Tiffany Sun
Dec 19, 2017 · 4 min read

Being unmotivated is a nasty feeling.

You get stuck trying, and no matter what you do during your day (eating your meal, talking to your boss, reading an article), everything seems to blur into sheer dullness.

What this boils down to is a growing pile of assignments and an incredibly dissatisfied you.

Don’t let this feeling control you and your life. Break out of it by doing at least one of these 8 simple things that will ignite your motivation.

1. Make a to-do list

Sometimes, there’s a gazillion things we need to do, which could take a toll on our willingness to work. Especially when nowadays our emails get flooded and the tasks we were never assigned to, multiplies. That’s why I always compile a to-do list that covers the 3 main assignments I need to do. Anything minor, I do them at the end of the day or in-between my breaks.

Phone. Laptop. Good old post-its. Use whatever suits your style. As long as you write down all the tasks you got to do the night before, you’ll be prepared for tomorrow’s work. Regain control of your life and sort your priorities. Nothing drives people more forward than usefulness. So let that feeling overcome any procrastination or laziness and start writing that list.

2. Get rid of social media

Social media may seem like a godsend, but it can also be work’s worst enemy. Let’s admit it — almost all of us have secretly peeked at our Facebook or Instagram feed behind our boss’s back. While it seems harmless to take a quick glance from time to time, it actually kills your motivation and stops you from doing what matters most.

According to a study in Irvine, it takes 25 minutes for us to regain our focus after getting distracted. Think about all those wasted minutes every time you check your notifications or browse through your friend’s feed. Remember, your day is more real than people’s updates. Make it productive, and shut down your social news feed. You’ll feel so much better — I guarantee that.

3. Remember what you’re grateful for

Look at what you have, not what you wish you had.

Your computer, your phone, TV, heating, air conditioner, fridge, home. These are all things to be grateful for. But first and foremost is your health and your ability to read this. Don’t you realize how great your situation is? Then what’s stopping you from working hard towards living the life you want?

The faster you understand the importance of the little things you have, the better and more motivated you’ll feel. Want a suggestion? Write ‘thank you’ notes to all the things that make you happy. No one needs to read them — just you.

4. Do what makes you happy

Based on a study by economists at the University of Warwick, happiness makes us 12% more productive at work. We have more energy, learn faster, make better decisions, and work better with others.

How to feel happy? Grab your favorite book and start reading, call your best friend, make yourself a nice cup of coffee, or watch some inspirational YouTube videos. The possibilities are endless.

5. Move your body

Stop for a moment and examine your physique. Did you exercise? Did you step out of the house?

If not, you might want to plan some physical activities to get your blood flowing. This will give your mind a good break from stressing over on the unfinished tasks from your to-do list. Keep your body strong — your mind will follow through.

6. Start small

If you can’t seem to start on anything no matter how hard you try, maybe you’re pushing yourself too much. Start with small steps instead.

Instead of writing a book, write a page first. Make it a habit to write 100 words, then 200, then 300 words, until you finally get to one page. As the time passes, you’ll eventually be able to write a chapter. The idea to keep pushing yourself into achieving the small goals, so you feel more pumped up the next day to do something greater.

7. Aim big

Yes, you should start small, but always aim big. This means having a clear image of your goal before your eyes at all times. More importantly though, aspire to make it happen with class. You get nowhere if you only dream and don’t deliver.

So if your goal is to finish college, expand it with being ‘at the top of your class.’ If you want to be a successful blogger, think higher and aim to attract editors from highly-reputable sites to republish your articles.

It’s more tempting to finish a task when you know how the rewards will pay off in the future.

8. Take a break

As much as you might think taking a break is lazy advice, it isn’t. Sometimes, when we get too invested into something that consumed more of our time than we anticipated, we become irritable which shatters our motivation. That’s why it’s important to know when to stop and how to do so.

Go for a walk, visit a friend or simply stay at home and watch a few hours of Netflix. Your brain needs a little time off as much as you.

Tiffany Sun

Written by

I’m rebuilding my life by discovering who I am, learning what I’m capable of after a 9 year heartbreak that left me stranded in China.

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