Blogger | Teacher
Some days, it’s hard to find the motivation we need to complete the tasks that have to get done. Even things we enjoy can feel like a chore, and the tasks we hate simply seem impossible to complete. Why should I wake up early to clean my house when all I want to do is sleep? Why do I need to finish that assignment when I’d rather watch my favorite show?
At times, our task list feels endless and unforgiving, or our to-do list is a mile long and there’s no end in sight. And if you’re someone who also struggles with feelings of depression and anxiety, it can be hard enough just getting through the day. But finding motivation is important because unfortunately, the world will always keep spinning, even when you feel like you need a break.
If you’re someone who struggles to find motivation, here are some tips to help you complete even the most difficult tasks!
Have a clear goal in mind
The first step in finding the motivation to do what you need to do is to have a clear goal in mind. Saying “I need to clean my house” is an okay statement, but the idea is a little too broad. Do you need to do a casual clean – i.e., a little sweeping, a little dusting, etc.? Or is it time for a deep cleaning that means you’re going to be taking things off the shelves and out of the cabinets to wipe it all down, or washing all the sheets and pillowcases?
Knowing what you’re trying to achieve can help make the task more tangible and easier to imagine, and in turn, this can make it seem less impossible to complete. Instead of staring into the huge void that is “what you need to do,” create an image to help you better understand what kinds of steps you need to take to achieve that goal.
Give yourself lots of time
One of the best ways to find motivation is to make sure you have plenty of time to complete a task. Trying to finish everything in one day – especially if you wait until the day before it needs to get done – can make the whole experience more stressful than it has to be. If you start early and give yourself time to split the task up over multiple days, it can make it feel easier to achieve.
Also, leaving things until the last moment can make it even harder to find the motivation to actually do what you need to. If you wait too long, you may continue to push things off because the pressure to complete them feels overwhelming. However, starting a job early – like cleaning, working on an assignment, or working on a new craft you’ve been meaning to do – and giving yourself plenty of time to reach your goal at a more manageable pace can make it easier to find the motivation you need to finish everything.
Make a plan to complete a little each day
Small moments of productivity each day can be enough to help you reach your goal, so don’t feel so pressured to accomplish everything at once. In order to help with your motivation, make sure you start working on your task earlier than you need to complete it, and make a list of ways you can finish small parts each day. If you’re working on an assignment or writing an article or story, section it out into parts or specific word counts that should be completed daily. By the time you finish working, you won’t even realize you’re done!
For cleaning, I like to make lists of everything I have to do and cross them out as I finish them. Sometimes this happens all in one day, sometimes it happens over a period of time. But seeing the different steps being marked off makes me feel a sense of accomplishment without the pressure to finish everything at once.
Consider an accountability partner
Sometimes finding motivation on your own is harder than it seems, and even giving yourself more time to complete a task or sectioning it into smaller steps can be difficult. If this is true, asking a friend or family member to be your accountability partner can help you reach your goal. Most people associate accountability partners with weight loss goals – and while health goals can be a prime reason to have an accountability partner, asking a friend for help doesn’t have to be limited to these kinds of situations.
For example, if you’re working on a big project for work or writing an essay for a class, having a friend who checks in on you to see if you’ve done your writing for the day can be a great way to keep yourself in check. This can work for any kind of task – simply explain what you are trying to accomplish to your friend and ask them to regularly check in with you to ensure you completed the step for the day. This way, you are held accountable and don’t have to stress so much about putting pressure on yourself.
Take breaks when you need them
At the end of the day, completing a task doesn’t have to be an end-all-be-all. You don’t have to do everything at once, and you certainly shouldn’t put other needs – your mental and physical health – at stake just to reach your goal. It’s okay to take breaks when you need them and give yourself breathing room. Stressing out or adding more anxiety to your plate will only demotivate you more.
If you’re stuck on an essay your writing or a project you’re working on, step away for a while. If you’re hitting a mental wall while doing your daily steps, put them aside for now and come back to them later. It’s not the end of the world if you miss a day of work as you move toward your goal, so there’s no reason you can’t take the time to breathe when you need to.
Recognize that you did your best
What’s one of the best ways to find the motivation to complete a difficult task? Simply understanding that, if the worst comes and you don’t finish your goal in time, it’s okay. The world won’t end if you turn in your assignment or project late, and as much pressure as you may have put on yourself to succeed, everything will work itself out even if it wasn’t completed perfectly. I know sometimes it feels like not meeting a goal means you failed, but really, it just means that some things take a little more time than we expected.
While you’re trying to find the motivation to do what you need to, ask yourself this: what’s the worst thing that will happen if it doesn’t get done (or at least done in time)? More often than not, you’ll find that the worst-case scenario isn’t really all that bad. So try to remember to forgive yourself if you’re not perfect, and give yourself the space to be a human who needs time to accomplish things. You did your best, and that’s more than enough.
Do you have other tips for finding motivation to complete difficult tasks? Tell us in the comments!
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.