A few years ago, I had a business partner who simply couldn’t make himself get things done. He told me he had the best intentions but simply couldn’t make himself do the things on his to-do list. At the time, I didn’t have much empathy. We were under deadline and I could not at all relate. I’d always just gotten things done when I wanted them done, period. But since then, I’ve definitely had reason to gain empathy.
In fact, just a few hours ago I was getting frustrated with myself. I wanted things to happen and I just couldn’t make progress. So I asked myself a few questions, pulled out a few things from my bag of tricks, and presto… I’m here writing my second blog post in an hour.
Because of that, I present to you in no particular order –
“The Top 7 Things To Do When You Can’t Get Motivated”
1. Ask yourself why.
Are you in alignment with what you’re working on? Is it something that truly revs you up and excites you?
One way you can find an answer is to take a couple deep breaths and just ask your gut – “Do
I want to be doing this?” Or, if you’re too stressed to get a clear answer, take out a piece of paper. Label it “Why can’t I get motivated?” and then start writing. See what comes up. If you stick with it long enough, you’ll get your answer.
If you’re not in alignment with whatever you’re working on, be honest with yourself.
It may be time to stop doing it – whether that’s abandoning a project (I have NEVER regretted
canceling a project because it didn’t “feel right”… even if my logical counterparts couldn’t
understand it) or outsourcing it.
Assuming you ARE in alignment with what you’re working on, here are some more things to
2. Listen to classical music at 60 beats per minute.
Music at 60 bpm balances the left and right hemispheres of your brain and helps your thinking and creativity.This type of music always helps me produce better results.
3. Work off of a plan.
Sometimes to-do lists can be random gobbledygook that ends up just being busy-work. Tim Ferriss once said something to the degree of how being perpetually busy is LAZY. People fill themselves up with loads of crap to to avoid actually thinking.
Instead of loading yourself up with work that may have no rhyme or reason, work off a
PLAN. Set a goal, plan it out (#6 on this post may help), and then create your to-do tasks based off
of your plan. If you feel purposeful and know WHY you’re doing what you’re doing, you will
likely feel a lot better about doing it.
(Bonus if you break up your plan into small, workable chunks so you don’t feel overwhelmed.)
4. Find inspiration.
There are many ways you can inspire yourself:
– Visualize what you’re doing this all for. Think about the emotions you’ll feel when you reach
PLEASE have an emotionally-driven “why” for doing what you’re doing… and remind
yourself of it.
– Identify “role models” and model them.
– Read books that motivate you. I personally love Man’s Search For Meaning (which is not
meant to be motivational but it inspires the heck out of me), Do The Work, and The War Of
Art. I’ve heard some great things about Outwitting The Devil but I haven’t read it yet.
5. Move your body.
If you feel blocked, it only makes sense to un-block your body by moving it around. This can look like going for a walk, dancing around the house, or some other kind of exercise.
One thing I like to do is just jump around and move my arms, legs, jaw… just shake
everything up. It looks crazy, but it ALWAYS snaps me out of a funk.
6. Create accountability.
This can look like publicly posting your goal on Facebook, having an accountability partner, or joining a like-minded mastermind where you can share your goals.
If you know that you have to report to other people about what you’ve set out to do, you’ll
think twice before ignoring it.
7. Be OK with it.
If you’ve tried to get motivated, and you know that you are in alignment what you’re doing, then just let go. Sometimes these things ebb and flow. I believe everything not only happens for a reason, but for our highest good. And sometimes letting go and not beating yourself up about it can open yourself up to magic.
For example, a few months ago, I was in a hotel room doing my best to “force” myself to create a presentation. I was set to speak in a couple days and I just couldn’t get motivated to create my PowerPoint.I pushed and pushed all day, and nothing was happening. By nighttime, I was getting desperate. I bargained with myself that I would order room service, finish the presentation, and reward myself by getting to go out and play.
Thankfully room service didn’t offer any options I liked, so I walked over to the hotel restaurant. I brought my notebook with me, but mostly just concentrated on eating a fantastic dinner.Somewhere in between bites of the delicious food and looking at the beautiful aquarium surrounding the restaurant, inspiration just jumped at me.
I got out my notebook and ideas flowed like wine. It was amazing… as soon as I stopped PUSHING, the flow came.
I suspect the same may happen for you too.