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Dealing with Ruts: When You Lack Motivation

Updated: Aug 24, 2022

Lately I've been in somewhat of a rut. Whether it's at home, or at work, I'm having trouble getting anything done. Lack of motivation is naturally leading to lack of productivity. So let's deal with motivation first.

Act as if you feel motivated

Very Well Mind's first tip for getting out of a rut is essentially fake it 'til you make it; act like you feel motivated. Ask yourself, "What would I be wearing if I were feeling motivated? What would I be doing if I were feeling motivated?" For me, I can't feel like I've accomplished anything if I'm still in my pajamas. Even on my days off, I get dressed first thing, then I put my makeup on. It makes me feel better. It makes me feel like I'm in command of my day.

Argue the Opposite

If I sit at my desk all day telling myself "I'll never get this done," I'm technically right. Instead of telling myself I won't do a good job, so why bother trying, I should talk myself up. A little self-kindness can work wonders. Very Well Mind argues that we are often kinder to other people than we are to ourselves. If a friend told us they were having trouble doing something, we wouldn't kick them while they're down. We should return the favor to ourselves.

Pair a dreaded task with something you enjoy

When I'm doing the dishes, I often call my grandma. All of a sudden, the kitchen is clean and we're still chatting. Very Well Mind says "Boost your mood by adding a little fun to something you’re not motivated to do. You’ll feel happier and you might even look forward to doing the task when it’s regularly paired with something fun."

Practice Self Care

The days I go to the gym before work are often the days I get the most done. They're the days when I'm in the best mood. I'm more alert. I feel better about myself and my ability to tackle complicated tasks.

Get Creative

Now I'm fully aware that creativity is hard to come by when you're already just not feeling it. But when I can find that creative spark, I suddenly feel a jolt of energy. I want to pursue this idea to it's fullest potential. Things that spark creativity for me? Driving. Listening to music. Getting outside. Talking to other creative/motivated people. The possibilities are endless!

Manage Perfectionism

This one's mine. Sometimes I'm so worried about not executing a project perfectly, that in my mind it's better to not ever try. I guess that makes me a hypocrite too, because I frequently tell a friend that sometimes she just has to buckle down and get the project done, and not everything can or will be up to her high standards. Hey, that's pretty good advice...

More tomorrow on increasing productivity!

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