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Last Updated on October 9, 2020

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

More by this author

Kyle J. Brennan

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

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

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Last Updated on October 14, 2020

Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again

Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again

Today didn’t turn out as you planned, but it doesn’t mean you’re weak. It simply means that you’re human, and you’re not bad just because you had a bad day.

“Not everyday is a good day but there is something good in every day.” -Alice Morse Earle

It’s not the end of the world when you find yourself thinking “I had a bad day,” but it can feel like it. You may have had plans that fell apart, experiences that set you back, and interactions that only did harm.

You may have started the day thinking you could take on it all, only to find you could hardly get out of bed. When you have a bad day, you can forget to look at the good.

Sometimes, self-care helps us to remember why we are worth it. It helps us to recharge and reset our mindset. It helps us to know that there are still options and that the day isn’t over yet.

Love yourself today, no matter how hard it’s been. That’s the way to find yourself amidst the hardships you have. That’s how you center yourself and regain focus and live a more meaningful life. Give yourself some credit and compassion.

Here are 7 ways to rebound from a bad day using self-compassion as a tool. If you had a bad day, these are for you!

1. Make a Gratitude List

In a study on gratitude, psychologists Dr. Robert A Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough conducted an experiment where one group of people wrote out gratitude lists for ten weeks while another group wrote about irritations. The study found that the group that wrote about gratitude reported more optimistic mindsets in their lives[1].

Overall, having a gratitude list improved well-being and made one truly grateful by counting the blessings in their lives.

Write a list of what you are grateful for if you had a bad day. Make it as long as you like, but also remember to note why you’re grateful for each thing you write.

What has given you the most joy? What has set you up for better days? Keep a tally of triumphs in mind, especially when you do have the bad days.

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The day doesn’t define you, and you still have things of value that surround you. These could be material things, spiritual connections and experiences, relationships, basic needs, emotional and mental well-being, physical health, progress towards hopes and dreams, or simply being alive.

Here are some other simple ways to practice gratitude.

2. Write in a Journal

Journaling affects your overall mental health, which also affects physical health and aids in the management of stress, depression, anxiety, and more[2].

All you need is a pen and paper, or you could do an online, password-protected journal such as Penzu. The key is to get started and not pressure yourself on how polished or perfect it is. You don’t need to have prior experience to start journal writing. Just start.

Write out everything that is bothering you for 15 minutes. This helps with rumination, processing problems, and can even aid with brainstorming solutions.

However you approach it, you can find patterns of thinking that no longer serve you and start to transform your overall mental state. This will impact all areas of your life and is a great coping skill.

3. Meditate

Meditation can help you overcome negative thought patterns, worrying about the future, dwelling on the past, or struggling to overcome a bad day[3]. It shifts your mentality and helps you focus on the present or any one thing you truly want to focus on.

Here is an example of a meditation you can do:

Get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Rest your body, release tension, and unclench your jaw. Tighten and release each muscle group in a body scan for progressive muscle relaxation.

Focus on your breath, taking a few deep breaths. Let your belly expand when you breathe in for diaphragmatic breathing. Empty yourself completely of air, then return to normal breathing.

Next, focus on the idea of self-love and let it erase negative thoughts. Think about the ways you’ve been judging yourself, with the narratives coming up that your mind may create.

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Give yourself unconditional love and release judgment. Take your time meditating on this because you matter. This is particularly important if you had a bad day.

Check out this article for more on how to get started with a meditation practice.

4. Do Child’s Pose

Yoga Outlet says:

“Child’s Pose is a simple way to calm your mind, slow your breath, and restore a feeling of peace and safety. Practicing the pose before bedtime can help to release the worries of the day. Practicing in the morning can you help transition from sleeping to waking.”[4]

When you do Child’s Pose, it can be between difficult positions in yoga, or it can be anytime you feel you need a rest. It helps you recover from difficulties and relax the mind.

It also has the physical health benefits of elongating your back, opening your hips, and helping with digestion[5].

To do Child’s Pose, rest your buttocks back on your feet, knees on the floor. Elongate your body over your knees with both arms extended or tucked back, with head and neck resting on the floor[6].

Had a bad day? Try Child's Pose.

     

    Do this pose as a gift to yourself. You are allowing yourself to heal, rest, get time for yourself, recover, and recharge. When you’ve had a bad day, it’s there waiting for you.

    5. Try Positive Self-Talk

    Engage in positive self-talk. This is essentially choosing your thoughts.

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    When you have a negative thought, such as “I can’t do this,” replace it consciously with the thought “I can do this.” Give yourself positive affirmations to help with this.

    Negative self-talk fits into four general categories: personalizing or blaming yourself, magnifying or only focusing on the negative, catastrophizing or expecting the worst to happen, and polarizing or only seeing back and white[7].

    When you stop blaming yourself for everything and start focusing on the positive, expecting things to work out, and seeing the areas of grey in life, you reverse these negative mindsets and engage in positive self-talk.

    When you speak words of kindness to yourself, your brain responds with a more positive attitude. That attitude will affect everything you do. It’s how you take care of yourself if you had a bad day.

    Check in with yourself to know when you are having negative self-talk. Are you seeing patterns? When did they start to become a problem? Are you able to turn these thoughts around?

    6. Use Coping Skills and Take a Break

    Use your coping skills. This means not letting your thoughts take control of yourself.

    You can distract yourself and escape a bit. Do things you love. You can exercise, listen to music, dance, volunteer or help someone, be in nature, or read a book.

    It isn’t about repression. It’s about redirection. You can’t stay in thoughts that are no longer working for you.

    Sometimes, it’s okay to get out of your own way. Give yourself a break from the things going on in your head. You can always come back to a problem later. This may even help you figure out the best course of action as sometimes stepping away is the only way to see the solution.

    If you had a bad day, you may not feel like addressing what went wrong. You may need a break, so take one.

    7. If a Bad Day Turns Into Bad Days

    “I believe depression is legitimate. But I also believe that if you don’t exercise, eat nutritious food, get sunlight, get enough sleep, consume positive material, surround yourself with support, then you aren’t giving yourself a fighting chance.” –Jim Carrey

    If you’ve been feeling out of control, depressed, or unstable for more than a few weeks, it’s time to call a mental health professional. This is not because you have failed in any way. It’s because you are human, and you simply need help.

    You may not be able to quickly rebound from a bad day, and that’s fine. Feel what you feel, but don’t let it consume you.

    When you talk to a professional, share the techniques that you have already tried here and whether they were helpful. They may tell you additional ideas or gain insights from your struggles of not being able to rebound from a series of bad days.

    If you’re having more than just a bad day, they will want to know. If you don’t have the answers, that’s okay, too. You just need to try these tools and figure out how you’re feeling. That’s all that’s required of you.

    Keep taking care of yourself. Any progress is progress, no matter how small. Give yourself a chance to get better by reaching out.

    Final Thoughts

    If you had a bad day, don’t let it stop you.

    Know this: It’s okay not to be okay. You have a right to feel what you feel. But there is something you can do about it.

    You can invest in yourself via self-care.

    You are not alone in this. Everyone has bad days from time to time. You just need to know that you are the positive things you tell yourself.

    More Things You Can Do If You Had a Bad Day

    Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

    Reference

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