Updated: Mar 15, 2019
Whether you’re a CEO of an international corporation or a stay-at-home mom, there’s work that needs to be done.
If you’re like me, then you’ve got a list of to-do’s longer than a CVS receipt, and your motivation to do them is pretty much in the negatives. However, my ability to shrug these off and get to the playing part of my day is seriously uncanny. How is it that I get the fun stuff done so much quicker and easier, yet I can barely start on the “work” part?
It’s like no matter how full I am, I always have room for dessert. So how do I make room for the healthy stuff?
Well, lucky for you I have 9 tips and tricks that I’ve started implementing into my routine that have successfully given me that push I needed to start crossing things off that list, while also not hating every moment of it!
Before I begin, just remember that success is a habit. We can’t do things a couple times and give up because the results aren’t there. Chances are you really won’t notice a perceivable change in anything until almost a month down the road when a habit is formed, or a routine carved out. Also, this is definitely easier said than done. But also most good things are never easy.
Alright, let’s just dive right in!
#1: REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED
At the beginning of all of my ideas, I’m always the most passionate and excited. Kind of like youth, nothing has happened yet to give me a reason to slow down. I’m energized and full of enthusiasm. So if you’re having trouble starting on your dreams or doing the things you know you need to do, or you’re feeling intimidated by the massive workload, ask yourself why you originally embarked on this journey.
Just because the seas got a little rough doesn’t mean you should just turn around and go home. If you remember your mission, and keep the reasons why you started at the front of your mind, then everything else is just a means to those ends.
Just like a Justin Bieber-obsessed schoolgirl who waits in a line for three days straight just to get a glimpse of the Biebs. She doesn’t waver at the idea of sleeping on a sidewalk for half of a week because she remembers that if she does, her little world will be freakin’ complete.
#2: EASY STUFF 1ST.
The first hour of my day almost always sets the pace for how the rest of my day will go. If I spend it groggily scrolling through my Instagram news feed, chances are my day will be a lot slower, and it’ll take me a lot longer to get going. It’s physics. A body at rest wants to stay at rest.
However, if I start my day with some strong coffee and running around the house straightening up, I’m like the most productive person ever for that entire day. I create this momentum by knocking out my quick and easy to-do’s first thing in the morning.
All the things that take a few seconds or minutes to do: go through mail, pay a bill, make a phone call, fold a blanket on the couch…it gets me moving and the rapid crossing off of things on my lists makes me feel super good! It’s the warm-up before the big game.
#3: TAKE A WALK/GO FOR A DRIVE
This is one of my favorites. If you’re suffering from writer’s block, can’t find the motivation, or you just flat out aren’t feeling it today, then GO OUT INTO THE WORLD.
By going for a walk, you’re getting your blood pumping and giving your body some vitamin D. Changing your environment is actually incredibly powerful. I find that my moods tend to mirror my surroundings. This is why I write my best stuff in nature! It’s quiet, I feel the sun’s warmth on my skin, and I have no distractions.
Jumping in the car and driving aimlessly can relieve stress, too (unless the traffic is overwhelming). Crank up your favorite tunes and watch the world go by. Open the windows and smell the Earth’s perfume. It reminds you what’s important, while also giving you a break from all the chaos.
(This tip also works for overtired children who are suffering from cabin fever or just doing their best to fight off sleep).
#4: STOP THINKING!
One day, I asked somebody what they were thinking.
They said, “I’m trying to think of why I can’t get up and just do something.”
And I replied with, “Because you’re too busy thinking about it.” I seriously to this day have no clue where those words came from, because they definitely didn’t feel like my mind made them.
But it made sense. I do this all the time—I’m faced with the day’s priorities and scheduled tasks, and I either spend too much of an effort on planning them out or too much time thinking what it will be like doing these things.
If I have to write a ten-page paper in three days, I probably put more time into dreading writing this thing than I actually spend on writing it. Instead I’ll start thinking about everything I won’t be able to do if I decide to write it, or I’ll just feel totally intimidated by the size of the assignment. Then, starting it seems almost futile.
Once I start, that means I’ve invested. Am I really ready for such a commitment? These are all things that happen in my mind every time I set out on a larger undertaking. I knew these thoughts of mine had to be stopped before they manifested into an unbeatable addiction.
So every time I felt myself starting to think this way, I’d mentally yell at myself to stop thinking, and just do.
Most of the time, if not all, our own mind is the only thing in between success and us.
When this happens, I’ve started turning off my brain and just letting my body take over. It knows what it needs to do.
So let it. Once you’ve obtained your momentum, wake your brain up from its little catnap and continue. I think it’s possible to think too much. A little break now and again can be healthy, and actually can boost your productivity more than you think.
#5: 10 Minute Recharge.
Okay, sometimes I crank this one up to 20-25 minutes.
AND IT WORKS EVERY TIME.
There are days I wake up just utterly exhausted, with absolutely no drive to lift a finger. I attempt to do things, and I keep talking myself out of them and quitting right after I start.
I know this is my body telling me I need to rest a little more.
Now, this idea tiptoes on a very thin line. You don’t want to rest too often, because your body will get in the habit of needing a rest or nap every day. Don’t do it enough, and you will over exert yourself, which ends up requiring more recovery time.
When a football player injures a knee, he doesn’t play right away because the two-week break he takes is a lot shorter than if he were to go back too soon and hurt it worse.
But sometimes, we need this break. We need a second to stop. To just chill, and recharge.
When I feel this necessity arise, I lie on my couch (not your bed! This encourages a much longer sleep). I set one alarm 10 minutes away and another 5 minutes after that one. If you feel no different, or worse, then give yourself another 10. But whatever you do, DO NOT GO OVER 30. I call that the point of no return.
During this time, focus on your deep and slow breathing. I try to think of nothing, which is so much harder than it sounds. When I feel thoughts coming I direct them down a lane of positivity. I’ll count all the things I’m grateful for, I’ll brainstorm ideas, or maybe even wonder about the things I’m going to do when I get up.
This not only erases any anxiety, but it makes me feel rested, motivated, and positive about the life I get to live when I wake up.
Now, every once in a blue moon. I can tell my body is just done. So, if I have the chance, I’ll succumb to the sleep and just wake up when, well, when I wake up.
Remember, even The Big Guy Upstairs took a day to rest.
This leads me to my next one.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m big into the power of thought. I believe our minds sculpt our realities.
Negative thoughts lead to a habit of living a negative lifestyle.
So every night, I ask myself what I would like to accomplish tomorrow. I write them down. I imagine myself doing them. I decide what order I will do them in (or just make a loose thought of this).
In other words, I add details to my thoughts so that I can manifest them.
“I think therefore I am,” Descartes tells us. So think about how productive your tomorrow self is gonna be.
The more I do this, the more inclined I am to actually make them happen.
It’s kinda like when an architect forms a blueprint from her ideas. It makes the actual construction part more conceivable and possible, and the realness of the image gets her really excited for the next step.
#7: Treat Yo Self.
If a boss only yells at you for your mistakes, how much harder does it get to keep doing the things you actually do that they aren’t noticing?
I’m not saying I always need a pat on the back for everything I do, but it’s just really nice to balance some good with the not so good.
So do this for yourself!
If you crossed quite a bit off your list or you did something you’ve been putting off, then reward this good behavior! This totally makes you sound like you’re training yourself. Actually that’s exactly what you’re doing. Because a reward once in awhile feels damn good. Appreciation goes a long way! Even if it’s from yourself.
Finish that paper? Go have a drink at happy hour. Finally did your spring-cleaning? Who cares if it’s November, TREAT YO SELF (thank you Parks and Rec—terrific show by the way).
Not only are you forming a habit, but you’re also giving yourself something to look forward to when you’re trying to do all the things that need to get done.
#8: History’s Advice.
In writing, they tell you how important it is to read. Not because you should write exactly how others have written, but reading other people’s work can give you answers, fix your mistakes, and spark some inspiration.
Whatever field you’re in, or whatever it is you’re trying to complete, lookup quotes or passages about that topic.
I guarantee everything you’re looking for has been said and done by someone before you. Can’t get past writer’s block? Search what famous writers have said about getting past it.
Don’t know how to start cleaning? Type in “Motivational quotes from stay-at-home moms” in the search bar.
The different perspectives are bound to tell you exactly what you didn’t know you needed to hear.
#9: Call your person.
I have several different people in my life who stimulate different parts of myself.
If none of the above works and I’m kinda down in the dumps or feeling stuck, I call one of these people (depending on the situation I’m in).
You’ll find that the people who really love you, are the ones who can always bring you back to yourself. They push you to do the things that you know you need to do but won’t, they tell you the things you already know but choose to ignore, and they always have your best interest at heart. They are the ones who are always and forever there.
So call one. And tell me you don’t feel confident and invigorated afterwards.
And finally, #10: MAKE IT FUN!
Let’s face it, people choose the wrong path because the good way is either not enough fun, too hard, and/or it doesn’t give an immediate satisfaction.
So it’s time to make the good way the fun way.
Trying to get up early and run? Don’t make it a chore. Make it an outing you look forward to. Create a sweet-ass playlist to jam to. Have your coffee ready to brew the night before. Invest in some awesome clothes and shoes.
Wanting to eat healthier? Lookup some really unique recipes that are quick and fun to make. Pack up a your fancy meal and go on a picnic with your special someone, or just fly solo and enjoy the world in front of you.
Make a routine, switch up the old, bring in the new, embrace change, spice up the dull, make yourself laugh, go somewhere new, wear something bold, listen to different music, bring a book, and remember that “boring” is a state of mind and you’ve got the cure right in your thoughts.
Good luck with your dreams and your endeavors, and may work and play coexist within you. Because, we need both to get to where we want to go, and to get there with a smile on our face. Life is too short to not play enough, and it’s too long to never work towards greatness and be able to see what you’re really made of.
You CAN do it,
**If this is all useless to you, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's gab about it! Maybe we can help each other out!**