or rewards for accomplishing tasks.
  • For every task you do that you don’t like, do something that makes you happy.
  • Break your to-do list into manageable sections.
  • Make your tasks into habits in your daily routine.
  • Get outside for a walk to center your focus.
  • Be kind and compassionate to yourself.
  • Argue the opposite when you think negative thoughts.

FAQs about motivation

Are you wondering about other common questions people lacking motivation ask?

What’s the importance of having a challenging job to feel motivated?

Without any challenges, you won’t have anything new to work toward. If all of your tasks are easy, you won’t have any incentive to do better. Regularly throwing in a challenge can motivate you to learn something new, sharpen your skills, and try new experiences. 

What things affect my motivation?

Plenty of things can affect your motivation. The weather, people around you, how hungry you are, and more impact your motivation levels. Pinpointing what impacts you the most is challenging, but it can help you get back on track. Next time you lack motivation, pay attention to your surroundings. 

How can I help someone that’s feeling unmotivated?

One of the best things you can do for someone lacking motivation is to support them when and how they need you. If they’re struggling against a mental illness, you can suggest seeking professional help. If they need someone to hold them accountable for their daily tasks, you can do that too. Show up for them in the ways that suit them; everyone’s needs are different.

How to Keep Working When You’re Just Not Feeling It

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Motivating yourself is hard. In fact, I often compare it to one of the exploits of the fictional German hero Baron Munchausen: Trying to sustain your drive through a task, a project, or even a career can sometimes feel like pulling yourself out of a swamp by your own hair. We seem to have a natural aversion to persistent effort that no amount of caffeine or inspirational posters can fix.

But effective self-motivation is one of the main things that distinguishes high-achieving professionals from everyone else. So how can you keep pushing onward, even when you don’t feel like it?

To a certain extent, motivation is personal. What gets you going might not do anything for me. And some individuals do seem to have more stick-to-itiveness than others. However, after 20 years of research into human motivation, my team and I have identified several strategies that seem to work for most people—whether they’re trying to lose weight, save for retirement, or implement a long, difficult initiative at work. If you’ve ever failed to reach an attainable goal because of procrastination or lack of commitment—and who of us hasn’t?—I encourage you to read on. These four sets of tactics can help propel you forward.

Design Goals, Not Chores

Ample research has documented the importance of goal setting. Studies have shown, for example, that when salespeople have targets, they close more deals, and that when individuals make daily exercise commitments, they’re more likely to increase their fitness levels. Abstract ambitions—such as “doing your best”—are usually much less effective than something concrete, such as bringing in 10 new customers a month or walking 10,000 steps a day. As a first general rule, then, any objectives you set for yourself or agree to should be specific.

Goals should also, whenever possible, trigger intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, motivation. An activity is intrinsically motivated when it’s seen as its own end; it’s extrinsically motivated when it’s seen as serving a separate, ulterior purpose—earning you a reward or allowing you to avoid punishment. My research shows that intrinsic motives predict achievement and success better than extrinsic ones do.

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How (and When) to Motivate Yourself

Take New Year’s resolutions. We found that people who made resolutions at the start of January that were more pleasant to pursue—say, taking on a yoga class or phone-free Saturdays—were more likely to still be following through on them in March than people who chose more-important but less enjoyable goals. This is despite the obvious fact that aspirations for the New Year are usually tough to achieve; if they weren’t, they wouldn’t require a resolution!

Of course, if the external reward is great enough, we’ll keep at even the most unpleasant tasks. Undergoing chemotherapy is an extreme example. In a work context, many people stay in their jobs for the money, feeling like “wage slaves.” But in such situations they usually do the minimum required to meet the goal. Extrinsic motivation alone is unlikely to help us truly excel.

The trick is to focus on the elements of the work that you do find enjoyable.

In an ideal world we would all seek out work roles and environments that we enjoy and thus keep our engagement high. Unfortunately, people often fail to do this. For example, my research shows that when asked whether positive relationships with colleagues and managers are critical in their current position, most people say yes. But they don’t remember that office morale was key to success in past jobs, nor do they predict it will be important for them in the future. So simply remembering to consider intrinsic motivation when choosing jobs and taking on projects can go a long way toward helping sustain success.

In cases where that’s impractical—we don’t all find jobs and get assignments we love—the trick is to focus on the elements of the work that you do find enjoyable. Think expansively about how accomplishing the task might be satisfying—by, for example, giving you a chance to showcase your skills in front of your company’s leaders, build important internal relationships, or create value for customers. Finally, try to offset drudgery with activities that you find rewarding—for instance, listen to music while tackling that big backlog of email in your in-box, or do boring chores with friends, family, or your favorite colleagues.

Find Effective Rewards

Some tasks or even stretches of a career are entirely onerous—in which case it can be helpful to create external motivators for yourself over the short-to-medium term, especially if they complement incentives offered by your organization. You might promise yourself a vacation for finishing a project or buy yourself a gift for losing weight. But be careful to avoid perverse incentives. One mistake is to reward yourself for the quantity of completed tasks or for speed when you actually care about the quality of performance. An accountant who treats herself for finishing her auditing projects quickly might leave herself open to mistakes, while a salesperson focused on maximizing sales rather than repeat business should probably expect some unhappy customers.

Another common trap is to choose incentives that undermine the goal you’ve reached. If a dieter’s prize for losing weight is to eat pizza and cake, he’s likely to undo some of his hard work and reestablish bad habits. If the reward for excelling at work one week is to allow yourself to slack off the next, you could diminish the positive impression you’ve made. Research on what psychologists call balancing shows that goal achievement sometimes licenses people to give in to temptation—which sets them back.

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In addition, some external incentives are more effective than others. For instance, in experiments researchers have discovered that most people work harder (investing more effort, time, and money) to qualify for an uncertain reward (such as a 50% chance of getting either $150 or $50) than they do for a certain reward (a 100% chance of getting $100), perhaps because the former is more challenging and exciting. Uncertain rewards are harder to set up at work, but not impossible. You might “gamify” a task by keeping two envelopes at your desk—one containing a treat of greater value—and picking only one, at random, after the job is done.

Finally, loss aversion—people’s preference for avoiding losses rather than acquiring equivalent gains—can also be used to design a strong external motivator. In a 2016 study scientists from the University of Pennsylvania asked people to walk 7,000 steps a day for six months. Some participants were paid $1.40 for each day they achieved their goal, while others lost $1.40 if they failed to. The second group hit their daily target 50% more often. Online services such as allow users to choose a goal, like “I want to quit smoking,” and then commit to a loss if they don’t achieve it: They have to donate money to an organization or a political party that they despise, for example.

Sustain Progress

When people are working toward a goal, they typically have a burst of motivation early and then slump in the middle, where they are most likely to stall out. For instance, in one study observant Jews were more likely to light a menorah on the first and last nights of Hanukkah than on the other six nights, even though the religious tradition is to light candles for eight successive days. In another experiment, participants who were working on a paper-shape-cutting task cut more corners in the middle of the project than they did on their initial and final shapes.

Fortunately, research has uncovered several ways to fight this pattern. I refer to the first as “short middles.” If you break your goal into smaller subgoals—say, weekly instead of quarterly sales targets—there’s less time to succumb to that pesky slump.

Giving advice may be an even more effective way to overcome motivational deficits.

A second strategy is to change the way you think about the progress you’ve achieved. When we’ve already made headway, the goal seems within reach, and we tend to increase our effort. For example, consumers in loyalty programs tend to spend more when they’re closer to earning a reward. You can take advantage of that tendency by thinking of your starting point as being further back in the past; maybe the project began not the first time you took action but the time it was first proposed.

Another mental trick involves focusing on what you’ve already done up to the midpoint of a task and then turning your attention to what you have left to do. My research has found that this shift in perspective can increase motivation. For example, in a frequent-buyer promotion, emphasizing finished steps (“you’ve completed two of 10 purchases”) increased customers’ purchases at the beginning, and emphasizing missing steps (“you are two purchases away from a free reward”) spurred consumption as buyers neared the goal.

This tactic can work for rote tasks (such as sending out 40 thank-you notes) as well as for more-qualitative goals (becoming an expert pianist). The person writing the notes can gain motivation from reminding herself how many she’s sent until she passes 20; then she should count down how many she has left to do. In the same way, a novice pianist should focus on all the scales and skills she has acquired in her early stages of development; then, as she improves, focus on the remaining technical challenges (arpeggios, trills and tremolos, and so on) she needs to master.

Harness the Influence of Others

Humans are social creatures. We constantly look around to see what others are doing, and their actions influence our own. Even sitting next to a high-performing employee can increase your output. But when it comes to motivation, this dynamic is more complex. When we witness a colleague speeding through a task that leaves us frustrated, we respond in one of two ways: Either we’re inspired and try to copy that behavior, or we lose motivation on the assumption that we could leave the task to our peer. This is not entirely irrational: Humans have thrived as a species through individual specialization and by making the most of their comparative advantages.

The problem is that, especially at work, we can’t always delegate. But we can still use social influence to our advantage. One rule is to never passively watch ambitious, efficient, successful coworkers; there’s too much risk that it will be demotivating. Instead, talk to these peers about what they’re trying to accomplish with their hard work and why they would recommend doing it. My research shows that when a friend endorses a product, people are more likely to buy it, but they aren’t likely to if they simply learn that the friend bought the product. Listening to what your role models say about their goals can help you find extra inspiration and raise your own sights.

Interestingly, giving advice rather than asking for it may be an even more effective way to overcome motivational deficits, because it boosts confidence and thereby spurs action. In a recent study I found that people struggling to achieve a goal like finding a job assumed that they needed tips from experts to succeed. In fact, they were better served by offering their wisdom to other job seekers, because when they did so, they laid out concrete plans they could follow themselves, which have been shown to increase drive and achievement.

A final way to harness positive social influence is to recognize that the people who will best motivate you to accomplish certain tasks are not necessarily those who do the tasks well. Instead, they’re folks who share a big-picture goal with you: close friends and family or mentors. Thinking of those people and our desire to succeed on their behalf can help provide the powerful intrinsic incentives we need to reach our goals. A woman may find drudgery at work rewarding if she feels she is providing an example for her daughter; a man may find it easier to stick to his fitness routine if it helps him feel more vibrant when he is with his friends.

. . .

In positive psychology, flow is defined as a mental state in which someone is fully immersed, with energized focus and enjoyment, in an activity. Alas, that feeling can be fleeting or elusive in everyday life. More often we feel like Baron Munchausen in the swamp—struggling to move forward in pursuit of our goals. In those situations it can help to tap the power of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, set incentives carefully, turn our focus either behind or ahead depending on how close we are to the finish, and harness social influence. Self-motivation is one of the hardest skills to learn, but it’s critical to your success.

A version of this article appeared in the November–December 2018 issue of Harvard Business Review.

Why You Don't Need Motivation to Succeed

Aytekin Tank is the founder of JotForm, an online software development platform used by more than four million people. Interestingly, he managed to develop his company without outside funding. SM translated his article on why habit is more important than motivation when you want to achieve a good result.

I cannot be called a model of motivation, and I am not endowed with incredible willpower. I don't get up at six in the morning and start the day with reading, meditation, a green smoothie and a 10K run. nine0003

And all because I don't believe in motivation. Instead, I created a system of habits that work no matter which foot I get up on today. And even if I do not feel hoo what motivation, I still have time for a lot.

Habits and personal efficiency system are not glamorous chatter, they really work. They have accompanied me during the last 12 years of my entrepreneurial life. I am convinced that if you can develop a set of good habits and follow them, you will no longer have to rely only on willpower and always look for motivation. nine0003

But let's go in order. First of all, what is motivation? In a nutshell, motivation is the desire to do something. Let's say motivation is measured on a scale from 0 to 10, where zero is a complete lack of interest, and 10 is the strongest desire to get down to business as soon as possible.

When you are enthusiastic, motivation comes naturally. But if you don't really want to start work, make a hateful call or go to the gym, the motivation is gone. What's next? That's right, procrastination. And you begin to reproach yourself for not doing anything. nine0003

As Steven Pressfield writes in his book The War for Creativity. How to overcome internal barriers and start creating” (The War of Art), “at some point it becomes more painful not to do something than to do it. ” I really like this quote. Sometimes it is the remorse of conscience and self-accusation of laziness that drive us off the comfortable sofa and force us to get up, put on our sneakers and leave the house.

In 2011 Daniel Pink's book Drive. What really motivates us” (Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us). In it, the author divides motivation into external and internal. nine0003

External motivation, as you might guess, comes from outside. It's money, or praise, or the fear of looking ridiculous on the tennis court. Intrinsic motivation is the desire to do something and act, which comes from within. Such motivation does not disappear even when the only reward is the activity itself (or its completion). Such motivation assumes that you are guided by genuine, respectable reasons. For example, you start a business because you want to help others or solve a problem, not out of vanity and just wanting to become rich and famous. nine0003

Motivation can get in the way if you rely too much on it. No matter how much you love your business, there will definitely be days when you don't want to do anything to develop it. Perhaps it will seem intimidating, or impossible, or simply boring. That's when the force of habit comes to the rescue.

Here are some ways that have helped me develop my system of personal effectiveness and not rely solely on motivation.

At first glance, concentration and motivation are two different stories, but in fact, these two concepts are closely intertwined. For example, for the current year, I have three priorities in the company: to hire really cool specialists, create quality content, and equip our users with tools for more efficient work. This year, these three goals define everything I do. If a project or opportunity comes up that is not related to the intended goals, I refuse. So I do not get distracted from the main thing and make progress. nine0003

For the first two hours of every working day, I write down my thoughts. I write about a problem I'm trying to solve or a new idea. I do not make appointments for this time and do not read the mail. If one day I'm not in the mood to write, I give myself permission to do something else if it's related to the three goals I'm currently focused on. Instead of writing, I can, for example, read articles and books on the topic, get together with the product development team, or watch a lecture. nine0003

All these thoughts make me feel more involved in the process. It brings me new ideas. And good ideas inspire action. This chain is not an accident, but a simple pattern that I created and use when the brain is tired of the routine.

In 2016, Melissa Dahl wrote in her article for The Cut magazine: “Don't do something just for the sake of doing it. That's probably the only motivational advice you'll ever need." Well said! How we feel doesn't always have to affect what we do. Especially if you want to be successful. You can be tired, but still grab your goggles and hit the pool. The idea of ​​lounging in your chair may seem more appealing than opening PowerPoint, but you can finish this presentation! nine0003

Melissa Dahl quotes Oliver Burkeman, author of The Antidote. The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking: “Who said that you must definitely want to do something in order to get up and start doing it? If you look at the situation from this angle, the problem is not that you lack motivation. The problem is that you think you need it at all.”

Yes, routine and boredom can outsmart you. You might want to get hooked on cat videos, but instead every morning you can sit down at your computer, create a new text file, and write for two hours (or as long as you plan). In this case, our feelings (most often laziness) should not dictate to us what to do. Progress is easy: you just do, do, do. And repeat this day after day. nine0003

A couple of days ago, during my morning workout, I had a great idea, one of those that lights up the brain like a light bulb that suddenly goes on. But here's the problem: it has nothing to do with the three priorities I'm working on this year. Then I wrote down the essence of the idea in notes on the phone and asked our CEO to pick up my idea and develop it. Of course, the temptation to get down to business himself was great, but concentration is above all!

It is not always possible to outsource the work to someone else, especially when you are just starting a business and the budget is not rubber. But in other cases, it can be a great time saver. Be sure to delegate authority in two cases:

  • If it frees you up an invaluable resource - time and energy that you can devote to work in really important areas. Try it and see the results. In the end, it is not necessary to transfer all the work at once, you can do it gradually.
  • Someone does it better than you. In my team, for example, there will always be a more expert person who understands the topic better than I do. Such a person will achieve a better result in a shorter time, and I will not be distracted from what was planned. nine0042

And enough about everyday motivation. Let's talk about how to maintain enthusiasm in the long run.

Everyone has their own recipe, but in general, we are all motivated by the pleasure of the process and awareness of the significance of what we are doing. On a tip from Oliver Burkeman, author of Antidote. An antidote to an unhappy life,” I met Susan Piver, a Buddhist. Tired of always having to do everything, Piver decided that the pleasure of work is much more important. nine0003

“When I reminded myself that my motivation is genuine curiosity and that my job is exactly what I want to do, my office turned from a labor camp into a playground,” says Susan Piver.

She thought about what she would be interested in doing and focused on those aspects of the work that bring joy. In the end, Piver came to the conclusion that she got as much done in a day as before, when she struggled to be "efficient." At the same time, the pleasure became much more. nine0003

“Discipline is a must. There are some not-so-fun things that just have to be done. For example, pay bills or clean the cat's litter box. But instead of hating yourself and your responsibilities, start diligently focusing on what makes you happy, ”Piver is sure.

Each of us has difficult moments, unloved work, sometimes it seems that life is damn unfair. But if you are doing what your soul lies in, do not judge yourself harshly. Remember why you started doing this at all, bring a little creativity into your workdays - this will help you find a little more happiness in everyday life. nine0003

In general, my secret is simple: instill habits, focus on the important, delegate things to others and get rid of the superfluous. This will increase your motivation level.

Well or not. Okay, you don't need it anyway.

How to do things when you don't feel like doing them / Habr

Five strategies for getting things done

Have you ever come to work, sit down at your computer to start a project, open the editor, and then just stare at the screen? This happens to me all the time, so I know your torment. nine0003

Even if you enjoy your job, you may not want to do it every day. There are many factors that affect your ability to come to work with enthusiasm and work all day long.

Your mind may be busy with external events—family problems, broken relationships, sick pets—which can make it difficult to concentrate. At work, of course, there are also problems that make it difficult to feel motivated. A bad review of your work can knock you down. And if you're working hard on a project that your manager doesn't appreciate, you might wonder why you're working so hard. nine0071
Other times, you may need to work on tasks you don't enjoy (for me, writing tons of tests or documentation) or boring projects. If your job is uninteresting, or the task given to you is too easy for you, you may have difficulty finding motivation.

So what to do? Many people procrastinate or ignore a task, but that only delays the inevitable. You can try to refuse to take on such a task, and your manager can support you - but at some point the work will have to be done. nine0003

If you want to be successful, you'd better find strength within yourself no matter the circumstances. This means learning to overcome obstacles and produce valuable results. Since this situation is common, I decided to describe my five best strategies for how to do a great job, even if I don’t feel like it.

Workflow gamification

I used to be afraid of especially big projects. If there are a lot of tasks in a project that I didn't know how to handle, or that seemed very difficult, I had a hard time even starting it, because I was overwhelmed by its magnitude. Of course, this meant that I procrastinated until there was a minimum amount of time left before the project was completed. After that, I tried to work an insane number of hours a day, and sometimes produced "working" code that was not ready for normal use (it was riddled with bugs, did not cover edge cases, was subjected to minimal testing, only worked in my development environment). This stressed me out a lot and usually meant that the quality of my work wasn't as good as it could have been had I just started earlier. nine0003

This was one of the biggest obstacles at the beginning of my career: it was very difficult for me to start. But I found that by simplifying the beginning of the process, the first steps along this depressing path were more tolerable. Once you've taken the first steps, it's much easier to move on.

My solution was to approach the project in a way that breaks it down into as many tiny steps as possible. In this way, I managed to chalk up many victories to my account. For example, one step could be a task like “google something” or “talk to someone”. Checking off list items provides your brain with happy little doses of dopamine, even if the tasks were tiny - it keeps you motivated and doesn't allow for excuses. nine0003

Try to break the project down into the smallest steps you can. Each step should be really small (I'm trying to achieve tasks that take no more than 15 minutes to complete) and really easy - so you can claim victory! You need to overcome inertia, and small wins add up to make it easier.

Reserve time on your calendar for each project

Set aside time on your calendar to work on a task if you're having trouble getting it started. Take it as seriously as you would any other assigned task or meeting. You must come and start working on the project. nine0003

Set aside enough time to actually make progress - at least 30 minutes to an hour. This is a key strategy for busy people or managers. If you don't set aside time for meaningful strategic work, your time will be filled with tactical tasks.

What if you don't feel like working on a task in the allotted time? Set a timer to start work. Set it to 10 minutes, and promise yourself that you should only work until the end of the timer. Start working on a list of tiny steps that you have made for yourself: google, set up a project, send one email, review a document. nine0003

Almost always, one or two of these steps will fire up your brain, and it will be easier to continue. You do one task, cross it off the list, and move on to the next. The 10 minute timer will end and you will continue because you are already involved in the project.

If you don't get involved in the project after 10 minutes (although this rarely happens to me), allow yourself a break. But set aside another time slot on your calendar so you can get back to the project soon.

Involve other people in the project

Sometimes the best way to do something is to make yourself accountable to the other person. According to a study by the American Society for Training and Development, people who promise something to another person have a 65% chance of achieving their goals. This figure rises to 95% when you agree to a special meeting with a progress report.

Our brains are wired to not let other people down. If someone invests in you by agreeing to help you achieve your goal, you are fueled by the desire to fulfill the promise. This can be done in several ways:

  • Set a deadline for the completion of certain aspects of the project with the manager, and discuss regular reports on the status of the project.
  • Ask for help with some part of the project. With the help of another person who reduces your workload, you can finish other parts of the project. Schedule a meeting with the person helping you to combine the results.
  • Schedule regular meetings with a colleague to work together. Let's say if the two of you are assigned to do some difficult tests that you'd rather put off, schedule a time to meet and finish them. nine0042
  • Embrace the Scrum part of the Agile technology and discuss the work with colleagues daily.

Delegating work can be especially useful when you have a really big project on your hands. Sometimes the scale of a project is so overwhelming that it's hard to get started. If you can ask the team to help with part of it, you can focus on more manageable work.

Talk about it

It will be much easier to deal with the problem by putting it in a concrete form. In our imagination, things can be greatly exaggerated, especially if we are overwhelmed by them. nine0003

Countless episodes when I started to tell someone about how much pressure the project was on me - for example, that I had no ideas for an article, or that the problem was so complex that I had no idea how to solve it - after which, by the end of the conversation, I was already inspired to the fullest. Other times, I'm so afraid that something is going to go wrong (or that something is already going wrong) that I'm overwhelmed by these feelings.

Scientific studies have shown that speaking about feelings reduces stress and discomfort. Brain imaging done at UCLA has shown that when a person is shown an image of an angry face, their amygdala becomes more active. This is the part of the brain responsible for activating the brain's alarm system - it lets you know that you have something to fear, and triggers a reaction in the body to deal with the threat. nine0003

However, when subjects could name what they saw, simply putting their feeling into words reduced amygdala activity. Moreover, in this case, the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex was activated. Other studies have shown that this area of ​​the brain is associated with the processing of emotions and the selection of words for emotional experiences.

So just talking about your big project can get you started. Also, if you're talking to smart friends or mentors, they may have suggestions on how to start a project or relevant experience with similar projects. You can relax and wise up at the same time. nine0003

Practice the art of "precrastination"

Do you have trouble working from home when you're distracted by dirty dishes in the sink or laundry that needs to be folded? You may have been called a procrastinator, but you may actually be the opposite.

I used to be a master at procrastination. I could find excuses not to start work and not even think about it. And, as I've learned over and over again, procrastination is bad. It comes from the fear of getting started, and you keep yourself from achieving results by doing things that distract you from what needs to be done.

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