In a world filled with constant distractions, each and every one of us struggles with a lack of motivation at work. Too often, this stops us dead in our tracks. Unless you have a plan to deal with it, you can be in this state of flux for quite some time. The following tools have been extremely helpful for us and our Perfect Planner community:
- Track your “misses” - Each week circle the items on your calendar that didn’t get done. If you find you have too many circles (3+) each week, take a step back and see what you can do differently. Perhaps you need to clear the clutter and release some of those to-do’s. Be honest about this process and hold yourself accountable.
- Color Coding – At the end of each week, use highlighters and color code your different activities: work, self-care, personal, exercise, deep work—whatever is important to you. This will help you track where you are spending your time and to make adjustments to ensure you are succeeding in all areas.
- Schedule “Deep Work” time – In his book, Deep Work, Cal Newport shares the volumes of research behind this and the many ways to implement this practice into your life. The concept is simple; choose your hard or challenging tasks (writing, research, etc.) and schedule blocks of time for them. Start slow (45 minutes) and work your way up to 75 to 90-minute blocks. Shut down all notifications and put away your phone. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll be able to get done!
- Accountability Partners - Research shows that we are more likely to achieve our goals when we bring in accountability partners. Create your own small group and meet each quarter to help each other set and achieve goals.
- Don't give up! - Creating discipline and accountability in your life can and will be hard. Sometimes you will fail. Give yourself a break and reflect. What got in your way? Where can you improve? What can you give up to allow more time for what really matters? Remember that it's OK to get off track—as long you learn and work to get back on track. New habits will form, and you will succeed more than you fail. You've got this!
During your next bout with motivation, deploying one or more of these tips and tricks could be what get you back on track. Better yet, make these a regular weekly practice to keep you focused and ready to go week-after-week.