How To Increase Productivity When You Feel Unmotivated

Today, I want to discuss how to increase productivity when you feel unmotivated. Motivation is becoming a precious natural resource in the modern business era. We have more distractions at hand than ever before. Finding productivity can be difficult at times. Most of these distractions are cleverly engineered to make us feel good about getting literally nothing done. We also seem to have stress and complexity piled on us higher than ever before, making the temptation to succumb to distractions almost painfully irresistible.

Yet, we can’t give in. There is much to do and a limited time to do it in. No matter how much we want to play hookie from work or sneak off to play some Candy Crush on our phones while no one’s looking, our responsibilities, challenges, and the tasks we’ve procrastinated on will still be there when we get back. Worse, they’ve probably gotten only bigger and uglier while you hid from them.

So how do successful people avoid this trap? It’s not because they have stronger willpower than you or because they are somehow naturally motivated all the time. Instead, they know ways to force themselves back into the grind even when it feels like the last thing they want to do.

For those of us struggling to stay productive when we feel like procrastinating, here are a few tips the pros use to boost motivation and get themselves going again:

Bribe Yourself

The easiest way to find motivation is to force yourself into doing something with the promise that you will reward yourself later for it. So how do you increase productivity? As the unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt says, you can stand anything for 10 seconds, so just stretch that timeframe further to get at least a little bit of work done and see where that gets you when you are done.

If your goal is to accomplish a task or work without distraction on something for at least 30-45 minutes, you can then reward yourself with a short break. You can also give yourself a literal treat, such as chocolate. Chemicals in chocolate can release dopamine and help wire your brain for better motivation as part of a positive feedback loop. Just don’t “over-motivate yourself” into a bigger pants size!

Get Rid of Distractions

If the temptation to get distracted is too great, remove the temptation.

You can use apps like StayFocusd or SelfControl to block out certain websites that kill your productivity. By allotting a limited amount of time for distractions or locking yourself out from distractions for a set period, you can realign your focus and get more done.

Use an Inspiration Trigger

Much like how a mantra or totem can help people feel strong, using an image or quote as inspiration can help push you through the toughest of slogs. Try using a peaceful, natural image with lots of green, or look to a quote from a hard-working individual you respect to try and think more like they do.

If you use these devices well enough, sometimes all it takes is another glance to find the productivity you didn’t think you had.

Focus on “Why”, “What” and “How”

A lot of times, we feel unmotivated because our to-do list seems to pile up so high that it’s casting a shadow on our mood.

You can gain a feeling of control over this backlog and help boost motivation by taking a second to write it all down. Jot down your current task backlog from memory on a blank document or a physical notepad. Then, mark the tasks you need to do most immediately, including the one you’re having trouble mustering the courage to start.

You can even outline the task you intend to do. No matter how many times you’ve done the task before, writing an execution strategy can make you feel more confident while making big tasks seem small.

A way to get an extra boost is to write down a short sentence as to why you are doing the task. If you can focus on the goal you hope to accomplish rather than the nitty gritty of the task itself, you can slog through it with more energy.

Setting Goals to Boost Motivation and Maintain Productivity

All motivation and productivity essentially comes from your inner drive to get things done. We all have overarching goals, like “break a sales record this quarter,” but without the ability to focus on smaller goals, our big ones become mere pipe dreams.

If you can see the forest for the trees and meet the day-to-day grind head-on, you can feel satisfied knowing you’re on your way to getting more done to reach your life goals — and eventually being in a happier place for it.