There are simple, yet effective strategies to effortlessly increase your motivation in the moment. With a little planning, you can integrate easy steps into your workday for more motivation, right when you need it. This post is part one in a three-part series on motivation.
Imagine walking into your office first thing in the morning. Maybe you’re rocking yoga pants and a blouse or a well cut suit. You’ve had your bulletproof coffee and can’t wait to get started on the day.
And then it happens… your inbox has 50 unread messages with little red flags everywhere screaming ‘click on me!’ One by one, you plug away at the emails until two hours fly by, with little to show for it.
You’ve just spent your most productive working time doing a whole bunch of work for team members and clients, with almost no progress on your own projects.
Adding insult to injury, two hours of frenzied execution – while worrying if you put too many exclamation marks in an email to sound professional, but enough to sound friendly – depletes and exhausts your creativity.
Your neck feels stiff from slumping over the computer screen. Depending on the tone of your emails, your heart may even be racing under the stress of a timely response.
If you are an ambitious, multi-passionate professional, you cannot afford to wait for inspiration to strike in order to tackle your biggest projects.
As a creator, it is your responsibility to generate motivation and excitement for your work.
I promise you, no one else will. They would rather have your help on their big projects.
Thankfully, there are three rules of thumb to effortlessly increase motivation. Whether your energy is flagging or you have a tendency to procrastinate, follow this protocol for more motivation in the moment.
Tip # 1: Move Your Body
The etymology of the modern word motivation gives us an interesting perspective. The word motivation comes from the Latin word motus: serving to move.
This word origin sheds insight on an important principle – motivation is not just about getting excited and increasing energy. It’s about moving. Getting started. No matter how small.
So let’s move! When you feel like your motivation is flagging, think about this word origin – and move your body.
Movement circumnavigates the whole procrastination process, by putting your body into a fresh, prepared, energized state. When our mind is in a motivated state, it feel easier to do the hard things and overcome the procrastination game in our minds.
By putting your body into a different physical state, you can influence your mind’s feeling of motivation.
Motivation in the Moment: Movement Exercise
- Think about the one thing on your plate that is giving you the most anxiety today. Maybe it’s tackling a tech issue or starting a complex research project.
- Holding that project in mind, now assume a posture of motivation. That might mean sitting tall, breathing deeply from your belly, softening your jaw, and even putting your hands on your hips a la super woman.
- Stay in this posture for four to eight breaths. Direct your awareness to this feeling of motivation in your body.
This exercise is a surefire way to shift your physical reality and effortlessly give you the increased energy you need to stay motivated.
The good news is the more often you put your body in the physical state of being motivated, the easier it will be to get into that state.
Tip #2: Connect to Your ‘Why’
Once your physical and mental energy is bubbling and raring to go, connect with your greater intention. Why do you really want to work on this project?
When faced with a task that is frustrating, keep the end goal in mind.
Maybe that tedious excel project is getting you one step closer to taking your family out to dinner. Or perhaps a frustrating meeting is getting you one step closer to growing your presence and respect with your colleagues. Cleaning the dishes may represent one tiny way of expressing your love for your spouse.
Excel, meetings and dishes may not seem worth the effort, but a special family memory, collegial respect and love? Sign me up!
Keeping the end goal in mind also puts us into a phase of increased creativity, so we might be able to identify new, better ways to bring our real intentions to life, that we may not have even considered before.
Tip #3: Define ‘Enough’
Before you start any task, begin with the end goal in mind for more motivation.
Many of us have a default idea of the ‘perfect’ end point – the complete house should be so clean that it sparkles in the sunlight.
High achievers have a tendency to go above and beyond. Even when ‘perfect’ is not necessary. If you find yourself worn out from aiming for perfection, let me ask you, why? Is that level of perfection needed to achieve your goals? Or is a form of ‘productive’ procrastination, you know, that feeling you get when you get absorbed into a task just to procrastinate a more important task? Don’t let perfect get in the way of progress.
Avoid running down the rabbit hole to perfection by deciding what ‘enough’ looks like ahead of time.
Maybe two hours on a research project is ‘enough,’ even if you’re not sure where your research might take you. Writing one article of 500 works could be ‘enough,’ even if you’re tempted to write a 1,000-word masterpiece.
When you know what ‘enough’ looks like, it easier to just get started and skip that nasty procrastination dance, when you’re cleaning your kitchen counter the third time in a row to avoid starting a big unwieldy project.
Now that you have these three rules of thumb, don’t waste another moment of your precious life procrastinating what matters.
Everything – from house chores to board presentations – is easier with a spirit of motivation. By moving into action, knowing your why, and defining your ‘enough,’ you are ready to get started on the next needle-moving action that will bring you one step close to your dreams.
I love hearing from my readers – and get extra motivation from your incredible stories. What are your greatest rules of thumb for generating more motivation? What challenges do you face when staying motivated throughout the work day?