How To Get Motivated When You Really Don't Want To Work

How To Get Motivated When You Really Don't Want To Work

Are you feeling worn out this month? Or feeling the tug of a Netflix binge? If you're struggling to get motivated to work when you really don't feel like it, here's how to get your mojo back... 

1. Reward yourself

I’m a big believer in the persuasive power of rewards. Mine usually involve a glass of cold bubbles. This time (you know it), it’s an episode or two or my favourite bad guys, Walt and Jesse. Hank, when are you going to catch on?

2. Break down the job

Break down that job into tiny, manageable pieces. Then it doesn’t feel so much like work. This is especially helpful if you haven’t started it yet. We all know that starting is often the hardest part.

If I'm writing a blog post, I’ll start with the title. Then I'll check the title in Coschedule and do a graphic in Canva. After that, I’ll jot down some bullet points around the post. Then find a few images. And then flesh out the content. By that stage, it’s pretty much done! 

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3. Make a list

The power of lists! I love them. I’ll write down the most inane things like “send that email”. But writing lists motivates me to get on with the job. Just the process of writing them down fuels my enthusiasm for a project, not to mention the great satisfaction of ticking each one off!

4. Remember why you’re doing this

Maybe it’s for the money. Or a cause you believe in. Or you want experience in a different area. Or because you know you'll enjoy it once you get going. Take a moment and think about why you’re doing this particular job.

There was a reason you said yes to this job and client. Keep your eye on the prize. 

5. Have a whinge

There’s something so liberating about getting things off your chest. That’s evidently why water coolers were invented - a means of bringing together colleagues for a good old whinge. Call up a sympathetic friend or just your hapless partner and let it all out. You’ll feel much better once the angst is out, and motivated to just get on with the job. 

6. Take a break

Go and have lunch or coffee with a friend and talk about totally unrelated matters. Go for a walk. Read a book. Have a nap. Cook dinner. Just switch off for half an hour. Sometimes you can get too fixated on everything that needs to be done which is a surefire way to overwhelm and exhaustion. 

Then come back to your task refreshed. 

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7. Cut the crap

Look at your to do list and see what’s just taking up vital space. Prioritise what you need to do and do that first. For example, deadlines are more important than non deadline work, paid jobs more important than blogging. 

Be ruthless with what has to be done and what you can cut. 

8. Put yourself first

This is a hard one especially for working parents as we regularly tend to put ourselves last! Before every school holidays, I stress about organising activities for my kids to "keep them busy". But then I remember that it's also good for them to just stay at home and play with their toys. No commitments to playdates and activities means no driving, no pickups, no coordination. One less thing. Phew.

Sometimes the same principle applies at work - put your needs first and the rest can fend for itself. 

9. Set a knock off time

As freelancers, we often tend to keep working till the cows come home. And then some. But we also need to relax and get our beauty sleep so we can keep going the next day.

Plus, by setting a end time, we’re effectively giving ourselves a deadline. Which is often the best motivator of all!

What lights a fire under your unmotivated bottom? 

About the author: Lilani Goonesena is a freelance communications specialist for small businesses and organisations, based in Canberra. She works on Squarerspace web designSEO content and digital marketing strategy. She writes an awesome newsletter on digital marketing, social media, blogging, web design and "all that online stuff".