motivationWith Christmas and holidays just around the corner it can be easy to let your mind wander to all the things you want to do when you are not at work.  It’s at times such as this that you can find your motivation is missing in action, and procrastination is your friend.

So if your motivation levels are feeling a little low, here’s some ideas to kick start the engine:

Just start – we have this curious notion that motivation somehow appears. It doesn’t. It comes from starting. So when you don’t want to do something, just sit down and start whatever it is you need to start. Yes, this takes discipline, and so it can help to have a mini goal.  You can say to yourself, ‘I’ll work on this for 15 minutes and after that I can have a cup of coffee’.   What’s interesting is by the 15 minute mark you will likely keep going to get the task finished

Set daily intentions – At the start of each day, set clear intentions on what you want to achieve during that day and write it down.  When it’s written down it is harder to ignore the task, then if it just floating around as a thought bubble in your head.

Shift your environment – our environment has a huge impact on how we work, so if your mojo is lacking find somewhere else to work.  It may be a café, outdoors or working from home.  Use the change to disrupt your normal pattern of behaviour and you may find inspiration hits.

Break it down – Set your daily work schedule to dedicated chunks of time.  It’s best to work in 30 – 60 minute time blocks with a break when you finish a task.  Highly productive people will tell you that they time-box their work day, and set aside the morning for highly complex thinking.

Make it public – Tell people what you want to achieve in a way that is hard for you to get out of.  When we commit publicly to doing things we are far more likely to see it through.  It can also help to find an accountability buddy who will help you remain focused on your publicly stated goals.

Get physical – We all know that exercise releases endorphins.  Endorphins make us feel good about ourselves, and when we feel good it is easy to get started on things that matter to us.  If you want further evidence on the importance of exercise read this article.

Listen to music – Music has long been known to impact how we feel and there’s lots of research which looks at how it impacts the motivation to exercise. An article in Scientific American reports that “Music distracts people from pain and fatigue, elevates mood, increases endurance, reduces perceived effort and may even promote metabolic efficiency. When listening to music, people run farther, bike longer and swim faster than usual—often without realizing it.” So just as music motivates how you exercise, it can motivate how you work.

Track progress – Monitor how you are progressing and keep the results visible so it is easier to know how you are going.  When you are working on a big project, you will be motivated when you see that your daily efforts are helping you get closer to your goal.  Research shows that making progress is a huge factor in keeping us motivated.

As the well-known author, Robert Louis Stevenson said, Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

With that in mind, I think it’s time to get motivated!

Change happens.  Make it work for you.

Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’.  For more information: www.michellegibbings.com or contact michelle@michellegibbings.com.