By keeping a task list, you too will be able to tangibly mark your progress, and you’ll feel better about what you’ve already achieved. You’ll also get to visualize your progress over time, which can help you keep going when you hit a wall.
7. Establish consequences.
Though reward-based systems often work better for teaching people new things, our instinct to avert loss motivates us to accomplish a goal when there are consequences for not accomplishing it. For example, in one experiment, teachers were split into two groups: one group was offered a $4,000 bonus if their students’ grades improved, and another group was actually given the $4,000, along with the threat that they would have to return the money if grades didn’t improve. Those consequences led the latter group to perform better over the semester.
So, if you want to get more things done, establish your own consequences for not getting them done.
If you find yourself chronically low on motivation and this happens relatively frequently — say, more than once or twice a week — consider this a sign of a bigger problem in your daily work life. You might be dealing with too much stress (without an outlet to relieve it), or you might be heading toward burnout.
If that’s the case, these suggested short-term hacks won’t be enough to help you recover. You’ll need to invest significant resources into changing your environment and your lifestyle to something more manageable, longer-term.