Recently people are raving about time management skills. Almost every big company has time management workshops, and you can find it in nearly all of the job descriptions. It is like a top skill people want you to have, because they think it will get things done. Don’t get me wrong, it is very important, and when there is loads going on and you are buried with paperwork it can be useful. However that it is not what I wanted to talk about, because although I think it is crucial to have a good working balance, there is something worse stopping people from acting upon their plans, actually two things that are interlinked with each other. It is procrastination and lack of motivation.
Hands up those of you who have the same problem, and don’t be shy, we all know that you have candy crush installed on your phone. And you! Yes I am talking to you. I know that you watched 5 episodes of a new series on Netflix last night! Does it mean we would figure out how to cure cancer if not for Netflix? I don’t think so, but it would definitely help you to get certain things done. Procrastination and lack of motivation are those things that stop you from going to the gym on a Friday afternoon. They are also responsible for cancelling plans on your friends at the very last minute. I know you lied last weekend when you said you couldn’t go for drinks because you were very busy. Admit you wrapped yourself in a duvet and finished the whole bar of chocolate in bed!
Maybe you planned to learn a new language? Are you saying to friends that you want to start blogging? Did you mention reading that coaching book that someone from work recommended to you? You still haven’t finished that assignment? Most people are full of ideas; they want to try new things. Wouldn’t it be great? No regrets, no pressure, no stress. Easier said than done! How do you actually do it?
Here are 12 examples of how I fight with procrastination and lack of motivation:
- I know it might sound ridiculous, and you will probably say how can that help, but if you want to do something, just do it. Start and it will flow. Starting a task is actually more difficult, than finishing it. Just force yourself, give yourself a mini kick in the butt and start doing something!
- Boost your motivation by talking with some who you admire or perceive as a highly motivated person. Find out what motivates them, as everyone will be different.
- What helps me is to read or watch a show about people who have succeeded, after that I feel I want to be where they are at some point in my life, and it forces me to act upon this feeling.
- Make a list, why you have to or want to do the task or activity and have it as a reminder of what you actually want to achieve.
- Make a motivation board – visualization always helps.
- Split a massive task into sub-tasks, it might help, as it will look less scary than a massive project you came up with at the beginning.
- Reward yourself for completing a task. I am not talking about McDonald’s after you finally reached the doors of a gym though! Do something nice for yourself. I take a long bath after the gym. I always go to Lush and treat myself to their bath bombs after I finish an assignment for University.
- And if your lack of motivation or procrastination derives from fear of failure, you have to remember one thing, not trying is worse than failing, because you disappoint yourself.
- Some people perform well, when nice stuff surrounds them. I was more eager going to the gym after I bought new shiny trainers. I like to write articles, because I like to work on my MacBook. It always motivates me when my room has proper lighting and I have some fresh flowers to cheer me up. Don’t lock yourself in a ‘basement’! Invest in your workplace and your work ‘equipment’.
- Set yourself a target, when I have an essay to write I promise myself to write 500 words a week, and it does help, 5 hundred sounds less scary than 5 thousand!
- Sometimes lack of motivation can be associated with being overwhelmed, maybe you are trying to do to many stuff at once? Prioritize what is important for you at the moment. If it is work environment then learn how to delegate, maybe there is a colleague who wants to develop certain skills and they would be happy to help on a project in order to get more experience.
- At the end of the day keep a log of time you spent on not doing something or pretending you are doing something, I promise you that when you see it on one piece of paper you will be terrified you are wasting your life like that!
How about you? Do you have any ‘solutions’ to lack of motivation? What is your way to fight with procrastination?