After a long, hard day, you probably want nothing more than to collapse on your couch in your pajamas and watch a marathon of your favorite TV show. But let’s be honest, there’s always something more to be done, isn’t there?
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You shouldn’t push yourself past the point of exhaustion, but completing a few more tasks won’t kill you, so how do you motivate yourself to start those tasks? Let’s have a look at a few different approaches!
Just Five Minutes
One trick is to say to yourself that every task you’re about to do, wash the dishes, vacuum the floor, etc., you’ll only do for five minutes. Since not even the laziest of people has a problem with doing something for just a couple of minutes, your brain is more or less tricked into getting started.
As you probably know from your own experience, once you get started you usually don’t stop until the task is finished. In this way, you should be able to do all the things you wanted to do simply by convincing yourself that you’ll only do things for a short amount of time.
Occasionally you won’t be able to trick yourself even to get up for a few minutes, so what can you do then? At these times, it can be very effective to imagine what it would look or feel like to have the task behind you. For example, you can imagine the feel of the clean sheets on your skin after the laundry has been done, or the feel of walking on a clean carpet.
Some people get a great sense of satisfaction out of seeing an empty inbox on their desk. You might need to get creative, but there is always an upside to getting stuff done.
Focus On The Why
This builds on the trick above, but at a deeper level. Though it is nice to think of the immediate results, you can also focus on the long-term benefits. If you work out now, you’ll reduce the chance of a heart attack a few decades down the line. If you finish that report, your boss may promote you in a few months.
Generally speaking, people don’t react as well to long-term benefits as to short-term ones, but if you can make yourself believe you’ll be a setting foot on the path to your dreams by doing something right now, it should get you started on it.
On a completely different tack, you can also try to change your brain a little. Rather than focus on why you don’t like a task, focus on why you could like it. Try viewing taking out the trash less as lugging around a few smelly bags and more as a form of weight training. Alternatively, try to think of everyday tasks as a form of Zen meditation; be one with the dishes, let the vacuum cleaner be an extension of your arm as you move it around. It may sound ridiculous, but it could very well help you get things done.
If none of the above work, it’s time to have a cup of coffee. Coffee’s remarkable properties make it an awesome pick-me-up that can get you out of the worst slumps of energy. It’s also a nice way of taking a moment for you and assessing the day or just not thinking about anything at all.
Don’t forget not to drink too much as that will deprive you of your sleep or, even worse, make caffeine lose its effectiveness.