Saturday, June 15, 2013

Motivate Yourself: What is Work?

I think we all have days where we just can't do any work.

But that doesn't mean that day is a loss. Sometimes you can trick yourself into getting "work" done. Other times you just need to realize how much work you're already doing.

I'll share a few tricks for getting yourself into getting stuff done when your body just won't cooperate.

Set the mood

Often the reason I can't get work done is because of a bad or lazy mood. To deal with a lack of motivation, let's first qualify what it means to get work done. There are all sorts of tasks that need to get done in a day. Some of them are chores; others are complex creative tasks; others are matters of routine. Some relaxing but necessary tasks we don't even consider when making our to-do lists: showering, eating, cooking, taking a moment for breathing. But all of these things need to happen in a day.

It seems ridiculous to de-value the things that have to get done. Without going grocery shopping and cooking food, you'd starve. Shouldn't that make those tasks the most important part of your day?

Do chores

I find that the reason I can't focus on a large academic "important" task is because I've allowed too many of these "little" chores pile up. In that sense too we can see that everyday chores are important and part of getting work done. Without keeping up on chores and self-care, we can lose our motivation for larger tasks.

Try out these physical chores with the intended mental goals in mind.

  • Cleaning your room
    • Refocus and de-clutter your mind
  • Open up your windows to let in sunlight
    • Brighten your outlook
  • Wash and dry dishes
    • Drift on what you need to do
  • Throw away old lists and papers
    • Prioritize the things left 
  • Empty the trash can
    • Let go of baggage
  • Do laundry
    • Focus and pacing


Work is not sitting in one place for hours and hours. The Social Network might show us people "plugging in" for hours at a time, but most people don't work this way. The human body isn't designed to sit in one place for a long time; cramped and tired out is usually the end result of this type of studying and work. So don't study in a way that physically saps motivation and sets you up to fail!

Study to your body's needs and personal habits

Most people can only concentrate on a task for 45 minutes which is about the time a load of laundry takes. After a block of time concentrating, take a break to do a physical activity to pump your body back up and keep yourself from getting tired. This will help your motivation.