5 Tips for Working When You Don’t Feel Like It

Lazy dogWe all can be motivated, self-starting dynamos – when we feel like it. But, let’s face it: sometimes starting or finishing a job can be excruciatingly difficult, especially when we are our own boss. These tips might help you get your body and mind synchronized and working together to get you off the couch and into active productivity.

Just start moving

You know the two sides to the Law of Inertia: A body at rest will remain at rest; a body in motion will remain in motion. Get the ball rolling. Go ahead and gas up the lawn mower. Fill the sink with soapy water. Open the can of paint and start stirring it. Open the book, turn on the calculator, put on your work clothes. Whatever your task might be, you probably know what Step 1 is. Do it.

Break it into pieces

Sometimes a task just seems so large and daunting that we just don’t know where to begin, and that can cause paralysis. You can’t climb Everest in one run, and you can’t paint a house in a day. Plan your work, and then work your plan. If you have to write a 20-page paper, make a list of the research you’ll need; do your research; outline the points you want to make based on your research; write the first half; write the second half; edit and polish it. The sooner you settle down and get to it, the more time you will have for each section of the project and the better your result will be.

Plan a treat for yourself at each milestone

Don’t let yourself have that carton of peach yogurt until you get completely done with the first piece of your project. Challenge yourself to complete the next phase of the task in time to watch Survivor or Grey’s Anatomy. Treat yourself to a Facebook break when you finish the next milestone (unless you’re a Facebook addict, then go for a scoop of ice cream). You get the idea. Give yourself the little perks you deserve to keep yourself motivated. And no cheating!

Figure out what’s holding you back, and then fix it

Is it a job you hate? Are you lacking the knowledge or instructions you need to proceed? Is your mind cluttered with other concerns that are making it impossible to focus? Are you physically too tired or too filled with toxins that are making you lethargic and lazy? Motivate yourself with the relief you’ll feel when the job is behind you and off your mind. Talk to your boss or client, or go online and get the information you need. Clear your mind and cleanse your body with some rigorous physical exercise, and then get right to work.

Have a little talk with the man or woman in the mirror

There is no better motivator than self-affirmation, self-confidence, and positive thinking. Look yourself in the eye and tell yourself that you can do it and that you have to do it. Visualize yourself as the master of your task, and visualize your task from start to finish. This part is like the huddle in a football game: You set up and design the play, and then you break with a shout of affirmation, leaving no room for doubt as to your ability and resolve to move the ball ahead. It may take several plays and a few first downs, but soon you will cross the goal line. Nothing succeeds like success, and each move ahead inspires the next and the next.

Jim DeBellis is a staff writer for Criminal Justice Degree Schools, a resource site providing information on criminal justice degrees, schools, and careers.