Sometimes, as moms, we decide if we have had a successful day by how many things we get checked off of our to-do list. The problem is there are days we just don’t feel motivated, so when our to-do list stays long, we get frustrated at ourselves. How do we get motivated on those days we just don’t feel like it? Today, I’m going to talk to you about three ways to improve how productive you are. These tips will help increase the amount of tasks you can get done, and give you some insight on how to balance self-care and productivity. 

Why are we not motivated to begin with?

First, let’s talk about how we get to this point of not feeling motivated. We all have times when we’re just exhausted or sleep deprived, or even those times when we’re hormonal or our life situation isn’t ideal. I’m like that. I have those days when I’m just done. My mom used to tell me, “Take a bath, and go to sleep. Tomorrow is a new day.” I feel like this a few times a month, and this has become my mantra for bad days. “Take a bath, go to sleep, tomorrow’s a new day!”

We get into this place of overwhelm, and when things start to pile up, we find ourselves drowning in a list of things to do. Life is already overwhelming enough, and when we overload our plates, we hit a wall. This wall creates an “I don’t want to” attitude. This is totally normal, but then we get into a spiral of guilt because we’re not taking care of things that we’re supposed to be taking care of. It leaves us feeling on edge and feeling worse than we did before. 

The reality is we need more than one tip to get motivated when we don’t feel like it. I am going to provide you with three proven tools to get you through this challenging time, so you can still get things done. 

1. Visualization

The power of visualization! Doctors, surgeons, and athletes use this method. I don’t know why we’re not using this tool more in our lives, especially as moms. All you have to do is think about that one project that you need to get done. Not all the projects, and not all the things. Focus on ONE thing and think about working on it. Watch yourself completing the task, step by step. Think about how it will feel when you have finished that project. 

As humans, we crave positive reinforcement, and allowing our brains to play out, like a movie, the process of completing a big task makes us feel good (almost like it’s actually done!) . When we create a positive thought process and focus on the end result, we are more driven and motivated to accomplish that task. You may find yourself after visualizing immediately getting up to start getting the task done. Go for it!

Visualization helps us focus on the positive reinforcement instead of all the negative thoughts that often fill our heads. It’s very easy to create a negative ending to your visualization, but you are in control. Try your best to create a positive ending that will get you moving and motivated to get things accomplished. 

2. Timers

Setting timers is a great tool that you can use to help keep you motivated while focusing on your time management skills. It’s also a great motivator for kids too! My suggestion for you is to set a 20 minute timer, focus on one task, and reward yourself with a small 5 minute break. At the end of the 20 minutes, if you still feel motivated, keep going without the pause. You don’t HAVE to stop, but it is encouraged to take a break from decision fatigue and frustration. If you decide to take a break, keep it to 5 minutes and then get back to work on that task. It can be easy to take a longer break, but that really can cause you to lose motivation!

Another tip is to make sure your break is a relaxing and calm moment, instead of a major distraction that will last longer than 5 minutes. Often we think, “Oh I’ll just write that friend back.” or “This video looks funny!” and then 30 minutes have passed. 5 minutes is perfect to get yourself something to drink and a small snack, do a little meditation, stretch with some yoga poses, or find some new music to keep you motivated for the next 20 minute interval. Be realistic about your 5 minute break so it doesn’t negatively impact you.

3. Balance

It’s important to balance your daily tasks and time for self-care. We all need time to recharge. Trust me, this is normal. Once again, I suggest setting a timer to get things done, but once the timer goes off, reset the timer to reward yourself with a self-care break. I worked with a mom once who said, “As soon as my son goes down for nap, I feel like those 1.5 hours must be used for getting things done.” but then she felt total burnout by the end of the week. I asked her what it would be like to use 45 minutes for work and 45 minutes for her, or one hour for work and 30 minutes for self-care. She shared she never thought about breaking it up. We stop getting creative when we are exhausted and trying to get too much done.

Remember, we need to balance self-care and rest with getting things done. If we work, work, work, without allowing time to rest, eventually, we will hit that wall of exhaustion. We have all felt like this at one point or another during our lives. Taking care of you is just as important as everything on your to-do list, so make it a priority as well. I find when I allow myself a 30 minute pause of self-care that is true self-care, then I am so ready to tackle anything on my list and I get it done much faster!

Try these three tools out to push past the desire to procrastinate and get motivated with purpose. Use visualizations to remember the positive outcome that will occur, timers to keep you motivated, and work on balancing breaks with activity to keep you from burning out.

You’ve got this!

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