Whether it’s a picture of J.Lo in a bikini or Warren Buffett (hopefully not in a bikini), keep reminding yourself of what you want to achieve or who you aspire to be.
I created a vision board and I keep it in front of me when I’m working at home.
I see it every time I get up in the morning, when I’m working in my office, and before I go to bed.
Having a daily visual reminder of what you want in life definitely keeps you motivated to do better work.
I know, I know. Vision board, Carla? Really?
That’s SOOOOO Oprah-ish.
Who cares? She’s worth $3 billion and has her own TV network.
I’ll start giving out schools if I have to.
3. Google images of what you want in life.
Congratulations! You’re an hour and a half into your work day, and you have reached a state of flow.
You’re feeling pretty good about yourself:
Wow – I’m so into my work right now…I’m super productive…And I had so much fun hosting dinner this weekend and I didn’t even overspend. I’ll be able to afford that European-style condo in no time. Man, I’m an awesome human.
You briefly glance down at your phone and you see a text from your closest bro:
Yo man, wicked deal to Jamaica.
Chase, Jordan and I booked our tix.
As much as you would love to relax in the hot sun with your buddies (with hot girls? – it was unclear), you have been saving up for a condo for over a year now.
Make a list of all the benefits you’ll have of owning your condo.
Look up pictures of your dream condo and visualize your lifestyle when you finally get the keys.
Life will always have its trade-offs.
Keep focusing on what you will gain instead of what you will lose or what you’re missing out on.
(Oh whatever. I know you’ve seen Magic Mike you perv.)
If none of these motivate you, think bigger and long-term.
Spend five minutes making plans for this weekend or browsing travel deals online.
Planning trips are always fun. You can make spreadsheets and do research and all that fun stuff.
Plus, planning with your friends makes it all the more fun.
When we’re caught up at work, it’s easy to forget that a big beautiful world exists outside of the office.
10. Start small and break it up.
Maybe you’re not budging because you’re overwhelmed by the huge and arduous task in front of you.
Maybe it’s that 20-page marketing plan you’ve been putting off.
How about spending just 30 minutes on just the outline right now?
Break up the work into several smaller, more manageable chunks and start hacking away.
I use this technique to divide up a lot of my big projects.
If I didn’t, then I’m fairly certain I would spend full days switching between watching Jimmy Falon YouTube clips and checking my freezer every 5 minutes as if suddenly there would suddenly be a jar of Dulce de Leche Hagen Daaz waiting for me.
Take my blog writing process, for example.
A lot of work goes into each post.
(What – you think all this awesome happened by accident?)
At first, I was all over the place. I didn’t know what tasks took priority over others and I was still trying to figure out how to work a bunch of online tools.
I would procrastinate writing posts because the task seemed too big and overwhelming.
(Plus, I was in the middle of finishing Better Call Saul. Nuff said, right?)
I broke it up into the following smaller steps.
You’ll see I also added a time limit. With writing, you can revise drafts until Sia shows her face (my cool millennial version of the saying, “until you’re blue in the face”).
Step 2. RE-WRITE: Focus on copy first, then research. (2 hrs. max)
Step 3. HUMOUR: Focus on making it funny. (2 hrs. max)
Step 4. EXPORT: Copy over to WordPress, then upload and insert images. (1 hr.)
Step 5. CHECKLIST: Ensure all required elements are in post – check formatting, spacing, italics/bold, hyperlinks, etc., source all unowned images. (1 hr.)
Step 6. FINALIZE: Choose feature image, create blurbs for social media. (1 hr.)
These smaller chunks are much more digestible than just a massive blog post.
11. Work physically close to your boss.
I’m totally serious about this one.
I have been fortunate enough to work in open concept environments where I am free to pick up my laptop and work in a multitude of boardrooms, creative spaces, and quiet areas.
When I felt myself goofing off or when I was starting to lose motivation, I would work at an empty desk beside my boss.
This made me more productive because:
1) My bosses have always been strong, intimidating leaders. Being in their physical presence was motivating enough.
2) The pressure of knowing your boss is right beside you keeps you on task.
OMG He’s right there. Must keep a straight posture and have a serious Matt-Damon-in-Good-Will-Hunting-trying-to-solve-a-math-equation face. Oh no I clicked out of that window too quickly. He thinks I was on Facebook. I’m fired.
When you’re feeling stuck and not jazzed about a particular task, try to find your boss.
Seeing the person you are accountable to gets the whip cracking.
Be careful, though – if you hate your boss, this strategy could be counterproductive. You might end up losing motivation instead of gaining it!
12. Change your scenery.
I like to pay close attention to transitions.
Transitions can give great insight into what works and what doesn’t and how to make improvements.
In particular, I pay attention to transitions between tasks, events, and even spaces.
Simply changing your environment can give you the extra lift you need to keep working.
Try moving from your desk to work by a window or in a boardroom.
If you’re working from home, try switching to a nearby coffee shop in the afternoon.
Experiment in different environments and see what works best for you.
As much as I have loved working in open concept offices, they can also be very distracting if you need to do focused work.
At my last job, I would often hide out in empty boardrooms when I really needed to get work done.
This did the trick and when I went back to my desk, I was happy to be surrounded by humans again.
I personally still want to work in an office with a slide and napping pods. A girl can dream, right?
13. Talk to someone who inspires you.
Do you have one of those friends who you can always count on to make you laugh?
I do – her name is Kim.
The instant we see each other, we are already laughing uncontrollably at one of our outrageous inside jokes.
We do the ugly laugh. With snorts and all.
We both think we’re hilarious but when we try to tell other people our jokes, they just laugh politely and nod.
(Secretly they think we’re cocaine addicts.)
We have this one joke where we’re The Vanderbilts…
Nevermind. Forget it. You wouldn’t understand.
Aside from making me LMAO, Kim inspires me to keep my chin up when the world throws caca in my face.
She is a constant reminder never to take myself too seriously.
Have a ten-minute chat with a coworker or call up an old friend who is inspiring or motivating to you.
14. Just do one more important thing.
You’re ready to pack it in for the day but it’s only 2:30 pm.
Before you consider the day a write-off, just address one more important task on your to-do list.
This relieves some of the pressure from your never-ending to-do list and usually after you’ve completed that one thing, you have the momentum to keep going and finish all the other important things on your list!
The other day I was crushing through my to-do list with the speed and efficiency of a modern Asian Tiger Mom.
By mid-afternoon, I was ready to pack it in, thinking I deserved it for being so productive for the majority of the day.
But I still had a shit-ton of work to do.
I groaned and told myself I would do one last thing on my list (hanging up my degree and organizing rack) before calling it quits.
I felt so much better after completing that nagging task, and it made me want to get more things out of the way.
This may not be considered one of my most important tasks, but getting in the habit of doing things even when you don’t want to do them will help you succeed at work and in life.
This is the essence of being an adult: doing things even though you don’t wanna.
THIS DAY WAS A WRITE-OFF
DO THESE IF YOU SERIOUSLY NEED TO GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER
15. Move two millimetres.
Why two millimetres? Because it’s such a small distance and literally ANYONE can move 2 millimetres.
A turtle, a baby, or even your lazy uncle.
It doesn’t matter how slow you move, just don’t stop.
Take tiny steps: respond to the easy emails, schedule those meetings, summarize the notes from the client briefing.
Use the psychology of crosswalk counters and queue numbers to measure your progress, no matter how small.
For some people, a simple To Do list does the trick and the satisfaction of crossing off items as you do them is enough to keep you moving.
I have a big whiteboard in my home office where I write my top three goals and tasks for the day.
It’s extremely satisfying to erase each item from the whiteboard as soon as it’s complete.
(Yeah, I should probably get out more.)
My goal is to have an empty whiteboard at the end of each day.
Remember: slow and steady wins the race.
Unless you have hard deadlines. In that case, move your ass NOW!
16. Do some soul-searching.
What’s really holding you back from moving forward?
Maybe you need to dig deeper to overcome your limiting beliefs or inner conflicts.
I can tell pretty quickly if something isn’t gelling with me.
When I graduated from university, I was torn between pursuing a career in finance (because that made the most sense) and doing something else (I didn’t know what this “something else” was at the time).
One day in particular stands out.
I had an interview for a trading position at an investment firm in Toronto.
I took the 45-minute subway ride to North York, walked for about 10 minutes in the pouring rain, stopped, and then headed straight back to the subway.
I called the company and cancelled my interview.
The whole time I kept thinking, “I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. I don’t want this job. I don’t want to do finance.”
I was so conflicted. I wanted to do what made sense and what was practical.
But I quickly learned that I value authenticity more than a job that looks good on paper.
Sometimes I wish I was more motivated by money, but alas, I grew up in a household that emphasized kindness and generosity.
(Damn it. I hate you, loving parents.)
17. Think about your haters.
Make a list of all the people who you want to prove wrong.
Let this fuel your fire to keep moving forward.
Use this to start working on that passion project or losing those lb’s.
WARNING: Before you try this technique, just remember:
You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone.
Instead, focus more on enjoying what you do.
As soon as you start doing things for other people instead of for yourself, your success or failure will be tied to these people’s approval instead of your own intrinsic motivations.
I included this tip for that extra push of motivation after you’ve tried all the other tips above.
Sometimes I think of negative people I know in my life who are quick to criticize any idea or attempt at changing things for the better.
I think of these people and have fake conversations with them in my mind.
(Shut up, I have hobbies and stuff.)
Whenever they put down or criticize my work, I just smile and calmly say, “Everyone is entitled to their opinion.”
(But I really want to say: “I hope all your dreams die and your cat gets pneuomnia.”)
But let’s face it: nobody cares if you fail or succeed either way.
Thankfully, everyone is wrapped up in their own lives to care too much about what you’re doing.
Just don’t start posting Instapics of your special parts.
18. Remember: it’s not all about you.
If you’re slow to get started on something, think of the people who are counting on you to get it done.
Keep pictures of your loved ones at your desk to keep you motivated.
Maybe you live with a S.O. and you’re splitting the bills.
You need to do your best at work to contribute.
Unless you have a sugar daddy.
In that case, why are you reading this? Go have fun on your boat, you basic b. #jeals
For the rest of us, remember that we have friends and family who look up to us and lean on us for support.