Got a million things to do but can’t be motivated to do any of it? Take your pick from one (or all) of these tried-and-tested pieces of advice to help give you a kick up the proverbial.
Play your favourite tunes
We all know that certain songs can instantly change our mood. Neuroscientists are still trying to figure out exactly how music affects the brain, but there are many studies that show it works. Research published in the European Journal of Neuroscience showed that listening to music activates the regions of the brain involved in movement, attention, planning and memory.
Don’t wait until the last minute
The incredibly motivated entrepreneur and marketer Seth Godin says the key to getting things done is taking immediate action. (This piece of advice is especially good for all of us procrastinators who can only get things done at the very last minute.)
“I’m just mystified at how many people rely on the last minute,” he said on the Design Matters podcast. “They’re waiting because they’re afraid, and the last minute shows up to get them over the hump. It’s so unprofessional, because it leads to sloppy work, it leads to stress and it costs a lot.”
“So as a professional … I [do] a lot of stuff in the first minute. That’s what professionals do. They hurry at the beginning and they polish at the end.”
Fill your workspace with greenery
Can’t get anything done? The missing piece could be plants. A University of Exeter study in the UK showed that the productivity of office workers improved by almost 20 per cent when they had plants near their desk. On the opposite end, the researchers said that minimalist spaces “crushe[d] the human spirit”. Ouch. Other than foliage, the researchers said that it was also due to allowing employees to decorate their workspace that created the motivation-boosting benefits.
Jump on a mini-trampoline
Anthony Robbins – who’s quite the legend among motivational circles if you didn’t already know – has said for years that a key to changing your state of mind is to change your physical state. “Emotion is created by motion,” is his catch cry.
Robbins personally does this by starting every day in a 13-degree cold plunge pool, claiming there’s nothing that changes your system like a radical shift in temperature. For those of us who don’t have access to a similar torture device, Robbins says jumping on a mini-trampoline for 20 minutes can have the same state-altering effect. So too can going for a run – add your favourite playlist and you’ll be killing your to-do list in no time.
Turn the behaviour into a habit
It can become quite exhausting having to pump yourself up all the time, so instead, try turning a certain behaviour into a habit. Whether you want to get better at public speaking, start exercising, or cut a few coffees from your daily addiction, commit to doing one small thing a day towards that goal. Once it’s a habit, you won’t need to motivate yourself to do it anymore.
“Start small,” motivational speaker John Assaraf told Lewis Howes on the School of Greatness. “If you don’t have discipline, show yourself that you can give yourself one command and one follow-through.” As an example, he says if you want to exercise regularly, tell yourself you’re going to do two push-ups, then get up and do it instantly.
“From a brain plasticity perspective, as soon as you do that – you give yourself a command and you take the action – you have just created a neural pattern.”
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