When Wednesday rolls around your motivation to keep getting things done may have lessened considerably.
I know that is sometimes the case for me at least.
So in this week’s post I’d like to share the top 20 tips and habits that help me to refuel my motivation to get past that midweek hump and keep working in a focused way until Friday afternoon is here and the weekend awaits.
I hope you'll find something here to help to make your Wednesday even better.
1. Start small (or tiny).
If a project, a task or the next step at work or in school today seems tough or daunting and you wind up procrastinating then break it down into small steps. Steps that take just 5-10 minutes each.
Then get started on that first step to start moving forward once again.
I find that doing this not only gets me out of procrastination but also refuels my motivation and makes the next few steps forward easier and more fun again.
If breaking what you are about to do into small steps still lands you in procrastination then break your task down into tiny steps. Steps that only take 1-2 minutes to complete.
And then get started with the first tiny step.
The most important thing is to just get going and to start moving forward no matter how you actually do that. So be sure to use small or tiny steps frequently to get started and to get to done.
2. Play music that boosts your energy / changes your mood.
One of the easiest ways to boost my motivation right now as I write this is to take a 10 minute break and to play a bunch of songs that are upbeat or inspire me in some way.
Such a break often helps to change my perspective to a more open and inspired one and it becomes easier to move forwards after the break is over.
3. Compete in a friendly way (with others or yourself).
One way to make things more fun even if the task itself is boring is to make completing it into a friendly competition.
If you want you can add a small price for extra motivation like the winner getting a free ice cream or a can of soda from the other person.
Or you can compete with yourself. See if you can do a task faster than the last time – while still delivering a good result – to get some motivation flowing.
4. Remind yourself of what you are working towards.
When the motivation is low during your Wednesday morning and you just want to go back to bed then it’s easy to lose sight of why you’re doing something in the first place.
So take a couple of minutes and write down your top 3 reasons for why you are doing this work at school, at your job or with your business.
Put that physical note where you cannot avoid seeing it every day or turn it into a reminder on your smartphone that pops up once a day for easy access to that motivational boost.
5. Let the motivation flow from other people.
This is perhaps the easiest and simplest one to use if you feel unmotivated.
Simply let the motivation, enthusiasm and energy of other people into your mind, day and life.
I often do that nowadays by reading a chapter or so in a book in the Kindle app on my smartphone (currently I'm reading “The Psychology of Money” by Morgan Housel, it’s a good one).
6. Declutter and create a workspace that adds a bit more motivation.
When my work space is messy then I find that I have trouble focusing and so it’s easy to get stuck in procrastination in a lack of motivation.
If that is the case for you too then take 5 minutes right now to declutter your work space. Throw out the things that should not be there like old notes and coffee mugs. Put the things that are important back into their homes.
Then, when the work space is decluttered and in order again change your working environment a bit by adding some motivation:
- Put up a note with an inspiring quote or a photo of a loved one on your desk.
- Add a bit of greenery like a small plant if possible (this one’s maybe not for everyone but helps me to connect a little bit with nature and to relax when I work).
- Add a new and inspiring desktop wallpaper for your computer and one for your smartphone too.
7. Tap into gratitude for what you do have.
When you’re tired and in a motivational slump then in my experience it is easy to start seeing pretty much everything in your life through a negative lens. And so your motivation may stay stuck or even sink lower.
One of the quickest ways to get yourself out of that headspace is to tap into gratitude.
So I ask myself this:
What are 3 things I sometimes take for granted but can be grateful for in my life?
My answers when I asked myself this the last time were that I don’t have to go hungry, that I have a roof over my head and that I have an emergency fund if I need it.
8. Mix things up.
A rut can get you mentally stuck in negativity. So mix things up today.
Sit in a new spot when you do your work. Listen to other music or podcasts than you usually do. And go for the lunch option that feels the most new or different to you.
This simple variation can in my experience help to renew that motivation.
9. Take a 2 minute meditation break.
When my mind is overloaded and a bit tired (especially in the afternoons) then I quite often take a 2 minute meditation break to get rid of the mental clutter and inner tensions and to find a clear focus again.
Here’s how I do it:
I sit down on my comfy sofa and close my eyes. And then I just take slow belly breaths and focus 100% on the air going in and out for 2 minutes. And that’s it.
10. Find the optimism.
Pessimism can be a big drain on energy, creativity and motivation.
Optimism and a constructive perspective can on the other hand refuel your motivation and help you find a path forward.
So when I’m in what looks like a negative situation I like to ask myself questions like:
- What’s one thing that’s good about this situation?
- And what’s one hidden opportunity here?
11. Be kind to yourself when you have a setback.
It’s all too common to be hard on yourself if you fail or stumble.
Avoid that trap of self-beatings that will not help but just make you feel worse by asking yourself this when you have just had a setback:
How would my friend/partner/parent support me and help me in this situation?
Then do things and talk to yourself like he or she would.
12. Learn from your mistakes and stumbles.
We all make mistakes and have setbacks. It is just a normal part of a life well lived.
But when you’re in the middle of such a situation then it can feel tough. A good way to get back into action and to find a motivated perspective again is to see what you can learn from what happened.
I like to ask myself this:
What is one thing I can learn from this setback?
Then I write that lesson down or keep it in mind as I move forward.
13. Compare yourself to yourself (instead of to other people).
When you have the habit of always comparing yourself to other people and their achievements then that can easily become something that drags you down and zaps your motivation.
Because there is always someone that is smarter, richer or more successful than you no matter how much you have or achieve.
A healthier and smarter way to compare is to compare yourself to yourself. To see how far you have come and all the things you have overcome.
Do that to keep your motivation and self-esteem steady and let the often toxic habit of always comparing yourself to others go.
14. Reduce that overstuffed to-do list to just one item.
One look in the morning at a too long to-do list can make anyone lapse into procrastinating for a long while.
I know, I have done that many times.
So here’s a better way I use a to-do list nowadays.
I take out a piece of paper and write a list for my day with just one task to get done. Usually the one that’s most important to me right now or sometimes the one I’ve been procrastinating on for a while.
Then I get started by taking a small or tiny step.
And I have another list in my to-do list app with other tasks to do later on. But I don’t look at that list until the task I wrote down on paper is done.
15. Work out.
Working out doesn’t just affect your body.
I have found over the past 15 years that maybe the biggest benefit of just 20-30 minutes of lifting free weights is that it releases inner tensions and stress and makes me feel more focused once more.
16. Don’t skip your breaks.
I know, it’s tempting to skip taking a break and to just keep working to get more done.
But that’s a very short time solution as your energy, focus and motivation will dip and you are more likely to do work of lower quality, make more mistakes and start procrastinating.
So don’t skip the breaks.
They are just as important to keep doing consistently good work and keep your motivation up day after day and week after week.
17. Look back at your successes (and let them wash over you for 2 minutes).
Sit down and close your eyes.
Let your biggest successes – no matter what area of life they may be in – just wash over you for 2 minutes and let those positive memories and feelings boost your motivation.
18. Start slow.
If you see in your mind that you have to get started with something now and that you have to do it fast, fast, fast then that can sometimes lead to the task feeling too hard and so you procrastinate.
So instead, start slow.
It is better to get started and to do something at a slow speed than to not get started at all.
Plus, when you work at a slower pace – sometimes to just get started and sometimes until the task is fully done – you tend to make fewer mistakes and that may in the end save you both time and trouble.
19. Remember what Michael Jordan said about failure.
If you see failing as this big thing, as a big blow and oftentimes as the sky is falling then you could easily develop a fear of failure.
And so you try to do something one or two times and then quit. Or you don’t try at all.
A better way to look at this to make many of the dreams we have into reality is to look at failure as a stepping stone towards the success you want.
As valuable feedback that may sting for a little while but in the long run is more of a learning experience than something that will hurt a lot or is to be feared.
I often think of what Michael Jordan said about this when I have failed or I just want to amp up my own motivation to keep going:
“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
20. Just get started (and let the motivation catch up with you).
An important reminder for me is that I don’t actually have to wait for motivation to get started.
I can just get to work with what I need to do anyway. And on some days this is what simply works best to keep that consistency in my work up.
But here’s the funny thing: after I have worked for a while, after I have taken a few steps forward then things feel easier, lighter and more fun. And so the motivation to keep going, to get my task or project to done catches up with me.