Now that many of us are working from home with minimal supervision and more flexible deadlines, I’m finding it more important than ever to stay self-motivated. Whether it be my summer job, a long-term goal, or just the up-coming school year, quarantine is making me really understand the importance of self-motivation!
I often find it hard to stay motivated and on-task, sometimes getting distracted easily. But, I’ve found that these tips have really helped me stay on-task, meet deadlines, and hold myself accountable.
- Turn goals into concrete tasks
Having a big goal or project can be intimidating and feel too vague to start working on easily. Because of this, I always make sure to break down any goal I need to complete into concrete steps, and allocate each step to a certain day or time of the week.
For example, if I need to write an essay, I’ll break down the essay into all its component parts—thinking about the question, developing a research plan, researching, writing a rough draft, and editing. Then, I’ll organize my schedule around these tasks, setting firm deadlines as to when I have to get each task done. I find this really helpful because it makes abstract or large goals seem concrete and simple, and helps me stay motivated because all I need to do is get done the task for the day.
2) Keep yourself accountable
Even though I don’t have a direct supervisor, I always find it helpful to keep myself accountable in some way! Whether this be updating a family member or friend about your progress for the day, or even writing down in a journal whether you were able to accomplish your tasks for the day, keeping yourself accountable in some way helps raise the stakes of getting your work done.
3) Reward yourself
There’s no way you can stay self-motivated if you’re burnt out! I have a whole other blog article on this topic, but basically I think it’s key to take time off and reward yourself for your hard work.
Though everyone’s different, I find it a lot more effective to set time aside in your day to work, and then reward yourself later, as opposed to alternating between working and rewarding yourself. Setting firm cut-off times, like always stopping work after dinner, also helps me work harder and more efficiently because I know I’ll have time off later.
4) Stay positive
I find it impossible to stay self-motivated if I have a negative attitude towards what I’m doing. If I’m feeling down about my work, I’ll make sure to take time off to reflect on what I’m doing and how I can adopt a more positive mind-set. If I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed, I’ll often use a CBT exercise to calm myself down. Staying positive makes what I’m doing feel so much more manageable and motivates me to work hard and enjoy myself.
How do you stay self-motivated? Let me know in the comments below!