We’ve all been there.   You stare at the computer, to-do list, or exercise machine and feel zero motivation.

You waste time doing low value, easy tasks that keep you busy but don’t move you toward your goals.

Motivation and productivity ebb and flow and seem to disappear randomly and without warning.

So what’s the cure?

Here are 10 keys to being more motivated and productive: 

1)  Leverage the settings and conditions that naturally inspire you and boost your performance

Think about the times you feel most engaged and excited when doing tasks.  When does stuff just seem to flow effortlessly?   What is it about those times that is energizing?   When you have a sense of what environments, circumstances, and situations help you be at your best, then try to replicate those as much as possible. These variables could include time of day, music you listen to, what you’ve eaten, physical location, who you interact with, etc.

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2)  Clarify the reasons why you really want something

Tap into the deeper psychology of what accomplishing something will do for you.  What will you gain?  How will you feel when you get there?   Visualize the positive emotions and outcomes that you’ll have when you reach your goal(s).   If your reasons don’t seem that motivating, then keep digging to find deeper benefits.   If you can’t find any, ask for input from family and friends, who can sometimes help you see the bigger picture you may have lost sight of.


3)  Have a plan, goals, activity lists, and timelines for getting things done

As they say, what gets plans gets done, and if you don’t have a plan you plan to fail.  Going about your day or week without any strong sense of direction and clarity will make your days less productive and will slow down your path.  Start with the big picture of what you want to accomplish.   Then break your vision down into 3-5 big goals/milestones, and actions to take on a monthly/weekly/daily basis.  Add in timelines based on what’s realistic, taking into account any contingencies for obstacles that may come up.


4)  Keep a list of what you’ve accomplished

It’s easy to get so focused on specific strategies and tasks that you don’t stop to acknowledge what you’ve done so far.    Take time to write down what important steps you’ve taken, people you’ve talked to, what you’ve learned, etc.   The more un-motivated you are, the more small items of action you should write down, so you really can see what you’ve been working on.   Review your list each week.  As your list grows, you’ll more easily feel a sense of progress.


5)  Assess what might be holding you back from starting, continuing, or completing a task

Think about the real reasons for your hesitancy or lack of interest.  Is it due to a lack of clarity, skill, knowledge, or confidence?  Is it fear of something or doubt of success?  Is it just boredom and lack of novelty/challenge?  Do you really believe that the action or tasks will lead to getting what you want?  Really look at your beliefs and ensure that you don’t have any conflicts.  If you do find some conflicting beliefs, then determine if there is a way to think about the issue differently to get rid of the conflict.


6)  Look for examples of others who’ve been successful in getting what you want to achieve

One of the biggest motivators is seeing someone living the life you want to live or achieving the same goal you have.   When you see the success of others, it serves as a reminder that things are possible.   It can also spur your competitive instincts if you’re someone that enjoys competition.  If possible, use these examples to get information on methods that work best to save yourself time and/or costly mistakes.



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7)  Reframe unpleasant or uninteresting tasks as something positive

Sometimes the biggest obstacle to your motivation and productivity is that you’ve made up your mind that you’re not going to enjoy the task.  Maybe it’s become boring, routine, or makes you physically exhausted.  So you associate that work with discomfort, boredom, pain, etc.  Brainstorm ways to make tasks more exciting, less draining, etc.  Can you do the same work using a different method, or by getting help?  Can you think of the task differently, such as a way to build more skill, exercise mastery, express creativity, or do good for other people?


8)  Reduce clutter and stay organized

Discipline yourself to establish good filing systems, and use folders for projects.  Keep your work space neatly organized and throw out unnecessary paperwork and clutter at least once a week.   Consolidate to-do lists and contact lists.   Leverage technology to store things electronically and reduce paper flow.


9)  Listen to music that boosts your emotional state and mental alertness

Music can be a powerful influence over your mood and level of mental clarity.  The right songs can make you feel more confident and in control, and can make tasks seem lighter, more fun, and more doable.  Develop a playlist of your most empowering and mood-boosting songs that you can listen to either before or during critical tasks.


10)  Manage your self-care routine with good quality food, sleep, exercise, hydration, and time off

Nothing destroys productivity and motivation faster than physical exhaustion, mental fog, back pain, etc.   Avoid running yourself down by not eating right, skimping on sleep, not drinking enough water, or not taking time off.  See your self-care routine as a critical part of success.  Remember, the goal is to sustain your productivity and motivation over the long-term, so fuel yourself properly for the journey and pace yourself.

DIVE DEEPER:  Boost your motivation, performance, and confidence by mastering how you think about your life story here.

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