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Tips & tricks for when you lack motivation

A lack of motivation can be caused by many things, such as, overwhelm, boredom, stress and a lack of achievable goals. Not feeling motivated can make it harder to get things done, in this article you will find some tips and tricks to help you get started when you’re lacking motivation.

Finding The Smallest Possible Step

Breaking tasks down into small steps can make them feel less overwhelming, making it more likely you will start. Sometimes these ‘small’ steps can still feel like too much, that’s when you need to look for the smallest possible step.

For example, say you have to type a 1000-word essay, you might think the smallest possible step is writing the first paragraph or maybe the first sentence but it’s not, there are many smaller steps before you get to that. First you need to open your laptop, then you need to open a Word document, write the title, find your notes, and read the instructions.

So if writing that first paragraph seems too difficult right now just open your laptop. After that see if you can take the next smallest step (sometimes starting is the hardest part), if not give yourself permission to take a break knowing you are one small step closer to your goal!

The 2-minute rule

This is very similar to finding the smallest possible step, except instead of doing a small task you set a time limit. Two minutes is a good option, but this can be adjusted to suit you, maybe you just want to try for 30 seconds or even 5 seconds. At the end of this ask yourself if you could continue for another two minutes (or however long you decided) and again if not give yourself full permission to stop and take a break.

Pairing activities

If you are finding it hard to start because the task is boring, it might help to pair it with another activity. For example, listening to music while working, putting a podcast on while washing up, having the TV on in the background while cooking or talking to a friend on the phone while tidying.

Doesn’t have to be perfect

Sometimes you might not be able start a task because you’re trying too hard to do it perfectly, in this situation it might help to do it badly on purpose. This can help by taking away the pressure. You can always go back and edit later!

Set a challenge

Setting yourself a challenge can help to make the task more interesting. There are many ways you could do this, for example, challenging yourself to tidy the kitchen before the kettle boils, trying to beat the number of words you wrote in 10 minutes yesterday, seeing how many emails you can reply to before the end of your playlist or trying to spot at least 10 dogs on your walk before you get back home. You could also decide on a reward if you complete the challenge or complete it a certain amount of times.

Be kind to yourself

Remember to be kind to yourself and recognise that you don’t need to be productive every day and it’s okay to take a break. If it happens regularly and is affecting your wellbeing, speak to your doctor or a mental health professional.

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