How to Be Productive When You’re Not Feeling Motivated

be productive when you're not feeling motivated

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Motivational videos and quotes are a waste of time.

There are better ways to take more action. Many people believe they don’t do anything because they’re not motivated enough.

However, that’s not the real problem. If motivation would be the key to success, nobody would be successful.

Why you can’t rely on motivation

You had a couple of times in your life when you felt unstoppable.

Like you can do anything and no obstacle or hater can stay in your way.

‘’Today is the day.’’

That kind of motivation that makes you jump out of bed and do what you dreamed for years.

It’s a great feeling. But you know too well it never lasts more than a week.

Motivation is a limited resource. Most days you won’t have it and you can’t do anything about it.

But don’t worry. I’ll show you how to be productive and get things done without motivation.

It’s possible and it’s easier than you think.

12 Powerful Tips to Be Productive Without Motivation

The following tips are carefully designed to help you achieve your goals and live your life to the fullest in the most natural way possible.

Following these tips sequentially (probably over the course of a few weeks or even months) will ensure that you’ll be able to be productive at least 95% of the time.

Sounds good?

Let’s get into it.

Tip 1. Set your priorities

It’s important to always know your priorities.

Don’t overestimate how many things you can do in a day. The truth is, you don’t have enough time for all of your goals and projects.

So, what do you want the most?

Decide your biggest priority and focus your actions just on that. You can also set 2-3 smaller priorities but nothing more.

I know you don’t like this idea. In fact, you probably hate to give yourself constraints because it feels limiting. But it’s one of the smartest things you can do.

If you put too many things on your calendar, you’ll ignore them anyway. It’s just overwhelming.

Tip 2. Create identity-based habits

No one can deny the importance of habits.

But we both know how difficult is to change them.

Fortunately, there’s a way to do this faster.

Focus on changing your identity first.

You probably struggle to form new habits because you believe they don’t represent you.

Let’s take an example:

You want to wake up earlier. So, you set an alarm clock and go to bed until 23:00 each night. For a couple of days, everything’s fine. Then, one day you skip this habit. No problem, you start over the next day. But after a while, you skip this habit again. And again. Finally, you get nervous and give up.

How many times something similar happened to you? It’s because of your identity. You believe: ”I’m not a morning person. I’m someone that likes to stay up late.” And that becomes true.

If you want to form new behaviors it’s important to form a new identity as well.

You can do this in 2 steps:

  1. Decide the type of person you want to be
  2. Prove yourself you’re that person with small wins

Let’s take a couple of examples:

1. You want to write 1,000 words/day. Prove yourself you’re a writer by writing one sentence/day.

2. You want to work out at least 3 times/week. Prove yourself you’re a fitness person by doing 10 pushups each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

3. You want to read for 2 hours/day. Prove yourself you’re a person that reads constantly by reading one paragraph/day.

You get the idea. Be consistent and make sure you become the type of person you want to be.

Habits are easier to form when you do this.

Tip 3. Create keystone habits

Keystone habits can spark chain reactions that help other good habits take hold.

You can consider them a foundation for your productivity.

I suggest to implement the following for the beginning:

Keystone Habit #1: 8 Hours Sleep/Night:

If you have too much on your plate, you probably sleep around 6 hours.

If you are depressed you probably sleep over 10 hours.

In both cases, you’ll be tired and your productivity will go down.

It’s better to sleep for around 8 hours.

This habit will help you feel rested and it can also make you reduce consumption of junk food, improve communication and enhance your health.

Keystone Habit #2: Tracking what you eat:

A 2009 study shows that participants with food journals can lose twice as much weight as those without. Why? Because keeping a food diary instantly increases your awareness of what, how much, and why you are eating.

When you track your calories, you also start to eat more regularly at specific times, decrease overeating and consume more nutritious food.

Keystone habit #3: Meditation:

A morning meditation could help put your mind at ease for the rest of the day. If you meditate constantly, you also get numerous other benefits. You can be more productive because you’ll live more in the present and you’ll have more focus.

Keystone habit #4: Exercise:

This is probably the most impactful keystone habit you can implement.

Not just because you’ll pay more attention to your body. But because you’ll pay more attention to your health.

People who exercise regularly procrastinate less, save more money and are happier than those who don’t.

Tip 4. Schedule Your Time Based On Your Energy

There are certain times of the day when you can be super productive.

They’re not necessarily in the morning. You can have high-energy times late at night as well.

You also have low-energy times when you’re ‘’ok’’ but can’t perform so great.

And hours when you need to relax. In this time, all your energy is gone and you can’t do anything right.

You should do your activities according to these levels.

For high-energy levels:Do creative work, planning, take decisions and do your MIT. You think clear during this time.

Doing 30 minutes of writing or something similar here will be as effective as trying to do the same in 2 hours when you don’t have energy.

For low-energy levels: You can do your regular tasks. As long as they don’t require too much thinking, you’ll be fine.

For relaxing levels: I suggest you relaxing activities. Watch movies, eat, sleep, etc.

You’ll recharge your batteries for the next day.

If you manage your time this way, you’ll be more productive than people who do their tasks randomly.

Tip 5. Use 2-minute rule

The goal of this rule is to make impossible for you to don’t start the things you should be doing.

Most of your tasks aren’t so difficult. You can finish them pretty easy. You just avoid to start them for one reason or another.

Fortunately, the 2 minute-rule will help you overcome procrastination.

There are 2 ways you can use it:

1. If a task takes less than 2 minutes, then do it now. You don’t need to deal with it later.

2. When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do. No, you won’t work just for 2 minutes. The purpose is to start something for 2 minutes.

Then, you’ll find yourself doing your task for a long period of time.

Let’s take some examples:

  • You want to read a book: Start thinking you’ll read just the first page. And before you know it, you’ll finish 3 chapters
  • You want to write something: Start thinking you’ll write just the first sentence. And you’ll find yourself writing for one hour.
  • You want to send 100 emails: Start thinking you’ll send just one. And you’ll send them all.

This rule can make you take action.

Tip 6. Forget about perfectionism

Perfectionism destroys productivity. When your expectations are too high, you end up achieving less than it’d be normal.

That happens because:

  • you waste a ton of time planning what you’ll do, instead of actually doing it
  • you waste a ton of time doing your task until it’s ‘’perfect’’

And why would you do that? You don’t need to be perfect. Not even excellent in what are you doing. Aim for ‘’good enough’’ for the beginning.

Tip 7. Don’t overthink everything

Thinking is good. Overthinking cause problems.

You can’t be productive when you think too much.

You’ll start question yourself if what are you doing is right or wrong. And this leads to negativism.

From now, if you want to do something, just do it. Don’t waste your time analyzing the situation. The more you think about doing something, the more likely you won’t do anything. If you had ideas in your head for years and never acted on them, do it now. Or, give up. But don’t live your life thinking about them.

Tip 8. Set your environment

Did you know you can set your circumstances in a way that’ll make your success inevitable?

It’s possible.

Here’s how it works:

Let’s say again you want to wake up early.

Instead of doing this with discipline, you can put your phone on the desk and set an alarm clock at 5:00 AM.

You won’t need motivation tomorrow to get out of the bed. You’ll do it whether you like it or not because you’ll want to stop the alarm.

Another example: You want to drink more water. You can throw all the soda from your house, buy a bunch of bottled water and set everything up in easy-to-reach places on your kitchen counter. So, when you’ll be thirsty, you’ll drink water because you won’t have anything else.

These types of systems guarantee success. And you don’t need too much motivation to implement them. You need 5 minutes to think about how to create one and a day to set everything up.

Tip 9. Work with more focus

Do you suffer of shiny object syndrome?

It means you always search for what’s new. You know what I’m talking about: New apps, new projects to start, new productivity hacks. And so on.

Please stop doing this.

How many chances do you think you have to succeed in anything if you do this? The answer is zero.

Why? Because you search for magic solutions. You think you’ll find that app, system or secret that’s gonna change your life.

But that isn’t going to happen. Only you can change your life. So, stop looking for tactics. It’s short-term thinking.

You don’t need that. You need a strategy. Choose one and focus on it until you get results.

If you always change what are you doing, you just waste your time.

Tip 10. Take control over your guilt

Do you feel guilty when you don’t work?

All right. That’s a problem all of us have.

The question is, what are you going to do about it? If you just beat yourself up, you won’t go anywhere.

Don’t let guilt consume you. Instead of saying ‘’I feel guilty because I watched Netflix today.’’ you can say ’’That was my personal decision. I’m going to cancel my subscription to make sure I won’t do the same tomorrow’’. Or, if you feel guilty because you didn’t take that course that could change your life, you can say ‘’I’ll save money and the first time it’s open again, I’ll buy it.’’.

The idea is the following:

  • you justify why you did the things that make you guilty(maybe you took a day off because you was burned out, or maybe you did that because a friend you haven’t seen for years came in town)
  • you become responsible for what you did(‘’It was my decision and here’s what I’m going to do next’’)

Guilt is not a productive feeling. It doesn’t even make you work. It just makes you get busy and feel bad about yourself. So, take control over it.

Tip 11. Minimize distractions

It’s no wonder you can’t get things done if you spend long hours every day on your phone.

Turn it off and keep it at distance.

If you need a laptop for work, make sure you stop notifications and block access to your favorite websites.

Schedule time in your calendar for emails, phone calls, social media and similar activities. If you check these every 5 minutes, it’ll be difficult for you to finish your tasks. Keep your door closed when you have something to do and make sure nobody interrupts you. If you do all of these, your tasks will take you less than you expect.

Tip 12. Avoid negative self-talk

Maybe you don’t realize, but each time you say something like: ‘’I’m such a lazy person’’ or ‘’I really should do X, Y, Z’’ or “I’ll never be able to do that’’ you keep sabotaging yourself.

You will never take action if you continue talking this way. Reframe your thoughts.

  • Instead of saying ‘’I’m lazy’’ try ‘’I’m human. Everybody struggle with this’’
  • Instead of ‘’I’m going to fail’’ try ‘’What if it does work?’’
  • Instead of ‘’I should do X’’ try ‘’I want to do X’’
  • Instead of ‘’I’ll never be able to do X’’ try ‘’I’ll do X and see what happens.’’

Make a list with all your excuses and then reframe them.

You’re more than capable to do the things you want. You just need to have better self-talk.

Start to Live Without Motivation

Let’s face it: Reading about these steps will always be easier than actually doing them.

You’re not even motivated to apply one single tip from here.

But that’s okay – if you read the article, you don’t care about motivation anymore.

Most things you want to do are easier than you think. The problem is that you feel overwhelmed.

Life is not so complicated. You make it harder.

So, stop doing that. Change your mindset and you’ll become more productive. Subscribe to my newsletter down below and I’ll give you more tips to do this.

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