11 Ways to increase your productivity and find your motivation​

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11 Ways to increase your productivity and find your motivation

We all have moments where we feel a little less than motivated to work on goals. The excuse to work might be exhaustion. You could be thinking I really need a nap and a large margarita. Perhaps you would rather be doing anything else but the task at hand. You might rather be on vacation.  Possibly the task at hand is unattractive. 

You find yourself unable to focus. Your tasks have accumulated. Your motivation to progress has decreased. Stress has increased while staring at the mountain of work to be completed. You receive an email about another task to be completed by the end of the day.

There are a few ways to help you get past these feelings. You will be able to work efficiently. First, you must start implementing a few strategies. These strategies will help get started and keep progressing on tasks.

1. Work for 15 minutes

No matter the task work for 15 minutes. You can suffer through anything for 15 minutes.  Those that use even small increments of time accomplish much more than people who do not.
Working for 15 minutes illustrates what can be accomplished in 15 minutes. This strategy also helps reduce the number of excuses. Often people decide not to work if there are only 15 minutes left before an obligation such as a meeting. This lost time can really add up. Using time wisely requires the use of any time. A huge project might not be completed in 15 minutes. However, three emails collaborating with coworkers on the project can be completed. Any project can be broken up into small parts. Begin using 15 minutes to work on the first step necessary for the completion of any project. And the project will slowly get completed overtime without the feeling of rushing to get everything done at the last minute.

2. Take breaks

Sometimes a small break is all we need to feel like we can focus. This is why the Pomodoro technique is so effective and used by people in academia. This technique can help eliminate distractions and reduce burnout. 
The Pomodoro technique is a simple time management stategy. This tecnique uses small burst of time in which a person focuses on a task for a set number of minutes. 25-minutes is the most widely used time frame for a work period. After the the time frame is successfully completed the person will take a short 5-minute break. Those that use this techinque measure how much progress tasks and projects take by monitoring how many completed pomodoros are necessary to completed the task. After a set number of pomodos are completed the user of this technique will take a longer break of about 30 minutes. This technique helps to ensure that the brain is getting a break and is better able to stay on task. 
Taking a short break can increase the ability to process information. Taking a step back from any problem can allow for a fresh mind to tackle problems. Stress inhibits problem-solving skills. A break can reduce workplace stress enough to aid in solving problems at work. Negative feelings can be distracting and reduce the ability to concentrate on tasks that require more thinking. 

3. Reward yourself for mini accomplishments

Reward yourself for small tasks accomplished. When you reward your small accomplishments your brain associates the good emotions of reward with effort. This association will eventually help you feel more motivated to put in the effort to complete each task. 
Rewarding yourself for small accomplishments will help you better focus on the effort you put into your work rather than the outcome of your effort. Focusing on the outcome makes it harder to achieve goals when faced with problems. However, when you focus on milestones instead you will be more able to appreciate your progress.
These rewards can be simple and small. You can take a walk around the block. You can take a small nap. You can read a chapter of a good book. You can paint your nails. You can make a delicious snack. Reward is proven to motivate. Reward yourself with a coffee break, reading a chapter in a good book, pain your nails, or buy those fancy masks you wanted. Reward should take place directly after the milestone has been completed. This is the best time for your brain to associate effort with the reward you have decided. 

4. Begin with the very first step

I personally get overwhelmed with all of the steps that it will take to complete a project. Writing this blog post I was overwhelmed with making the blog look absolutely perfect. I was worried about ensuring no typos. I felt overwhelmed with the prospect of planning my first blog post. I did not know what to write about. I became distracted about the best format for the design of the post. I decided to jump 6 steps ahead and begin planning new blogs. 
Everything you wish to accomplish will begin with the first step. So just get started on your project with the first step. You do not have to do the whole project at once. You only need to begin with the very first next step. 
Focusing on the first step helps reduce all the distraction of the other steps. It will help you slow down and take your project one step at a time. Eventually you will become more efficient by focusing on the first step and then the very first next step. 

5. Exercise and Nutritious foods

Exercise is proven to help improve your mood. The personal benefits of regular exercise are countless. This company has taken to allowing employees to exercise during working hours because of the positive impact of exercise on productivity. The company found exercise leads to increase productivity due to all of the mental benefits exercise provides to people. Exercise can boost mood, help people feel at ease, support immune function, increase energy, and increase the ability to focus. 
The exercise does not need to be intensive. Simply taking a 15-minute walk can be a great benefit to employees. When feeling unmotivated and stressed out take a five minute walk around the building or block. Taking a flight of stairs is also possible. 
Eating nutritious foods can help reduce fatigue and overall feeling of malaise. Nutritional psychology is a new field where researchers determine the effectiveness of nutrition on mental wellbeing. Vitamin C has been shown to produce anti-depressant effects. Diet is not the end all be all for mental health interventions. A good diet can help manage mental health symptoms. A bad diet can negatively impact mental wellbeing. 
Simply adding extra fruit or vegetable a day. Pay attention to how you feel after light exercise. You may find a body and mind that feels well will be less likely to procrastinate. 

6. Journaling

Journaling can help you acquire some clarity over what is in the way of focusing on your goals. Writing your goals out will inevitably help you stick to them. Journaling will help uncover unconscious thoughts and assumptions that keep you from committing to your goals. Journaling can also help when you feel stressed out about roadblocks to overcome roadblocks. Roadblocks journaling can have an impact on feelings of inadequacy, mindset problems, and fear of success. 
Journaling can also be used to understand your values. Aligning goals with values is the best approach to ensuring commitment and reaching goals. 
Working towards goals that do not align with personal values can lead to burning out and procrastination. Here you can find a list of values. Begin by picking 5 values that resonate with you. Understanding these values will help you stick to goals that align with those values. 

7. Eliminate distractions

Life today there are a million distractions. Focused work can help you complete tasks more quickly. Multitasking can lead to the inability to retain information, increased stress, and frustration. Switching between tasks can reduce efficiency because of the mental work it takes to change between tasks
Schedule time for social media and connecting with important people can be one of the rewards described above. Focusing on one thing at a time can actually help you make more time for aspects of life that are of value. Working with less distractions can also help increase attention span,
Continuous partial attention reduces the cognitive capacity to work on tasks that require more thinking, planning, and evaluating. 
Turn off notifications to applications like Instagram, Facebook, and dating applications. Set out time to use these applications if necessary. Constant connectivity can reduce our ability to focus. 

8. Use a buddy

Working with a buddy can be really helpful to stay on track when reaching and finishing tasks. The friend can hold you accountable. A friend can also help provide a new perspective to the problems that face. 

Choosing a friend to help meet goals can often be difficult. Find a friend that is disciplined. The friend that can hold other’s accountable. This person will be someone trusted and rarely makes others feel bad. The friend will be understanding and supportive. Do not choose someone who will shame or blame if the goal is not achieved. Having people in life that support dreams of others and listen to struggles are high value. People can never have enough of these people in their lives. Strive to be this person for yourself and others. 

9. Nap and Sleep

Sleep is undeniably important to have the motivation to work. Lack of sleep can ruin an otherwise productive day. Sleep deprivation leads to lethargy and the inability to concentrate.
Many people use naps as a way to be more productive. Napping allows the brain to get a quick break. Naps can help increase concentration, reduce negative mood, and reduce stress. The next time the need to take a nap arises, simply take the nap.
Be warned! Napping too long can make people feel sluggish and tired. A 30-minute nap is great to help boost energy and give the brain a much-needed break. But do not sleep for more than 90 minutes, or you will suffer the napping consequences.
Feeling lethargic most of the time can be a sign of poor sleep. There are ways to assist in better sleep.
    • reduce screen time before bed.
    • read or write before bed
    • meditate before bed
    • start a healthy sleep routine
    • going to bed early enough to sleep for 8+ hours.

10. Mindfulness and Meditation

Meditation is an excellent way to reduce stress. Stress is distracting and ruins the ability to focus for extended periods of time. You can learn about meditation here. Being mindful is about being aware of the present moment.
  •  Notice who you are, where you are, and what you are doing.
  • Experience thoughts as they come.
  • Try to examine situations and thoughts as a third party.

11. Therapy

Sometimes feeling unmotivated can be linked to mental health issues. Mental health problems can resolve without treatment. However, this process usually takes a long time. Therapy can help resolve mental health problems faster than time alone.
It is difficult for people to admit to having mental health problems. Stigma is a contributing factor to denying mental health problems. Having stress and irritability problems has also become a social norm. 
Mental health issues are not necessarily mental health disorders. A person does not need to have anxiety disorder to experience symptoms of anxiety or major depressive disorder to experience symptoms of depression. When experiencing symptoms it is a good idea to speak to a primary care doctor or a therapist. Especially when these symptoms begin to create problems in any area of life.
Problems can look like having stressful relationships. A mental health issue can look like not feeling motivated to do any work. Experiencing intense feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, aggression, frustration, and the desire to isolate can be an indication of a mental health problem. Any of these feelings could be easily addressed in a few therapy sessions.
Therapy can be for any one. People go to therapists for a variety of problems. For instance you can go to therapy if your job is more stressful than normal. The therapist can help you work through and adapt to the high stress situation. Working with a therapist can help a person feel better able to handle high stress situations. 

If you procrastinate I recommend…

Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now

This book helped me in four MAJOR ways!!

  1. I significantly reduced the amount I procrastinated.
  2. I am more motivated at work.
  3. I gained the ability to recognize procrastination.
  4. I Learned to stop procrastinating.

I truly love this book and cannot recommend it enough for anyone that suffers from procrastination–MOST of us do. I was a chronic procrastinator. Consistently stressed out at work. I was completely unable to focus on my tasks. My boss recommended this book because she also found it helpful. This was ONE of my favorite birthday presents. I continue to keep going back to this book because the information is still useful.

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