Last Monday, I was having a rather rough time completing the day’s article assignment on Aussie millennial millionaires. My preliminary research wasn’t especially difficult to read, but it was such a struggle to get the words out that I was staring at a blinking cursor on an empty screen for three hours. It didn’t help that my willpower to stay on track then wasn’t that strong either.
I kept checking my phone and even my usual Youtube playlist failed to keep me focused. Eventually, I did finish the darn thing, but it felt as difficult as pulling teeth every step of the way.
We all have days like that, I guess. (Yep, even for us supposedly self-starting remote workers.) Sometimes, it just feels easier to hit the snooze button in the morning, watch a couple of goofy cat videos, or grab a snack or five instead of actually working.
Guess what? It’s perfectly normal. Whether you’re putting up/managing a business or working a job, you’re bound to feel the lack of motivation at some point.
If, like me, you feel stuck in a rut and are in need of a boost, here are some surprising hacks you can try to put your game face back on :
1. Crack a smile.
Stress can make you feel listless, unmotivated, and unfocused. Smiling can help diminish anxiety levels, so much so that even forcing a smile can improve your mood gradually, until you’re eventually able to get things done.
2. Start small.
A long to-do list can seem overwhelming and can put anyone off their work. One way to tackle this is to break things down into smaller, more manageable tasks.
For instance, if you’ve got a huge marketing project, coming up, sit down and outline the steps you need to carry out before you get started. Perhaps you need to come up with a theme? Decide on a timeline? Draft mechanics for a promotion or a contest? List them down in a logical sequence so that each completed action paves the way for the next step.
Not only will this bring order to your efforts, but it will also give you a sense of accomplishment each time you tick something off the list.
3. Take a walk.
If you’ve been sitting in the office all day and all week, you might benefit from a brief change of scenery. Going for a leisurely 20-minute walk around the block (you can volunteer to get coffee for your colleagues, it makes for a great excuse) has been proven to reduce fatigue levels by as much as 65% and increase energy levels up to 20%.
Also, getting out of the workplace can refresh your mind and even provide you with a new perspective that might prove useful once you get back to work.
4. Look at something green.
There’s a reason why plenty of hospitals adapt a green color scheme. The color is said to have a calming effect on the human mind, and prolonged exposure to it can make us feel less tired, more motivated, and happier overall.
Of course, a walk amidst leafy trees in a nearby park would be the best thing for midday or midweek doldrums, but pulling up a photo of a forest from one of your bucket-list destinations would do just fine.
Just remember not to get too carried away that you end up falling down a Youtube rabbit hole of relaxing forest-bathing videos or something like that.
5. Use the right apps.
Apps that lock up your social media accounts for a set period (i.e., for three hours or until your working schedule is officially up) can turn your phone into a productivity tool rather than a means of distraction.
Oh, and you may also want to check out this app called Pomodoro Time. As its name implies, it was designed based on the principles of a time management method called the Pomodoro Technique. Here, a timer is broken up into 25-minute intervals within which the user is supposed to work. A rest period of about 5-10 minutes follows each interval, preventing you from getting burned out.
So, hang in there, friend. When you feel like throwing in the towel, it helps to read the following passage from John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem entitled “Don’t Quit:”
“When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.”