We could all do with being a little more productive, but motivation, or more accurately a lack of it, is what’s holding most of us back.
Here are 5 simple motivation hacks to help you get things done...
1. Tell everyone
It‘s virtually impossible to get anything done if you personally don’t think it’s that important. If you don’t do the washing, finish that blog post, file those documents, you’re only letting yourself down.
This first motivation hack involves telling other people what you plan to achieve. That way, if you don’t do it, you’re letting other people down and facing embarrassment over not doing things you claimed you could. I like to call this the ‘Shout About It method’.
Leo Babauta of Zen Habits calls this 'Positive Public Pressure'. Babauta used this technique to help him run his first marathon. By writing a regular column in his local newspaper about his training, Babauta felt motivated to carry on. While he recommends the method, he also warns against putting negative pressure on yourself...
“While pressure is often seen as a bad thing (“I’m under too much pressure!”), if used properly it can actually be a good thing. It’s important that pressure not be applied in too negative a way and too high an intensity. Keep things positive and at a manageable intensity, and things will move along nicely.”
2. Don’t break the chain
This motivation hack comes courtesy of comedian Jerry Seinfeld and is a great way of getting motivated to do everyday tasks.
Software developer Brad Isaac claims he asked Seinfeld for some advice about comedy writing. Seinfeld told Isaac to get a big wall calendar and red marker pen…
“He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. ‘After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt.”
After a few days of marking his writing on a calendar with an ‘X’, Seinfeld became motivated to not break the chain. This motivated him to keep on writing every day.
Thanh Pham of the Asian Efficiency blog recommends reminding yourself why you want to do this task to get clarity and help motivate you even further...
“Before you start implementing this technique – you first need to be clear with yourself why you want to do this. Write it down on your calendar or on a piece of paper why you want to start doing this particular activity every single day.”
3. Hang around motivated people
We all have that friend who seems to get everything done and more. Someone who gets up at 6am to go jogging, has finished work by 3pm and manages their happy, healthy family. This is the type of person you should be spending more time with.
It’s hard to ignore your lack of motivation when you’re spending a lot of time around motivated people.
Sales Consultant Mark Hunter believes hanging around with positive, successful people will help you to get motivated and stay that way...
“You become who you associate with. Just as you can’t allow yourself to associate with negative people, it is just as important to associate with highly motivated people. Highly motivated people will help motivate you.”
4. Track your progress
When you’re busy working on a lot of different things each day, it becomes difficult to remember what you actually did. You can end up losing perspective, feeling exhausted yet unsure of what you’ve actually achieved.
“Small wins happen almost every day, and it would be a pity to let them go by uncelebrated. They pave the way to accomplishing great things, so consider taking stock and thinking more consciously about what you get done. You’ll gain an important source of motivation, accountability, and direction.”
5. Break it down
Nothing kills motivation more than trying to tackle an impossible task. We’ve all tried to tackle a project so huge we just don’t know where to start, and most of us will end up putting it off.
David Caolo of Unclutterer.com, believes that defining smaller, actionable tasks will help you tackle large projects.
“The key to burning through your to-do list is clearly defining what must be done. “The presentation” is not a good action step. “Write first draft of presentation” is. The difference is that the first word is a verb. In fact, all of the steps listed above start with a verb. Try it when writing your own to-do lists. It’s great to know exactly what must be done.”
What are your favourite motivation hacks?