Staying Motivated on Off Days

We’ve all been there. Maybe it’s a Friday after a long week, maybe the weather is cold and rainy and dreary, maybe you just need a mental health day ASAP. Sometimes you just can’t get yourself to be productive on days like these. You just want to curl up in bed and read a book or watch trash TV all day. I feel you. That’s where I’ve been at for the past two days. I just need a break from the day-to-day. Even still, though, it is important that I stay (somewhat) motivated to make deadlines. These are just a few ways that I stay motivated to complete tasks that need to get done even on those super off days.

Make a List

This is how I start each day. I always like to have exactly what needs to be done (including action steps and deadline dates) written down and clearly visible. This helps me to know what I can put off and what definitely needs to get done today. When I’m lacking motivation, I do only what needs to be done. While this is probably a bad habit, I find that on those off days, this method of listing out all of the time sensitive tasks keeps me productive, but gives me a break on the usual finish-one-task-start-the-next routine I keep. As soon as I finish something, I cross it off my list. This tiny action helps me feel accomplished, which in turn helps increase my motivation to complete the rest of my tasks.

Schedule Out Time On My Calendar

On days when I don’t want to do anything, I schedule out the time to do work on my calendar. I find this super helpful to keep me committed to actually starting the task, instead of waiting until the end of the day and rushing to get everything done. I’ll typically schedule out more time then it will take to complete the task. For example, when I have an email to send, I’ll block out 45 minutes. This way I can write the email and let it sit for a while. I’m not great at writing emails so my M.O. is to write it, take some time to do something else, and then go back and read it. If it still seems right, I’ll send it; if not, I’ll take some more time to edit it. By blocking out more time then necessary, I get a little break during the task. I can read an article online or scroll through Pinterest and still be getting things done. Like I said, when I’m having an off day I list out everything that 100% needs to be done. This makes my to-do list much smaller than normal. By only have a few things to be completed, I find that this calendar technique almost tricks my mind into thinking I’m slacking, when in reality, I’m actually being somewhat productive.

Drink Lots Of Coffee & Water

 

I actually don’t know if the coffee part of this is good or not (probs not), but it’s what I do. I always have a large iced coffee from Dunkin in the morning no matter what. When I’m having a hard time getting things done, I’ll usually stop by Starbucks in the early afternoon or right after lunch and get another coffee. Obviously the caffeine helps to keep me awake and alert. I also drink a lot of water when I’m feeling unmotivated during the day. It is always good to stay hydrated, but I feel like drinking water helps wake me up a little, as well. I also chew a lot of gum. Like with the coffee and water, I think engaging as many senses as possible keeps me focused a bit better.

Go For A Walk

I always do this. As soon as I finish a task, I go for a quick stroll around the office or walk up and down the stairs a few times. It helps break up the time. I also find walking to be relaxing and something that I enjoy doing. Sometimes I won’t even stop and talk to anyone, I’ll just leisurely stroll and get my blood flowing. There are so many negative side effects to sitting at a desk all day, and I personally (no scientific evidence whatsoever) think that it can mess with your mind, too. When you’re looking at the same computer screen all day, I feel like you can go mad. That is why I always walk around my office building and switch up my view. Then, when I get back to my desk, I’m a little more prepared to start my next task.

All in all, when you’re struggling with motivation to get work done it is such a personal experience. These are a few things that usually work for me to get me to be somewhat productive during the day. Make sure to let me know what you do!

With love & lilies,

Lauren

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