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Last Updated on December 15, 2020

12 Changes to Make When You Feel a Lack of Energy and Motivation

12 Changes to Make When You Feel a Lack of Energy and Motivation

Do you ever feel tired of feeling tired? It’s like you get up in the morning and instead of feeling rejuvenated like the people from the TV commercials, you drudge the sound of your alarm and hit it like Ted Williams hits a baseball.

The worst thing is that you have work that needs to be done and you literally can’t afford to slog throughout the day. But there are ways how you can fix that. Since your body is a holistic being, the change in one area will affect a plethora of changes in the other ones. So that’s why these changes will make you feel energetic and motivated to push the day.

The changes affect one of the four crucial categories of every single person:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual

So let’s start to make these changes if you feel a lack of energy and motivation:

Physical

1. Daily walks

Most of us do work which requires us to sit for a long time in uncomfortable chairs. The human body isn’t designed for that. So take 10-30 minutes every single day and just go for a walk. It will help your body stay healthy.

And if you think you don’t have time for that, you can invite a person with whom you need to have a meeting and go for a “walking meeting.” You basically go for a walk and have the meeting in that kind of setup.

There are no excuses which would prevent you from doing this activity – it’s light, easy, and short. But at the same time, provides the much-needed boost to energy for your body.

2. Take a nap

If you think that the kids in the pre-school are foolish to take afternoon naps, you are missing out on a great energy boost. A mere nap of 20-30 minutes boosts your focus, lets your “smart” brain refocus and prepare you for more work that you need to do.

All the biggest performers in the history took naps because their work required immense amounts of cognitive focus which drains you of energy. That’s why naps are important.

3. Stretch

Sometimes, all you need is to stretch your body for two minutes. When you’re stiff, especially if you don’t exercise in the morning, your body still didn’t wake up. So it’s important to let loose all the body parts and allow a non-disrupted flow of energy throughout it.

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This will make the blood flow better, especially coming to your head which needs to focus on demanding cognitive tasks. So stand up from your chair and stretch yourself out because it will make you more energized. You can also try these simple stretches in your office.

Emotional

4. Eat what fills the head and the stomach

I didn’t put food in the physical part because for most of us, the relationship with our food is emotional and there is a big reason for that. The sugar-heavy saturated food makes us high at the moment but then comes the low and you lose all energy to do anything at 11 am which is absurd.

When you start thinking about food, start thinking about usability and pick the one which you can use the most. High fiber, protein food will fill your stomach but your brain as well and you won’t be tired after it.

5. Call a friend

Relationships play a major part in our lives. They are the main source of our happiness and our entire species is called a social animal. So when you get down and low, one of the best energy boosters is actually going into a social environment and just having a good time.

Social circles tend to pump the energy back into us even when we think we have no energy left for anything.

If you are at work and there are no “water cooler” talks around, simply call a friend on the phone and talk with him for a minute. Don’t message him, simply give a call and talk over the phone.

6. Play a game

Do you know that most CEO’s reported that they play games to be more productive. Sounds a bit paradoxical, but when you take into the account the nature of games, you understand the reasoning behind it.

Games are old as human civilization itself and even though we fail at around 80% of the games that we play, we still enjoy playing them.

Playing a simple game of, let’s say, Minesweeper can make you feel more productive and energized. So don’t think of games as energy wasters, think of them as energy amplifiers.

Intellectual

7. Play some music in the background

It doesn’t matter if it’s only white noise in the background or classical music or pop songs, music does wonders to us regarding energy and motivation.

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You know what works best for you and during which time and this only serves as a reminder that sometimes you need some music in life to make magic happen. Here’re some nice motivational songs you can try: 30 Inspirational Songs that Keep You Motivated for Life

P.S. I was listening to Dragon Ball- Cha La (German version) while writing this. There is just something super motivating, inspiring, and energizing in that song for me which forces me to write until my hands bleed.

8. Books

The stimulus provided by books help you regain focus for a longer period of time. So you should start reading some (if you already don’t).

In the beginning, people can’t read more than a couple of pages of a book without falling asleep. That’s perfectly fine because your brain is readjusting to the focus necessary to read through tens of pages of a book.

After a month of reading books daily (20 pages per day will suffice)[1], it will be way easier for you to stay focused and energized at work because you will have trained your brain to stay sharp and focused for a longer period of time.

9. Change frames and perspectives

Frames are a powerful weapon in hands of people who know how to use them. When you encounter a problem or a challenge which makes you stop before you even start, the problem isn’t in the task itself but in the way you approach (frame) that kind of task.

Doing a gym routine of six exercises with 4 repetitions each becomes way easier when you think about it in terms of levels in a game. You start a quest to level up your physical attributes of strength and stamina, and each rep brings in more experience which makes you level up at the end of the gym routine.

Whenever something brings your energy down or makes you feel unmotivated, try to look at it from a different angle.[2] When you change your relationship with a problem, it stops being a problem.

Spiritual

10. Meditation

Taking just a minute to breathe in and out, focusing and letting go of your thoughts through meditation and mindfulness can bring your energy levels back up in an instant.

Meditation has been used for thousands of years as a stress reliever, happiness bringer, and energy booster. If you are working in a crowded office, find just a minute of quiet and alone time to meditate and you will see major differences in your energy and motivation levels.

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11. “Get in zone” ritual

Most people today call it “flow”. It’s about finding the sweet spot between boredom of menial tasks and the anxiety of tasks for which we are incompetent.

When you get yourself in the zone, you distort time and gain massive focus and energy to do anything which is in front of you. Runners use the term “runners high” for this.

I used to be a gamer and I could sit in the chair for 10 hours playing the game without moving a muscle or even flinching. The immense focus and energy I summoned for that were incomparable with everything else in my life.

It’s not that we don’t have the energy and motivation, it’s just that we don’t have a clear path of summoning it (yes, I just used a gamer reference). Flow provides us with that path.

12. The power of now

Whenever we’re doing something, we are always thinking about the next thing that we have to. This makes us constantly chasing something which is in the future and is never quite here.

You are working on a task for a client at the moment, but you’re constantly thinking about the meeting that you have in three hours.

When you come to the meeting, you are constantly thinking about having to go to the gym in two hours.

When you come to the gym, you are constantly thinking about dinner with your wife and kids.

When you start dinner with your family and kids, you constantly think about the report that you need to send before you go to bed.

When you get in bed, you think about the things that you need to do in the morning as soon as you wake up.

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And this perpetual cycle keeps going and going until you are out of breath, energy, motivation to do anything.

The point is to stop and be in the moment — enjoy the power of now. It provides so much rejuvenation to simply look at a tree and think about nothing except that tree. When you live in the moment, it not only brings energy but conserves the one which you would spend thinking and worrying about the future things that you need to do.

Small Changes Bring Big Results

All of these changes don’t seem like a big deal when you read about them. But in practice, they make massive results especially if you can combine them. The big results come only from an accumulation of small things so the sooner you start working on them, the sooner you will see the results in bigger energy levels and motivation.

The small changes in the physical domain include taking daily walks, napping, and stretching.

The small changes in the emotional domain include eating the right kind of food, talking with friends, and playing games.

The small changes in the intellectual domain include listening to music, reading books, and changing frames/perspectives.

The small changes in the spiritual domain include meditation, getting in the zone/flow, and being the moment (having the power of now).

Small changes, big results.  What are you waiting for?

Featured photo credit: Seth Doyle via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Bruno Boksic

An expert in habit building

13 Things to Put on Your Daily Checklist for Boosted Productivity How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier What Is a Routine? 9 Ways to Define a Routine That Works 12 Changes to Make When You Feel a Lack of Energy and Motivation 11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

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Published on May 10, 2021

How To Motivate Yourself To Study When You’re Too Busy With Work

How To Motivate Yourself To Study When You’re Too Busy With Work

It was just after 5 AM as I gathered my things to head to the gym. As I walked down the hall, I noticed the light on in my daughter Kinsey’s bedroom. She isn’t typically up that early, so I decided to peek inside to see what was going on.

As I opened the door, I saw her sitting in bed with her laptop open and a perplexed look on her face.

“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m doing some last-minute studying before I take my pharmacology exam.”
“Why are you doing it so early?” I questioned.
“I need to get it done before I go to work because I have a full day, and I won’t want to do it later.”

Kinsey is a great student, and she works full-time and goes to school, so I didn’t want to question her actions. Still, as she responded, it hit me. This was one way she kept her motivation to study when she was too busy with work.

I didn’t want to disturb her further, so I slowly closed the door and went on my way, pondering the question on my own, “how does one maintain their motivation to study when they are too busy with work?”

Motivation is an interesting topic that psychologists, sociologists, and scientists of all types have studied for decades. Countless books and articles have been written on the subject and continue to pop up each year. But what motivates us in certain situations? How can we stay motivated when we have so many other things on our minds like work?

To answer these questions, we first need to understand motivation itself. More specifically, the two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.

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Intrinsic motivation is an incentive to engage in a specific activity that derives from pleasure in the activity itself rather than because of any external benefits that might be obtained.[1] It sounds like, “I’m going to work hard to get that promotion so I can be more fulfilled at work.”

On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is an external incentive to engage in a specific activity, especially motivation arising from the expectation of punishment or reward.[2] It sounds like, “I really want that promotion at work to make more money.”

How we are motivated really comes down to whether the motivation is coming from within us or outside us. We all tend to gravitate toward one more than the other, but this can depend on a specific situation.

Let’s look at the facts from the specific situation in my example and break them down to understand them further.

  • Kinsey works and goes to school like a lot of college students.
  • Kinsey was taking her exam very early in the morning before her usual wake-up time.
  • She was doing the exam before going to work.
  • She had a busy day of work ahead.
  • She acknowledged that she would not want to do it later.

All of the facts above point to a motivated individual. What they don’t tell us specifically is, was she motivated intrinsically or extrinsically? I would lean towards intrinsic as there doesn’t seem to be any obvious reward.

This example provides some less apparent clues to ways that can help others like you. I’ve compiled the secrets inspired by these clues, along with some additional wisdom I’ve learned along the way to help you in maintaining your motivation to study.

Here are 11 tips on how to motivate yourself to study even when you’re too busy with work.

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1. Have a Great mindset

It all starts here, and a positive mindset can go a long way. Believe that you will achieve your goals, and focus on the good things that you have already done. Studies show that being optimistic leads to getting more done and having better overall mental and physical well-being.[3]

2. Visualize Success

Once your mindset is in order, then the next step is to visualize your success. Begin with a clear vision of what you want to achieve and then experience the feeling of having that success. For example, if you know you want to get an A on an exam, break down the steps to learning the material to ensure success.

3. Break Your Goals Into Small Attainable Tasks

Sometimes, a goal can feel too big, like graduating college with straight A’s. Think of the goals you have and break them down into simple, attainable steps instead.

For example, if you know you want to get an A on an exam, start with gathering the right resources to study, and then go further to identify what you need from each resource. Once you drill down far enough, everything becomes attainable.

4. Reward yourself

Rewards help keep you motivated as long as they are healthy. Once you’ve set a goal, establish a small reward for achieving it. Whether it’s an edible treat you love or something bigger like a massage, this type of external motivator can help maintain your motivation and push you closer to your bigger goals.

5. Pomodoro for the Win

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that encourages you to work with the time you have, rather than against it. Break the time you have to study into 25-minute chunks separated by 5-minute breaks. Each interval or Pomodoro helps you resist interruptions and trains your brain to focus. You’ll find that the sense of urgency it creates is a fantastic motivator.

6. Measure Progress

Once you start to accomplish goals and have successful Pomodoro’s, you need to measure it all. If you do not measure and report your progress, then you’re probably not making much progress at all. According to Pearson’s Law, when performance is measured, it improves; when performance is measured and reported, it improves exponentially.

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7. Make It a Competition

Healthy competition is advantageous to keep you moving, and it’s great for building your motivation to study. You can positively compete with others to push each other to succeed. If you don’t have anyone else, then set up a competition with yourself.

For example, see how many Pomodoro’s you can do without breaking focus and looking at your phone. Keep pushing the bar higher, and you will strive to reach it.

8. Find a Mentor

Another way for you to build and maintain your motivation to study is to find a mentor. Having a mentor is a great way to motivate and connect with someone you admire or someone in the field that you are studying. Having a mentor provides a double benefit in that they can provide both assistance and encouragement to you on your road to success.

9. Get an Accountability Buddy

While this is occasionally the role of a mentor, you can also find another person studying the same thing as you as your accountability buddy or partner. With both of you focused on the same outcome, you can share ideas that you may not have thought of and understand the point of view of your friend.

Studies show that publicly committing your goals to someone gives you at least a 65% chance of completing them. Having a specific accountability partner increases your chance of success to 95%.[4]

10. Find “Your” Time

There’s a funny line from an old movie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, where a student is disrupting class, and the teacher tells him to stop interrupting the class and do what he’s doing on his own time. The student responds, “I’m here, you’re here, doesn’t that make it our time?”

Whether you are studying with a group or solo, you still need to find the time that works best for your needs and your brain. For some, this is first thing in the morning, but for others, it’s after work when they have decompressed. By measuring your success and the efficiency of your Pomodoro’s, you can identify the optimal time for you.

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11. Move

Taking the time to move is critical toward moving towards your goals. It doesn’t matter if you study at a desk, in bed, or on the floor, you still need to move. Take short five-minute breaks after each successful Pomodoro to stand up, stretch, and move your legs around. This increased blood flow will help keep you awake and get oxygen to your brain.

After you’ve completed four consecutive sessions, then it’s time for a more extended 15 to 20-minute break. This break is the optimal time to get some fresh air and brief exercise outside. This short amount of time will make a significant difference in your level of motivation.

Final Thoughts

Any of the above tips on their own can help with building and maintaining motivation when put into action. Find the ones that work for you and make them a habit. Once this is done, you won’t need the level of external motivation as you will be programmed internally for success.

I want to think that I’ve raised Kinsey with some good internal programming and her grades indicate that as well. When she got home from work around 7 PM, she came into my office and asked if she could use it for a while.

I said, “Sure, what do you need to do?”
“Take my pharmacology exam.”
“I thought you took it this morning.”
“I was going to, but the opening time was wrong on the exam, so it didn’t open until noon today instead of midnight.”
“Oh, I get it now. Sure, let me get out, so you have peace and quiet.”

I closed the door and left her in the serenity of my cave, knowing she would get a good grade on her exam. I ended up being right about the grade but not about the source of her motivation to study that morning.

When she emerged from the office about 30 minutes later, she quickly turned on the TV. It all came down to the fact that she didn’t want to miss the season finale of The Batchelor. I guess it was more extrinsic than I thought.

More Tips on Staying Motivated

Featured photo credit: Green Chameleon via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] American Psychological Association: intrinsic motivation
[2] American Psychological Association: extrinsic motivation
[3] NCBI: Optimism and Its Impact on Mental and Physical Well-Being
[4] Entrepreneur: An Accountability Partner Makes You Vastly More Likely to Succeed

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