Feeling Unmotivated? Here's How to Regain Your Productivity

Lack of motivation keeps you from meeting your big goals. Learn how to regain your drive

In my final semester of college, I wrote a 10,000-word essay in two days and submitted it, with 30 seconds remaining on the clock to the deadline -- no joke! How did I do it? Well, first of all (thankfully!) I didn't have to cite my references. And second, technically, I had already written the entire thing in my head. Still, it was a stressful 48 hours as I raced against time.

Though I'm somewhat proud of my heroic effort, I know that it was unnecessary. Honestly speaking, I had months to do this work. Months before the deadline, most of which I spent procrastinating, feeling unmotivated. If only I had found the motivation to get the work done gradually and submit it well before time, I wouldn't have had to rush to finish it--and I'd have saved myself from so much stress and anxiety.

We all face this situation sometimes when we know there's something that we really need to get done, but we just cannot find the motivation to go ahead and do it. Do you feel unmotivated often enough to leave yourself with a long to-do list and unrealized goals? If so, read on for some strategies to regain motivation!

So much to do, so little drive!
So much to do, so little drive!
Looking for motivation to achieve your big goals? Try Boss as a Service for some daily accountability. Our human Bosses are here to check in, ensure you're setting your goals, and even push you to focus on the end goal when things get a little too tough. 

What is Motivation and Why you Get Unmotivated

Before diving into motivation tips, let's try understanding motivation. Dictionaries define it as having an interest or enthusiasm for your work, pushing you to make progress. But if I have put it another way, feeling motivated simply means that the desire to get something done is stronger than the urge to put it off. You have a drive that does not let you lose interest in the goal.

So when you're feeling unmotivated, you're simply succumbing to other desires in your mind -- to take a break, to watch a movie, to put it off till tomorrow -- instead of working on the goal.

Talk about needing a big push to success!
Talk about needing a big push to success!

Here's how you reverse this desire and channel it toward productivity:

Strategies to Re-ignite Motivation

Identify and Avoid Distractions

The most common reason for the lack of motivation is probably distraction, especially in the digital world. So if you find that you cannot get to homework because you're too busy trying out a new game, or if you suddenly remember all the emails you have to reply to right when you should be exercising, consider keeping distractions at bay.

This means lock your phone and keep it away when you begin working, and find a space where your laptop or TV won't steal your focus.

Create SMART Goals

Knowing exactly what you're aiming for and how you need to achieve it is enough to help you feel motivated most of the time. So many times, the lack of clarity is the problem! So, create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Relevant, Timebound) goals to help you define your tasks. For example, if you want to get healthy, here's how you should design your goal:

I will get healthy by losing 30 pounds (Specific). I will do this by exercising four times a week (Achievable) and eating two meals a day at home (Relevant) for three months (Timebound).

Get SMART to hit the mark!
Get SMART to hit the mark!

Need some help making your goals SMARTer? Try our SMART Goal Generator here!

Create Daily Routines--and Get Enough Sleep!

Structure and routine are key in keeping your focus intact. So, try and time-box your day so you can create a specific routine for the morning, for the afternoon, and even one to make sure you get to bed at a good hour and get lots of sleep. A well-rested and fresh mind in the morning is sure to get you raring to go!

Optimize your Work Environment

Your work environment should not just be a distraction-free zone, but also an optimized area that immediately gets you focused. This means plenty of sunlight, all your work devices and tools already on the desk, a working switchboard, and maybe some plants for good energy and some posters and music that help you stay motivated. The idea is to get into the zone and stay there!

Welcome Challenges as Learning Opportunities

Roadblocks on the path to success can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated. Try to change your mindset -- instead of rueing the challenge, use it as a learning opportunity to see how you can overcome obstacles and make progress.

Build a Support System

Lack of motivation can stem from self-doubt -- if you are having negative thoughts that make you lose sight of your goals (like "Why does it even matter what I do?"), try and reach out to your loved ones to remind you of your values and important tasks. Lean on them to ensure you feel motivated and positive in your approach to work and daily life as well.

Support is built-in at Boss as a Service, where our Bosses are not just here to make you work but also to figure out what's holding you back. Together, we can find all the solutions you need to regain your productivity!

Focus on Physical and Mental Health

If your body and mind are too tired or burdened with other things, you're more likely to feel unmotivated to get things done. Make sure that you get the basics right -- eat good food, exercise, get enough rest and practice self-care as a part of your daily routines. Also, don't feel shy or hesitant to seek help for your mental well-being if needed.

The more you take on, the bigger your burden gets
The more you take on, the bigger your burden gets

Try Self-Reflection and Journaling

Recording your journey can help you see how far you've come, what challenges you've gone through, and what you've learned. Seeing your growth and progress from time to time can prove to be a great motivating factor!

Get Accountability

Becoming accountable towards your goals provides a massive nudge forward! Try reaching out to accountability coaches and partner services (like Boss as a Service!) to help you feel motivated and responsible towards your work.

Intrigued by these strategies, but not sure which one is for you? Finding the reason behind your lack of motivation may help.

Why People Face a Lack of Motivation

Lack of Purpose

Your lack of motivation could stem from not being aligned with a purpose. If your heart is not in what you're doing, if you don't have a deep passion or desire to achieve it, you may find yourself wondering why you can't summon up the energy or motivation to work on it. Lack of purpose may also be why you often tend to procrastinate on tasks that just aren't too meaningful.

Low Self-Esteem and Confidence

Recurrent setbacks and failures can give rise to a lot of self-doubt. You may think that you're not capable or disciplined enough to actually go after what you want to. Piers Steel calls this "Efficacy" in the book "The Procrastination Equation."

Tip: Try our diagnostic tool, Why Do I Procrastinate, to understand more about motivation!

Try to regain your faith in yourself with some self-compassion -- everyone sees ups and downs in life, but if you really want something, it's worth taking some risks! Think of all the times you've succeeded, and of the times you've been proud of your efforts. Maintaining a "win wall" where you record all your wins and achievements is a great idea -- whenever you're feeling unmotivated and a bit down on yourself, you can have a peek and find that self-efficacy rising up again!

Unrealistic Goals

Sometimes when you set goals, especially long-term goals, you may underestimate the effort needed to get to them. It's like trying to squeeze in 26 hours of work in a 24-hour day--impractical and stressful. So, it's good to aim high and be optimistic, but also be realistic and grounded in your approach.

Too Many Distractions

Your phone, TV, gaming system, and even friends and family around you can get a little too distracting sometimes. Constantly giving in to their demands for your time and focus will naturally take your focus away from important tasks. Set up time limits for phone and TV usage, and give people a heads-up that you might not be available, when you start working.

Challenges to Physical and Mental Well-Being

Personal challenges can get all-consuming, especially if your physical and mental health are at risk. The lack of motivation can be a symptom of larger issues such as depression or ADHD.

(A note--Mental health conditions should only be diagnosed by a medical professional. If you believe you display any symptoms, consult a licensed expert for proper care and guidance!)

Not Enough Support

No one likes walking alone--least of all when you're trying to do something that's important. Feeling like there are not enough people in your corner can drain your motivation.

Find your tribe! Join online support groups, find an accountability group, or a set of friends who will be happy to cheer you on and support you when the going gets tough.

Some journeys are too long to go solo
Some journeys are too long to go solo

How BaaS Helps you Stay Motivated

If you think accountability is the way to regain motivation, why not try Boss as a Service? Our (real, human) Bosses have only one agenda -- to keep you productive and motivated so you can meet all of your goals!

Whether you're struggling with a lack of motivation, vague goals or procrastination, we will check in every day to make sure you're taking steps to get some work done with tons of tips and encouragement! An example below:

Try Boss as a Service for daily progress tracking and motivation!

Final Thoughts

Unmotivation can be a real roadblock to meeting your goals. Find a way to turn it around and get the nudge you need to move forward!

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