How to get back on track

2011-06-23

Often I find myself on a productive path in life. I've do 8 hours a day of productive work for a few weeks, then one day I don't feel as well as normal, or some interruption occurs and I decide I can slack off a bit. Within a few days I am playing video games all day and accomplishing very little.

I've found myself in that situation very recently, so I figured I'd try to make a guide on how to get out of a rut. Hopefully anyone reading will find these tips useful as well.

One of the most common factors I find when I am starting to feel unmotivated is I haven't been to the gym in 4 days or more. I try to go every other day, and if I don't my energy level starts dropping dramatically. I sit in front of a computer most of the day so I have a tendency to get out of shape very quickly. If you feel sluggish ask yourself when the last time you got some exercise? If it was more than a few days ago, I would make it your first priority in life getting to the gym, playing basket ball, taking a long walk, or doing whatever you do for physical maintenance.

Another cause of low energy might just be dehydration. Sometimes just drinking a couple of glasses of water can help get you back on track.

Having a time when you start your work everyday is also helpful. If you don't have a set time to start working, you have to decide to sit down and start working on your projects where as if you have decided ahead of time you'll do a certain thing at 7pm every night, or 9am every morning, you have to decide not to do your work, which is harder to accept. Setting an alarm on your phone or watch (does anyone still use those?) can be good reminder to get up and get busy.

If you are in one of those situations where you know you should be doing something important but you're browsing Facebook or news sites endlessly I find just putting some music on can instantly change your motivation. I don't recommend Beethoven, jazz, or Radiohead. All of which are very good, but pick some tunes with a real high energy level, and play it as loud as possible. Not only will it get you amped up but it'll make whatever you doing less boring while you do it.

Making deadlines is helpful as well. Write down the thing you are trying to do and next to it when it should be done by. Having this date in your head will push you to work more than you normally would.

Last, just do it. This works a lot of times. If you are putting something off while reading this, just stop reading, and go do that thing right now.