When enthusiasm drops – New ways towards self-motivation

At the beginning of a project ideas and enthusiasm is bursting – but at one point the daily routine, barriers or self-doubts will come to the fore and cut down all motivation. At that moment, when previously beloved activities turn to burden, it is time to apply some simple methods to boost enthusiasm again and everlasting.

The following stimuli will help to delight daily work again when motivation is lost:

Is that really needed?

Things we are asking our self often unconsciously is the determining key: At the beginning of a project should be clear: Is a certain task necessary to reach our goals and am I the right person to manage this? If the task is not very important, just don’t do it. Do only deal with tasks which are target-aimed – but when a task is essential you must do it.

Could someone else apply the task? Sometimes it is difficult to delegate tasks, because it is not easy to relinquish control, or it seems difficult to estimate colleagues. However, if you are not able to manage your task qualitatively adequate, you should apply your task to someone else if possible.

A task is essential and there is nobody who could overtake it? Get conscious about your personal importance to the success of the project and just start doing it.

Snatching up daily

Someone who is unmotivated can learn enthusiasm. Success is truly hidden in habits. Someone who snatches up every day again to face daily tasks starts to integrate the “snatching up” in the daily routine as natural. Someone who allows longer periods of breaks will feel bothered with every new task which results in demotivation. Therefore, look for continuity and dare new tasks slowly but surely.

Organise your tasks based on your personal preferences

As long as you are not working on a production line or as a cashier, you will have a certain freedom how to organise your daily work. In the case of voluntary work, everybody rather chooses tasks and topics which suit to personal interests. Hence, it is important that voluntarists are aware of their own preferences and competences in order to assign each participant suitable tasks. If you work efficiently in a team, try to organise project groups. Can you concentrate better when sitting cross-legged on the floor? Just do it and put your laptop on your legs. When you are rather grumpy in the morning organise important appointments for the afternoon. Whatever personality you are – if you are aware of your preferences design your tasks how you like it. In this way it will be much easier to deal with them.

Imagine your task is already done

Everybody knows the good feeling of completed tasks. You can use this feeling already during your work. Imagine mentally the situation when you have competed your task – how does it feel when you are truly appreciated, when you have helped others and when you have learned something new or you even have changed things. Take this feelings as an incentive to reach your goal step by step.

When you tell yourself it’s fun, it’s getting funny

Additionally, you should abandon negative thoughts. Stop telling yourself that you are not able to do certain things, or some tasks are to difficult for you. Imagine your brain is like a basket filled with apples. If there are mainly mouldy apples and only a few fresh ones, the mouldy ones will accelerate the rotting process of the fresh ones. Thus, it is very important to abandon all negative thoughts to get motivated to work.

You cannot get rid of annoying negative thoughts? Take them out of your mind as you write them on a blackboard and clean them away cheerfully. If you do not have a black board write your negative thoughts on a piece of paper and tear it heartily – this method will help you to abandon negative thought.

Let others motivate you

A lonesome fighter is soon exhausted. Search for fellow campaigners who are seeking for the same goal and you will get motivated by them. Support each other during exhausting and complicated times and praise each other when something is completed. If you have to work alone, you should search for motivating literature or inspiring stories of others to draw strength.

Abolish demotivating stuff

Get aware about all things which disturb, hinder or annoy you while working. Note everything and start turning as many issues as possible to their positive side. Try to minimize the list as much as possible. If you think your working space is dreary, decorate it with personal photos or plants. If you are of the opinion that your colleagues are to messy, create your own, tidy system of working and storing material. If others are responsible for your discomfort, talk directly and tell them about your feelings. Your colleagues will surely attempt to contribute to a harmonic working atmosphere, even though they might have to get rid of deep manifested habits, such as an unconscious tapp-tapp-tapp of one’s feed to the floor.

Think about your reward

Which reward? Nobody is rewarding you for your completed task? Nobody even says “thank you” when you have mastered an exhausting problem? If that is the case, just do it yourself. Think about a reward which will make you really happy: An ice cream or a relaxing bath, a massage or whatever else. Don’t think in a way like: “Until Friday I have to work through 10 massive documents” but rather: “On Friday, when I’m done with all 10 documents, I will go to the cinema and afterwards I’ll have my favourite cocktail together with my friends.” Be proud of yourself and praise yourself mentally.

Talk with your partner, family and friends about mastered tasks you are proud of. In this way you combine your work automatically with positive situations, which is worth achieving.

Fear of consequences

Some people are lesser motivated via a reward, but higher motivated if they have to fear consequences. If that is the case for you, clarify the consequences for you and others if you would not complete the task. Analogically to the principle of rewarding you can use the principle of punishment. Imagine something terrible you have to do (something like toilet cleaning for a month) in case you will not complete the task on schedule.

Under pressure and in milestones

Most people experience a boost when the deadline is ahead. Is that the case for you? If yes, create your personal deadline and stick to it. Some projects are real motivation killers because they are boring, incalculable and appear simply unmanageable. Divide such projects in single, clearly separated pieces and formulate realistic (but not too simple) milestones. Doing so, you will gain orientation and safety but simultaneously it will stay a challenge. Fix certain dates for your personal completion. Note your personal deadline in your schedule and communicate it with others. In this way you will not trick yourself and you won’t have a bundle of work just before the actual deadline.

Structure your day

What works on a big scale also works on a smaller scale. Articulate every morning which tasks you have to complete during the day. Use a do-to-list. It will help you to remember everything and to work effectively. Start with the annoying tasks, so that you can abandon their presence in your head. Cross everything out what is done, in this way you can clearly see your progress. If you cannot manage something, put it on the list for the next day, so you will not get disappointed that you have not completed everything. You rather have already a task for the next day.

Accept fluctuations and defeats

No single day is like another. Sometimes you have a run and you can be proud of achieving your goals. But, do not set very successful days as your personal benchmark. Rather be happy and appreciate it if something works out fluently. At one point, a defeat or flop will occur cutting down your motivation. Consider such days as a chance to learn more and tell yourself: “It doesn’t matter!” Defeats can be good hints for necessary changes. Therefore, try your best even on lousy days and be satisfied with all your achievements no matter how little they are.

When nothing works any more: change habits

If you are so deeply into your work that you become blocked and nothing helps to boost your motivation, then it’s time to change some habits. If work allows take a day off. Do something you wanted to do since ages. Take the break to sleep as long as you want and do stuff that makes you happy. When you appear at work the next day, satisfied and well rested, self-motivation will work much better!