How to be productive when you feel unmotivated

How to be productive when you feel unmotivated

“The hard days are what make you stronger.”

Aly Raisman

Do you have days when you feel zero motivation? I definitely do. We all have those days. You think about the things you need to do. You really want to be productive but you can’t get yourself to do anything.

Instead, you beat yourself up for being unmotivated and consequently, unproductive. Being a phlegmatic melancholy, this is a reality I face more times than I care to admit.

When you start a project, course, routine, habit, job, etc, you are filled with bursts of excitement and enthusiasm. Once that initial excitement is gone, your motivation to continue putting in the necessary work starts to fade too.

We all wish we could stay motivated all day everyday. If you are one of the lucky ones who are motivated all the time, you are blessed because a lot of us aren’t.

In fact, we start to procrastinate and google ways to stay productive while feeling unmotivated or how to get yourself motivated.

Looking at times I was unmotivated to get anything done besides binge on a comedy or crime series, I have taken note of some ways I was able to end up productive by the end of the day, despite starting out feeling like doing nothing.

I hope they can also help you be productive and get some things crossed off your to-do list even with your lack of motivation.

5  tips and ideas to help you be productive

1. Remember your past wins

Image by Andres Chaparro

Think back to a time you accomplished a goal, the smile you had, the joy it brought you and even the celebrations you may have had. This will put you in a nice joyful mood.

Now visualize yourself having achieved your current goal. Chances are this current goal is bigger than your previous goals so the celebrations could be bigger.

This will keep you in a good frame of mind to do what’s next or it might even be enough to get you motivated, if it isn’t that’s okay. There are a lot more you can do.

I like to think that I’m a generally happy person, so this is my go trick to get myself hyped (not that it works all the time, but a girl can try).

2. Define your ‘why’

Before you started your current journey, you had a reason, a purpose, an end goal. Remind yourself what that is. This is your “WHY”. It helps to write it down, so that you can go back to it when you need to.

Are you studying? Remember why you need the qualification. Is it for career advancement? Is it for the knowledge?

Do you need to workout? Remind yourself the purpose of the workout. Do you want to fit into a dress? Do you want to be healthy? Whatever it is, always remind yourself of your “why”.

Perhaps, you current task will lead you to the life that you want. Your ‘why’ is purpose of your tasks. Keeping it in mind will go a long way in helping you rediscover your motivation.

3. Make a to-do list with micro tasks

Having a to-do is with big tasks is daunting. It’s basically the same as having a not-to-do list especially when you lack motivation.

You might even wonder if a to-do list is necessary giving that you don’t feel the urge to do anything anyways.

Actually, this is when you need one and its content matters. If its filled with huge tasks that take time to complete, you wouldn’t want to touch it.

So, leave that kind of list for days you are fired up. Today you need a list with very little tasks that add up.

“If you work on something a little bit every day, you end up with something that is massive.”

Kenneth Goldsmith

For instance, are you trying to finish a book? then just read half a page at a time. Do you need to clean your home? then start with one room or a corner of the room.

These may not seem like much but they are better than nothing. The goal is to get something done while you are feeling unmotivated. Little tasks like these are easy to cross off, giving you that “I did it’ feeling and at the end of the day, you are closer to your goal even though you started off  unmotivated.

5 tips and ideas to stay PRODUCTIVE when you feel unmotivated

4. Work in ‘focused’ intervals

Have you heard of the Pomodoro technique? It is widely accepted and used globally due to its effectiveness.

This technique breaks down your work day into 25-minute intervals. All you need to do is pick a task, work on it for 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break and then repeat. Be sure to take a longer break after four ‘pomodoros’. This gives you 1hr and 40 minutes time of maximum focus before your long break.

Download this FREE work session tracker printable to document any distractions and track each work session for maximum focus.

It was developed by Francesco Cirilo in the 1980s and based on the website, “You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.

 This technique is highly recommended even when you feel highly motivated to work.

5. Remove distractions

This is extremely vital, because when you feel unmotivated, you might find yourself on social media or checking your emails.

Yes, you need to unplug from those, but they aren’t the only distractions you might encounter.

Depending on what you need to be doing, make sure to keep the TV off and turn off the music. Even the background music can be a distraction, when you are trying to focus.

You don’t want to run the risk of singing or humming along, or getting carried away by whatever show is on the TV.

Bonus Tip: Don’t force yourself

How to be productive when you feel unmotivated
Image by  Artem Beliaikin

While there are times to push yourself to keep going and get your tasks done, there are times you need to relax.

Forcing yourself to keep working when you are mentally exhausted will only lead to mistakes and perhaps make you feel frustrated and discouraged.

I hope you enjoyed this. Are there ways you get yourself to push through when you are feeling unmotivated? Please share your productivity hacks with us at the comment section

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  1. This was an awesome list! It’s definitely hard trying to be consistent and find motivation in things that once filled you with such passion or happiness. Great things to have in mind to keep you in check and to find, or gain back, motivation!

    1. We have to constantly do our best to stay motivated or at least get something done when we don’t feel like it.

      Thanks Jojo for stopping by.

  2. I definitely felt the realness of this list. #4 in particular is very true for me as I get the majority on my work done in 25-30-minute intervals of work bursts.

  3. Yea, it works all the time, the urgency attached to it motivates me to stay focused.

    Thanks Soham for stopping by.

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