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Everyone feels overwhelmed and bogged down by the stuff they need to get done each day. You’re not alone. Sometimes, you just don’t want to do anything – certainly not what you thought you would do. But deep down, you know that to be successful, you need to take massive action and find a way to get things done!
It doesn’t matter whether you feel like it or not; you just have to do it.
The beauty of motivation is that it doesn’t have to come from within. Instead, you can get it from outside sources like a friend or a coach, or from within yourself – even your future self.
Good news; you don’t have to wait for motivation. You can be successful and productive even when you don’t feel like it. Let go of the need for motivation and just do what you have scheduled yourself to do based on the goals you’ve set for yourself.
To succeed, you need to find a way to finish your tasks even when you’re not motivated. Thankfully, it is possible to succeed in a way that makes your life enjoyable too. This quick guide covers five ways to get things done, even when you don’t feel like it.
Let’s get started.
Prioritize & Schedule Everything
It’s not surprising that everything begins with how you prioritize and schedule the things you need and want to get done. Unfortunately, most people only schedule tasks outside their everyday lives, but this is a mistake. You need to prioritize and schedule everything you want to accomplish, whether it’s when you check your email or have a family game night.
The other factor is that you must give yourself the right amount of time for each task. For example, if you prioritize going to the gym every day but often find yourself out of time, likely, you’re likely not giving yourself enough time for every task. Remember transportation time, set-up time, doing time, breakdown time, and rest time. Include that in your schedule so that you know you are giving yourself the appropriate amount of time to finish.
Prioritizing and scheduling everything is necessary if you want to get anything done without motivation. It starts by ensuring that you set up your schedule correctly. Then, when you tackle the most important things first or the most dreaded tasks, depending on what they are, you can add them to the schedule. That’s how you’ll get them done without motivation by simply doing what’s in your schedule by rote.
The only way to set your priorities properly is to figure out what you need to do when it needs to be done, and how long it takes you to do it.
For example, if you have a project at work that is due in six weeks, you will need to set a priority to work on it every workday until it’s done. But, of course, when you have a never-ending to-do list, it is challenging to decide what to do first. So to get things done, you need to know how to prioritize your tasks.
Here are some ideas to help you prioritize your tasks:
- Create a to-do list – Write down everything you need to do, then rank them in order of importance. Start with the most critical tasks and your most dreaded tasks, and work your way down.
- Use the ABC method – With this method, you categorize your tasks as A (important and urgent), B (important but not urgent), or C (not important). Focus on your A tasks first, then your B tasks, and finally, your C tasks.
- Use the Eisenhower Matrix – Like the ABC method, categorize your tasks as urgent, important, or not important. Your most important and urgent tasks are your “do now” tasks, while your less urgent and important tasks are your “schedule” tasks. When you’re done, the tasks listed that are not urgent or important are your “delegate” tasks.
- Use the Pareto Principle – This principle says that 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. So with that in mind, focus on the tasks that will give you the most bang for your buck.
No matter your method, the key is to be ruthless in your prioritization. Don’t try to do everything at once – it’s impossible. Instead, focus on the most important and most dreaded tasks, and you’ll get it all done in time if you also put it in your schedule.
Remember, you want to schedule everything you want to do, including when you eat, sleep, watch TV, and spend time with your family. Schedule all the fun stuff first, your self-care, your family responsibilities, and then the other stuff. It’s a much more realistic way to manage your schedule because you will see how much or how little time you have available.
Match the Work with Your Energy Level
To-do lists seem to grow exponentially while hours in the day remain the same. So how can you get everything done and still have time for yourself?
The answer is to learn how to prioritize and schedule your day as mentioned above and when you add the tasks to your schedule, match the things you need to get done with your energy level.
Accomplishing this will require you to be brutally honest with yourself about when you have the time and energy to do specific tasks, and when is best based on the other things you need to do and your general environment.
For example, if you know you want to watch your favorite show the minute the new episode comes out, don’t schedule your accounting during that time, and don’t schedule family time either. Instead, schedule the truth, which is that you are going to watch your show.
Likewise, don’t schedule a five-mile run first thing at 5 AM if you’re not generally up at 5 AM or energetic enough. Again, if you schedule things during the wrong times, you set yourself up for failure.
Once you’ve identified your top priorities based on your method for determining what a priority is, look at your energy level. If you’re feeling fresh and full of energy, tackle the most challenging items on your list first. You’ll be able to get through them quickly and then move on to the rest of your list with ease. However, if you’re feeling tired or low on energy, start with the easier items on your list.
Use a method like the Pomodoro Technique to get started as it helps you focus and get things done. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method based on 25-minute stretches of focused work (a session) broken by five-minute breaks. Longer breaks, typically 15 to 30 minutes, are taken after four consecutive Pomodoro sessions.
You can still make progress on your to-do list even if you don’t have a lot of energy. Just focus on getting through the items that are easier for you and save the more challenging tasks for later. But also consider whether you’re giving yourself enough time to do a good job. This miscalculation often causes procrastination because you’re trying to accomplish the impossible.
You may also want to consider breaking up your day into blocks of time. For example, you can dedicate the first two hours of your day to work on your top priorities. Then, take a break to recharge your batteries. After that, you can finish up the rest of your to-do list. This approach can help you stay focused and avoid burnout.
The most important thing is to be flexible and adjust as needed without giving up on the tasks. Of course, some days will be more challenging than others. And that’s okay. Do your best with the time and energy that you have. The more self-aware and mindful you are about your energy levels, the better you’ll get at advanced planning and scheduling.
Simply Get Started
Even if you make a perfect schedule and everything is appropriately prioritized, it’s easy to let a lack of motivation keep you from getting started.
But did you know that you can overcome these frustrating feelings of dread by just getting started? Your feelings and mood don’t matter as much as you think.
It may seem counterintuitive, but getting started is often the most challenging part of any task. However, once you get going, the momentum can help carry you through to the end. Think about the last time you wanted to do something. Maybe it was a project you were passionate about or a goal you were determined to reach. However, you probably didn’t just idly dream about doing something great – you started taking action.
The same principle can be applied when you feel less than enthusiastic about a task. Just getting started is usually enough to help you get into a flow state and get the job done. The truth is, spending time dreading and thinking about it is a waste of time. When you get started, all that will fade away, and you’ll also get done.
If you still have a hard time getting started, it might help to break down each task into smaller, more manageable steps. Just like you may need to review your timeline, look at the steps to make them simpler and shorter. Then set a timer for just ten minutes or go back to the Pomodoro Technique.
Whatever you choose to do, get as much done as you can as quickly as possible without allowing anything else to distract you. If you feel like continuing when your timer goes off (and more than likely, you will), keep going until you’re done. Just like any journey, it starts with a single step. After that, the path becomes clear.
Remember Why You Are Doing It
It’s easy to get involved and distracted by the little things and lose sight of your end game. When you’re in doubt, remember what motive lies behind your actions. Remember your “why.”
What will completing this mean to your life?
To remember why you are doing something, think about your goal and what it will mean for you to achieve it. What new skills, abilities, or resources will you gain by completing this task? How will your life be different?
In any journey, it is essential to have a north star, something to keep you oriented and motivated as you travel. Your why is that north star for your life, the thing that keeps you moving forward even when the going gets tough.
If you’re struggling to remember your why, here are four tips to help you get back on track.
- Simplify Your Why – When caught up in the day-to-day, it’s easy to lose sight of your overarching goals and what you are working towards. Break your why down into its simplest form so you can always keep why you’re doing “it” at the top of your mind.
- Write It Down – Any time you want to remember something, write it down. Write down what happened and how you felt about it. Keep your why somewhere visible so that you can see it every day and be reminded of what you’re working towards.
- Share It With Others – When sharing your why with others, it not only helps them to understand you better but also helps you become accountable. When you know that others are aware of your goals, you’ll be more likely to stay on track.
- Revisit It Often – Your why may change over time, and that’s okay. No one stays the same when they are continuously learning and growing. Life is constantly evolving, and so are your goals. So make sure to revisit your why regularly to ensure it still aligns with your current situation, needs, and – more importantly – your principles, morals, and values.
Recalling why you are doing something will help you overcome the hurdle of not wanting to do it. Once you actively remember your goal and what it means for your life, it’s easier to take the necessary steps to achieve it.
Reward Yourself for Good Discipline
Research shows that offering yourself a reward for completing a task can help you get it done. Rewards work because they provide motivation and a sense of accomplishment, which can help increase your productivity.
As you can see, maintaining focus and discipline day in and day out takes a bit of planning. An effective method to help you become more productive and get things done is to plan rewards as you plan your schedule.
- Make the Goal Realistic – It’s hard to be motivated if you are constantly setting goals that are impossible for you to meet. If you set a goal to write a blog post and are not a seasoned writer, be mindful that it may take you more than an hour or two to have something editable.
- Make the Goal Smaller – It might be too much for you to set a reward for just the end of a task if it’s a long-term task like writing the next great novel. Instead, you may want to reward yourself when you finish each part of the process, for example, the outline or a specific number of words in one particular time frame.
- Make It Immediate & Tied to the Task – When it comes to rewarding yourself, it is important to make the reward immediate and connected to the task. For example, if you are trying to write an eBook, you might decide to reward yourself with a manicure after you finish. Then, if it takes longer than you thought it would, you can’t have the reward until you finish. This way, you will be motivated to complete the task to receive the reward.
- Be Consistent – Don’t promise yourself a reward and then skip it. The experience of motivation comes after you finish something, not before. Therefore, you need to allow yourself the entire experience of getting the thing done, rewarding yourself, and being mindful of how you feel about it.
- Ensure the Reward Isn’t Undermining Your Success – It’s vital to make sure that the reward does not undermine the progress you have made. For example, if you have eaten healthily all day, you should not feast on junk food in the evening. Instead, you could reward yourself with a massage so you don’t defeat the purpose of a reward.
Other good rewards include taking a break to watch your favorite show, walking, or taking a nap. The key is finding something you will look forward to, which will help you stay on track and not undermine your progress.
Get Things Done!
As you can see, it is possible to maintain focus and discipline even when you don’t feel like it. In addition, you can increase your productivity by revisiting your goals often, setting realistic goals, and rewarding yourself for good behavior. The main thing is to be mindful and self-aware enough to set up your schedule to match your energy levels. It is imperative to also understand who you are and what drives you so you can use that information to become even more productive.