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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

12 Things That Will Always Motivate You to Do a Good Job

12 Things That Will Always Motivate You to Do a Good Job

Sometimes, it feels like there’s never enough time to do all of the things you want to do—go for a run, call that friend you haven’t spoken to in six months, apply for a new job, finish that report you owe your boss, or send a card to your cousin who just got engaged. The list is endless, and it feels like it will only keep piling on. As soon as you cross an item off your to-do list, you’ve added two more.

You’re burnt out at work and you’re lagging in your personal life. Things are out of whack. But how can you stay motivated to continue doing a good job?

You might try listening to Lose Yourself thirty times, but you may still feel uninspired. It’s easy to let yourself fall into the trap and start mailing it in. You get into work at nine on the dot and leave no later than five.

But you’re a motivated person. This isn’t like you. What can you do to turn it around? How do you stay motivated when you get down like this?

You think to yourself, “I need to do something drastic.” Most of the time though, that’s the exact opposite approach you should take. It’s small, incremental changes and habits that will get you back on track. Sit down and write. Go for a walk and think through your affairs. Start small first.

So, what things can you do to avoid this feeling? How can I get myself out of the constant feeling I’m doing the best I possibly can? There are some simple steps to get you through the rut and focus on your priorities.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Here are 12 things that will always motivate you to do a good job.

1. Preparation Is Key

Before you go to bed, write down your plan for the next day. That way, when you wake up in the morning, you’re not immediately running through a thousand different scenarios in your head, anxious about all the things you have to do. You know that when you get to your desk, there is a gameplan completely mapped out just waiting to be attacked.

Doing this the night before not only reduces your stress levels but it also creates an organized path to productivity for the first critical hours of the day that will give you the momentum you need to carry through the rest of the tasks that come across your desk.

2. Make a List of All the Things You Want This Year

Developing a gameplan for the day is great and will get you moving and motivated, but chances are you also have a lot of long-term intentions in mind that may subconsciously be weighing you down. Start by writing down every single thing you want to accomplish in the next six to twelve months. All of them! Don’t stop writing until you’re empty.

Once you have that list—there may be 10 or 30 items—circle the three most important objectives. This is something that Tony Robbins talks about in his bestseller, Awaken the Giant Within. Narrow your priorities. Focus solely on the most important tasks and nothing else.

3. Find a Trigger

Develop a personal prompt to kickstart each day. Every now and then, you consume something that provides you with a massive spark of inspiration. This is key to knowing what motivates you to do a good job. It could be a good book, an inspirational sports movie, or a great TED talk you just watched. Many writers listen to the same playlist over and over again while they’re writing.

Lin Manuel Miranda, famous for his role in the broadway musical Hamilton, created a playlist for when he encounters writer’s block with songs by Fiona Apple and ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic. It’s his trigger to get down and dirty—to source his creativity. As soon as he hears that song, he knows it’s time to turn on and work.

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4. Focus on Discipline and Routine

In the book Atomic Habits, author James Clear calls out how comedian Jerry Seinfeld writes jokes on a yellow legal pad every single day for two hours. At the end of his writing sessions, he marks that day on the calendar with a big X to continue his daily streak. Not breaking that streak is what keeps him motivated.

In a podcast interview with Tim Ferriss, director and writer Brian Koppelman cited Haruki Murakami’s memoir What I Think About When I Think About Running as one of his favorite books on discipline, and I agree. It’s not a book about running, as the title may suggest. It’s about discipline and sticking to a routine process—a method that is boring but results in the greatest outcomes.

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain

5. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain suggests starting your day with your most difficult task. He calls it “Eating the Frog.”

If you’re dreading that one looming assignment, why not get it out of the way as soon as possible? As soon as you’re finished, the weight is effectively off your shoulders and you can focus on the rest of the day, relaxed and relieved you finished the hard stuff. It’s tough to get through—like swallowing a big frog (not that I know from personal experience)—but once it’s over with, you just may have to burp a couple of times!

6. Use the Pomodoro Method

Something I’ve always adhered to is a method of working called the Pomodoro Method, which is just a fancy term for taking a HIIT exercise approach to other areas of life (it’s named after the Pomodoro kitchen timer tomato).

On for 25 minutes; off for 5 minutes. This is something I’ve done since elementary school. It’s the way I studied or did homework through high school and college—twenty or so minutes of intensely focused work followed by a short break.

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The time limit is arbitrary. I sometimes do thirty minutes of work and ten minutes of rest, or one hour of work followed by twenty minutes of rest. Play with it and see what works. You shouldn’t be staring at a screen for that long anyway. Step aside, take a breather, and look out to the horizon. It’s just the mental reset you need to motivate you for the next working session.

7. Treat Yourself

Reward yourself when you finish an important task. If you get through a difficult assignment after an hour of hard work, go for a walk. Treat yourself to an iced coffee or a handful of delicious blueberries. Every now and then, you need to take a breath and enjoy the fact that you accomplished something difficult. Sit back and reflect on it over a good book, a delicious snack, or even a bottle of wine. You’ve earned it!

8. Know That the Work You Put in Will Boost Your Reputation

Any time I think of slacking off, I feel like my reputation is being put on display. I picture my peers secretly saying to themselves, “he doesn’t work hard.” But when I work hard and put in that extra effort, I know it’s not going to go unrecognized. Even if it does, I have the personal satisfaction that I did the best I could.

Do the right thing, regardless of who’s watching, because it’s the right thing to do. Many times you may go unappreciated for months but eventually, that hard work gets recognized. What goes around comes around, and you’ll know no one will ever be able to say you didn’t earn it. That’s what’s important.

9. Act Like Your Role Model Is Watching You

Every time I sit down to write, I imagine all of my favorite writers watching me from afar. What would they want me to do? Should I have my phone next to me? Probably not. Eliminate distractions. You know in your heart what you should be doing, and if you act like your idol is watching you, that imaginary archangel will keep you straight.

10. Learn New Things

Unless you’re an expert who’s been in their field for decades, chances are there’s something else you can learn. Pick up a book on a new topic, ask a colleague in a different department to show you what they do, or take an online course. Learning something new is difficult, but it’s a personal investment into yourself that never depreciates. This will also help you discover what motivates you to do a good job.

As Miyamoto Mushashi says, “If you know the way broadly, you will see it in everything.”

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11. Help Others

Coaching or mentoring is a great way to stay motivated and excited about what you do. Nothing makes you realize you’re understanding of something like teaching it to someone else!

12. Set a Time to Stop

It may sound crazy but sometimes, you just need to set a quiet time for yourself. “No matter what, at 6 pm I am closing my laptop.” This will help you keep your priorities straight and make sure that you’re fitting everything you need to do into the working hours you set for yourself. It also sets boundaries with your colleagues that notify them of when to expect things from you.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a ton of easy-to-implement approaches to stay motivated! Whether it’s managing your time, creating a “Work” playlist, or just making a list—doing a good job is as easy as you make it on yourself.

Remember, you don’t have to do anything drastic or makeover your entire life. Start with the simple steps that will make your day just a little more enjoyable. Before you know it, you’ll be hearing praises from the ones who care.

More Tips to Motivate Yourself to Do a Good Job

Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

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Kyle J. Brennan

Digital marketing expert, book reviewer, triathlete, & experimenter of all things.

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Last Updated on April 9, 2021

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is learning how to stay motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task at hand serves a greater goal.

It’s impossible to expect your motivation levels to remain at 100% all the time, but there are things you can do to maximize your stores of motivation and push forward. Here are 5 simple yet effective tips for staying motivated.

1. Find Your Good Reasons

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first, but if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it, it’s time to find your good reasons.

For each goal you set, there needs to be a reason behind it. If you don’t nail down your “why” when you begin, your motivation will soon falter, leaving you miles from achieving your goal. This isn’t the way to learn how to become motivated.

Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

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  • Rewards: This may come in the form of money (a salary or a raise, for example) or some kind of award.
  • Personal Gain: You will learn something new or improve yourself in a certain way.
  • Accomplishment: Achieving a feeling of accomplishment and recognition for achieving a goal can be a huge motivating factor.
  • A Step Closer to Bigger Goals: Even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

2. Make It Fun

When it comes to increasing motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, and others will love it[1].

Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and enjoyable when we begin to lose motivation.

Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some, yet others love being in that environment. For those that hate going to the gym, finding a team sport in their community may serve them best.

A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How can I enjoy this task?
  • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and others?
  • How can I make this task the best part of my day?

Expecting a task to be enjoyable is one way to learn how to stay motivated. Most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, so looking for ways to have fun while working is a great habit to acquire.

3. Change Your Approach and Don’t Give up

When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach if you want to learn how to get motivation.

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You may be doing everything correctly and efficiently, but such an approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach that will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common—if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one that will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

If you can’t find the right approach, you may need to go back to motivation basics to find your motivation style. Check out Lifehack’s Free Assessment: What’s Your Motivation Style?

4. Recognize Your Progress

Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most big or long-term goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

We track our progress automatically with most activities, but to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it. Tracking is merely taking note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at the bigger picture and realize where exactly you are and how much more you have left to do.

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For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until everything is done and the task is fully complete.

For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such an approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive progress made. This is how to keep yourself motivated in the long-term.

5. Reward Yourself

Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on a particular task? Hate the whole idea of working?

Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables that will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way. This creates external motivators to help you feel motivated in the long run.

For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do. For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself to dessert.

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For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to see a movie, taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

The more you reward yourself for making progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

Pick one of the techniques, and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right away. Mix different approaches, and match them to your task for the best results.

Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to help you feel better, and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

Learning how to stay motivated is as simple as finding what works for you. If you need a reward, schedule one. If you just need to find your “why”, take time for introspection. Do what you need to do and start tackling those goals.

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Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Positivity Blog: How to Get the Boring Tasks Done

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