Motivating yourself is way harder than motivating others, well you are thinking now, I know about that, that’s why I am here to know how actually I can motivate myself to do things. Don’t need to worry, In this article, you will definitely find the solution.
“I don’t want to do this work” But I have to do it
There is a project you have left on the table. The deadline for the project is near, But you do not have any intentions to complete the project. So how to do that work? how to motivate yourself to do that work?
No matter how generally motivated you are, all of us have some tasks that we don’t want to do. Maybe we find them boring, pointless, draining, time-consuming, annoying, or anxiety-producing. So how do you get moving in these types of situations?
The first step is to recognize that getting motivated doesn’t mean that you have to experience a particular feeling, like excitement or anticipation. Instead, motivation is simply one or more reasons you have for acting in a certain way. You can decide to do something without ever getting excited about it by finding a personally meaningful way.
For example, you could choose to do something because it will:
- Lower your anxiety.
- Benefit someone who you care about.
- Lead to financial gain.
- Avoid a negative consequence.
- Make you feel good about yourself.
- Clear your mind.
- Align with your values.
- Reduce stress.
I don’t want to do this because I don’t feel like doing it.
Solution: Make like Spock and ignore your feelings. They’re getting in your way.
Oliver Burkeman mentioned in his excellent book "The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking", points out that much of the time, when we say things like “I just can’t get out of bed early in the morning, ” or “I just can’t get myself to exercise,” what we really mean is that we can’t get ourselves to feel like doing these things. After all, no one is tying you to your bed every morning. Intimidating bouncers aren’t blocking the entrance to your gym. Physically, nothing is stopping you – you just don’t feel like it. But as Burkeman asks, “Who says you need to wait until you ‘feel like’ doing something in order to start doing it?”
Think about that for a minute, because it’s really important. Somewhere along the way, we’ve all bought into the idea – without consciously realizing it – that to be motivated and effective we need to feel like we want to take action. We need to be eager to do so. I really don’t know why we believe this, because it is nonsense. Yes, on some level you need to be committed to what you are doing – you need to want to see the project finished, or get healthier, or get an earlier start to your day. But you don’t need to feel like doing it.
In fact, as Burkeman points out, many of the most prolific artists, writers, and innovators have become so in part because of their reliance on work routines that forced them to put in a certain number of hours a day, no matter how uninspired (or, in many instances, hungover) they might have felt. Burkeman reminds us of renowned artist Chuck Close’s observation that “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.”
So if you are sitting there, putting something off because you don’t feel like it, remember that you don’t actually need to feel like it. There is nothing stopping you.
I don’t want to do this because it’s hard, boring, or otherwise unpleasant.
Solution: Use if-then planning.
Too often, we try to solve this particular problem with sheer will: Next time, I will make myself start working on this sooner. Of course, if we actually had the willpower to do that, we would never put it off in the first place. Studies show that people routinely overestimate their capacity for self-control, and rely on it too often to keep them out of hot water.
Do yourself a favor, and embrace the fact that your willpower is limited, and that it may not always be up to the challenge of getting you to do things you find difficult, tedious, or otherwise awful. Instead, use if-then planning to get the job done.
Making an if-then plan is more than just deciding what specific steps you need to take to complete a project – it’s also deciding where and when you will take them. For example:
- If it is 2pm, then I will stop what I’m doing and start work on the report Bob asked for.
- If my boss doesn’t mention my request for a raise at our meeting, then I will bring it up again before the meeting ends.
By deciding in advance exactly what you’re going to do, and when and where you’re going to do it, there’s no deliberating when the time comes. No do I really have to do this now? or can this wait till later? or maybe I should do something else instead. It’s when we deliberate that willpower becomes necessary to make the tough choice. But if-then plans dramatically reduce the demands placed on your willpower, by ensuring that you’ve made the right decision way ahead of the critical moment. In fact, if-then planning has been shown in over studies to increase rates of goal attainment and productivity.
I realize that the strategies I’m offering you – thinking about the consequences of failure, ignoring your feelings, and engaging in detailed planning – don’t sound as fun as advice like “Follow your passion!” or “Stay positive!” But they have the decided advantage of actually being effective – which, as it happens, is exactly what you’ll be if you use them.
Even if we never feel particularly motivated by a task, we can find a reason to move forward by looking beyond the task of the results.
The second step for success involves coming up with a strategy for getting tasks done when you have a low to non-existent emotional drive. Depending on the task and your work style, one or more of these strategies may help. You can consider these methods as tools in your toolbox when you’ve come up with a reason to take action on a task but still feel uncertain about how to complete it.
One set of action-taking methods includes involving other people in the process. This positive social pressure can provide the impetus to get something done. This could look like delegating part of the task, teaming up with someone else to complete the activity together, getting accountability, or simply being present with other people who are also working. In regard to the last point, for some of my time management coaching clients, this can look like sitting in a library where other people are also getting work done or even having a virtual session where they work on a task while someone they know is on the other side of Skype also cranking away.
Another set of action-taking methods revolves around how you structure your approach to the work. These types of strategies, each illustrated with an example, can help you to gain momentum when you have the low drive to move forward:
- Put a low-frequency activity ahead of the high-frequency activity. For example, I can’t open my email until I’ve filed my expense report.
- Give yourself a standard time. Every Friday from 2-3 pm, I have time blocked in my calendar for weekly planning, and I honor that time as sacred for that activity.
- Limit the time commitment. I need to work for 10 minutes a day on this task and then I can stop if I want to do so.
- Set the bar low. I just need to take one action step a week on this activity.
- Get ‘er done. I want to get this entirely off my plate so I’m setting aside a whole day to complete the task.
The third set of action-taking methods involves pairing unpleasurable activities with pleasurable ones to boost your overall mood. This could involve giving yourself permission to do a more difficult task, like writing or putting together a presentation, in a location you really like, such as a cozy coffee shop or even a park if the weather’s nice. You can also try layering tasks, such as listening to music or a podcast while organizing your office. Even getting a little physical activity in during the process can help. I may have been known to practice speeches while going on walks. I probably look a little funny, but I get two activities done at once.
When you employ one or more of these strategies, you may not make speedy progress or perfect progress. But you can move tasks forward, slowly but surely, and get the things done that you don’t naturally want to do.