Some days it’s hard to be motivated when you’ve dug yourself into a particularly deep Netflix hole – trust me, it’s easy for days to pass you by when episode after episode is continually queued up and you have a seemingly endless supply of chocolate nearby!
But here are some tips to help you stay motivated. Whether you’re a student or freelancer with a deadline to meet, a graduate on the job hunt, someone working from home or just someone who sometimes struggles to get started and focus on the job at hand, there’s some useful advice in here for you.
1)Make a routine:
If you’re job hunting or working towards a deadline, channel Dolly Parton and create your own 9-5. Treat it like a job with regular hours and regular breaks.
2) Create a working environment:
Every job should have a work space, so don’t lie in bed in your PJ’s applying to jobs or working on that essay, move to another location. This can be in the library, at a desk or kitchen table, but being elsewhere will encourage you to work.
3) Involve other people:
For some people this can be counter-productive as they become distracted by chatting with friends. But being surrounded by other people who are working hard, potentially towards the same deadline, can encourage you to work. If you have arranged to meet someone else in the library, you’re more likely to go. And if you’ve told someone else about your goals, you’re more likely to strive to meet those goals since it’s now not only your own expectations you’re trying to meet. Also, ideas often benefit when worked on together so don’t be afraid to ask for help. And besides, the coffee breaks will be much more fun if you’re gossiping with friends.
4) Take care of yourself:
You know when you look at the same word for too long and it stops looking like a word? Staring at a screen for hours on end or working on the same thing can become soul-destroying and you’ll begin to doubt your work and resent what you’re doing. So take a break, have something healthy to eat, drink plenty of water, get some exercise, and return with fresh eyes.
5) Cut the cord:
Now this is a tough one but it makes such a difference! We are so attached to our online lives nowadays and it’s so easy to be distracted by social media, online TV, phones, etc. especially when Kim K is saying something on Twitter or Beyonce has announced twins on Insta! So during your ‘working hours’, consider putting your mobile out of reaching distance or on airplane mode. If you’re working on your computer, use an application like Cold Turkey which allows you to block selected sites for your chosen length of time.
If you’re at the gym you probably listen to music to get you pumped up for your work out. The same applies for when you’re doing work. Find what works best for you, whether it’s whale sounds, heavy metal, a podcast, Julie Andrews crooning the Sound of Music, or just complete silence that helps you focus. There are loads of playlists on Spotify and YouTube, perhaps start by searching Deep Focus or Concentration and see what you find.
7) Stay positive:
This is sometimes particularly hard when you’re applying to jobs and it seems like all you’re getting is ‘We’re sorry to inform you’, or if you had bad feedback on the last essay you submitted. But don’t take rejection personally. Ask for advice, treat all criticism as constructive, and learn.
8) Get inspired:
Watch TED talks and YouTube videos, listen to inspirational speeches, read a book. Trust me, there’s some amazing content out there that once you’ve listened to, you’ll be raring to go! Some good ones are: Stop Waiting For Life To Happen, Stop Screwing Yourself Over, Psychology Of Self-Motivation. And JK Rowling delivered an amazing commencement address at Harvard about the benefits of failure. It has over 2.8m views for a reason.
9) Think Ahead:
Once you’ve achieved your goals – met the deadline, got the job, been invited to interview, whatever – that’s when you can relax and treat yourself for all your hard work paying off. There’s a reason so many people say that the best part of their week is the weekend! If the deadline has been a long time coming, perhaps book a trip away. If you’ve worked hard this week, applied to loads of jobs, finished that essay, consider going out for dinner or book a massage. The idea is to give yourself something to look forward to when you finish.
Natbee’s readers, you’re all awesome and I’m sure that whatever you’re working on right now is also amazing. Hopefully these tips will come in handy some time. And obviously, I’d love to hear if you’ve got any other advice on staying motivated too!
*featured image via