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How To Get Motivated To Get Things Done….

Following on from a previous post about “Why Being Busy is your most productive you”, a reader recently asked me the following question:-

How can stay motivated when I am not busy?”

Its true that when you are busy you long for days when you can finally have the space and freedom to tackle that never ending TO DO list – but when that day finally comes around, its far too tempting to do nothing at all and have a well earned break!

However, that really doesn’t get you closer to finishing things!

We all have days (weeks, months….) where we just can’t get going. Things seem to overwhelm, we lack energy, we procrastinate over whats most important to get done – and ultimately time passes and nothing seems to change apart from that TO DO list gets bigger…..

The trick is to be as motivated to get things done when no one is making you do them, as when you are busy with work or something that other people rely on.

Keeping motivated can help you get your life more balanced too – if you can motivate yourself to stick to a schedule in your week, then you can actually schedule in down-time and not feel guilty about it. And there’s nothing better than that!

So here are my top tips on getting motivated – the tricks that organised peole use to get themselves motivated and to get things done – and I really hope that they help! Feel free as always to add your ideas in the comments section right at the end of the post – I would love to see how you motivate yourself, and you may just help someone else too!

Set realistic goals

If you set yourself too much to do, then usually you don’t get everything done, and feel deflated by the end of the day. We all have massive TO DO lists, and think that by having 10 or more on our list to do today we will get more done – but actually more often than not it doesn’t work like that.

Things take longer than expected – there are unplanned interruptions to your time etc…. – and you may get one or two things done.

After a few days like this your subconscious will be sending you signals that there’s not much point of doing this, as you are always left with things to do by the end of the day. So you stop being motivated to do anything.

Actually – if you set yourself one major item and a couple of smaller items eah day from your TO DO list (only when you have time to do them!), you will feel much more motivated to get them done, and more often than not will be able to do more!

If you set realistic goals to your days, then you will come out of overwhelm and into productivity!

Set rewards for jobs done

Theres nothing like coming home at the end of a long day in the office/looking after kids etc… and having a long bath (I use bath as my example as this is my treat – but put anything in this place that would work for you!).

Knowing that you have something to look forward to may be all the motivation you need to get things done.

You could set large rewards for larger projects, and small rewards for the day to day things – but whatever you do – ensure you have the reward!

Some ideas are as follows:-

  • Bath with a good book
  • An evening out with friends
  • A favourite meal / takeaway
  • Calling someone
  • Chocolate and Tea with a magazine
  • A half hour walk in the fresh air at the end of the day
  • A catch up with a friend
  • A morning swim when the kids are at school

The list really is endless!

Take more photos

Now, this may seem a strange thing to do, but it really works, so give it a go!

If you are organising/decluttering/cleaning/doing something visual – take a photo BEFORE YOU START THE WORK. If you are undecided about whether you want to do it then seeing it in a photo may make you more motivated to get it done (things look different and you won’t be used to seeing the details of your messy space in this way).

Also – once you have finished, retake the photo in the same place as you were previously. When you compare the two pictures you will be amazed at the changes – even though you may not think you have done a lot. People forget very quickly what things were like before, but there’s great satisfaction in seeing how far you’ve come, and you tend to want to do more!

Get yourself noticed

Its a thankless task keeping your home looking good – and family aren’t always quick to notice the little things. Of course, if things didn’t get done then they’d start to notice more!

I’m not suggesting going on strike, but simply letting people know what you are doing and getting them to see the progress may be all the motivation you need.

If you don’t find this in your home, then ask a friend to come over and see what you are doing. If you are reorganising your wardrobe for example, then they will be able to see the difference you’ve made – and simply having someone that knows what you are doing will give you motivation to get it done for the next time they see it!

Teach kids good habits

If you have children, then there may well be motivation enough in wanting to instill good habits in them – as they will see what you do and how you live, and want to copy you.

Its also a great asset to have children who care about their home – that tidy up after themselves and help a little around the house. That way you’re all motivating each other to keep things nice – and you get more time to do other stuff!

Can’t have people over?…

If you are sick and tired of making excuses about why you can’t have people over to your house, and you are constantly opening the door just a crack so that visitors can’t see inside, then its time to change!

The harsh but effective way to get over this is to actually take it on properly and hold a party in a few weeks/months time. If you send out invitations then you are on a deadline from then on, and that can really give you the motivation to get sorted once and for all!

Another slightly easier option is to start at the front door and slowly work your way into letting people in without feeling embarrassed. Once people get into your hallway and its all organised and tidy, you’ll have more motivation to continue on to other rooms – and before you know it, you’ll have visitors all the time!

In summary

Getting motivated is one of the most difficult things in the world, especially when you aren’t really busy, but some simple tricks can really help keep you focused and get things done, while still giving you time for treats!

Set yourself realistic goals, make yourself accountable for things, and show others a good example, and you really will get there in no time.

** This post may contain affiliate links - to find out more please see my disclosure policy


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  • Summer Daza

    Great tips!
    I am a remote worker and I am also struggling on being motivated. I’d like to think staff that are working from home are more than productive than in-house employees. However, I have to admit that it’s very difficult for us to stay focused on work because of a lot of distractions at home and on the internet, and of course because we are working from the comforts of our home. That’s why I use a little bit of help on some updated apps and tools.
    What motivates our team to stay away from distractions is a reliable software called Time Doctor. It’s got screenshots, it’s also like taking photos every 6 minutes on your computer screen so you could see the the update of your work.

    • Hi Summer – looks like a great peice of software – will take a closer look and feedback to my readers! – Thank you

      • Summer Daza

        That would be awesome. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to reply. I appreciate it.

  • Sophia Walks

    Good approaches to get motivated in terms of getting the things done up. Motivation in all possible form comes up with the ideology that defines the sort of things that has to be carried out and done up. Above all the time factor is one such approach that seems to be top level priority to work out with. I have been motivated with the prior usage of time-tracking-software that helps me stay ahead with all possible aspects.

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