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You set an alarm to wake up in time for your “new day new me” daily routine and then hit the snooze button.
You sign up for a new online course to broaden your horizons and never make it through the first lesson.
You set yourself “achievable” work project deadlines and then delay them again and again.
If this sounds familiar or too close to comfort, don’t worry. We’re not personally calling you out here (and no, we’re not waving the shame bell either).
It can be incredibly tough to motivate yourself! Virtually everyone has fallen victim to laziness at some point in their lives.
Working from home has made it more difficult for some people to have a good balance between work and personal life. It can be difficult to properly prioritize your work, home life, and other commitments when they’re all under one roof!
Motivation loss is a normal part of life, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to tackle it. In this post, we’ll share helpful motivation tips that our Proofread Anywhere team members have found beneficial.
Why Do I Feel Unmotivated?
Is your motivation just not there? Feeling stuck in a rut is normal, whether it lasts for days, weeks, or months. Even the most successful people in the world struggle with motivation throughout their lives. Franz Kafka, a famous writer, wrote about his struggle with demotivation, showing his greatness as a creative writer:
“How time flies; another ten days and I have achieved nothing. It doesn’t come off. A page now and then is successful, but I can’t keep it up, the next day I am powerless.”Franz Kafka, quoted by David Stuart Davies
If you’re feeling unmotivated, remember that a loss of motivation is just a symptom, not the root cause of the problem. Understanding the underlying cause of your demotivation will make it easier to overcome.
People who work from home or have a 9-to-5 office job may feel unmotivated and unhappy. This can be attributed to factors such as mental health, professional growth, and social well-being:
- Goal-related factors: These factors involve setting realistic, attainable goals, which can provide a sense of direction and purpose
- Career-related factors: Lack of growth or advancement opportunities in your job can make you feel stuck and unmotivated.
- Mental and emotional factors: These factors include burnout, isolation, fear of failure, low self-confidence, and feeling overwhelmed or unappreciated. These can significantly impact motivation levels.
- Environmental factors: These factors refer to the work environment, such as distractions, which can hinder focus and productivity
- Self-care and well-being factors: Not taking breaks and not caring for oneself can lead to feeling tired and losing motivation.
- Passion and fulfillment factors: These factors relate to a lack of passion or enjoyment in one’s current career, indicating the need for exploring new options that align with personal interests
If you’re ready to start a new career and start doing the things you enjoy, check out our General Proofreading Workshop to see if proofreading is right for you
Do any of these resonate with you? Regardless of the underlying cause of your demotivation, our tips below will still be helpful, especially when it comes to motivating yourself to meet those tight work deadlines.
While it’s normal to experience the issues above at some point in your life, there are some effective tricks that can relight the motivational spark within you and ramp up productivity. We’ll discuss them all below.
While we can’t promise that every tip will work for you, they offer valuable insights depending on the root cause of your demotivation. We sadly also can’t perform magic to instantly bring back your motivation and make you produce your best work (although we wish we could!). What we can assure you is that by reading this post, you’ll gain specific measures to give your motivation the best possible opportunity to thrive again.
Change Your Environment
External factors such as clutter, a cramped room, or blaring music outside can seriously mess with your mood and motivation, no matter how hard you try to brush them off! To combat this, it’s crucial to have a work environment that is both comfortable and distraction-free. This space should be solely dedicated to work, helping you easily slip into the “at work” mindset while establishing a clear boundary between your home and work life.
Ready to boost your productivity? Here are some quick and easy changes you can make to create the perfect work environment:
Clutter not only occupies physical space but also clutters your mind, leading to distractions, stress, and ultimately, a lack of motivation. Having a clean and organized desk can alleviate stress and enable you to focus on the task at hand. Make it a habit to spend 10 minutes tidying up your desk each morning before you start work or after you’ve finished for the day.
When distractions are minimized, you can devote more attention to your work, leading to greater efficiency and a sense of progress, which in turn fuels motivation. Ensure your workspace is located in a quiet spot where you won’t hear blaring TV sounds or clashes and bangs from the kitchen.
You should also set boundaries with household members and kindly ask them to respect your workspace during working hours. If that’s not feasible, consider investing in noise-canceling headphones. An added benefit is that you can play productivity-boosting background music while you work!
Remember to also switch your phone to silent or “do not disturb.” If the temptation is too much and you find yourself endlessly scrolling through social media, download a dedicated app that blocks distractions and helps you focus.
Switch Things Up
If your job is fairly monotonous, consider regularly switching up your external environment. This simple change can introduce a touch of novelty into your daily routine, revitalizing your perspective and making your work feel fresh again.
You can vary your workspace by altering the view, decorations, colors, or even something as small as your work coffee mug. If you work from home, consider visiting a cafe or library to experience a different environment.
Additionally, it’s worth exploring ways to diversify your work. As a freelance proofreader, for example, you could take on projects in different niches. This approach ensures that you continually encounter new topics, fostering a sense of ongoing learning and engagement in your day-to-day work life.
Add Things That Inspire
Adding inspirational elements to your office can be highly effective. Consider including motivational books, favorite artworks, or posters of your role models.
One of our team members even decorates their walls with sticky notes featuring positive client feedback! This customization is especially beneficial if you struggle with self-confidence.
Try a Productivity Timer
Do you often catch yourself spending hours staring at your work without making progress? Do you feel reluctant to take breaks, only to end up reaching for your phone every 20 minutes? Contrary to common belief, taking breaks actually boosts productivity instead of hindering it!
As amazing as your brain is, it has its limits when it comes to sustained focus. Without giving it time to recharge, you’ll become easily distracted, irritable, and stuck to your couch (which explains the phone scrolling habit).
To ensure regular breaks, try using a timer as a reminder. Step away from your screen and break up the time with activities that bring you relaxation and joy, such as reading your favorite book, going for a walk, or exercising in your home office.
Experiment with our favorite timer methods:
- Pomodoro: Breaks down tasks into 25-minute time chunks with 5-minute breaks in between. Helps prevent dawdling and ensures you don’t overwork yourself
- Flowtime: Work on tasks until you feel bored or distracted, then take a quick break and repeat. Helps you stay focused and easily track time spent on specific tasks
- Eat The Frog: Identify and work on the most important task of the day first until it’s completed. Helps you prioritize effectively and doesn’t involve context-switching.
Join a Community
Feeling isolated in your day-to-day life can often lead to feeling less motivation. You’re more likely to feel this way if you’re a remote worker, a stay-at-home parent, studying online, or in any independent role like proofreading, where you may lack a natural community around you.
If you’re feeling lonely don’t hesitate to reach out to a community for support. It’s perfectly normal and healthy to seek and offer support from colleagues, parents, classmates, and professional contacts throughout your journey.
Even if you can’t find a local support network, you can actively seek out and join online communities of like-minded individuals who inspire and motivate you. At Proofread Anywhere, we’ve established various community groups to ensure our students and graduates stay connected on their career paths.
Another option is to join a dedicated coworking space, where remote workers, freelancers, and independent professionals come together in a shared work environment. Coworking spaces not only boost productivity but also provide access to a diverse range of talented individuals who are often willing to help since you’re not in direct competition with them.
It’s also a lot easier to stay motivated when you’re surrounded by passionate professionals who truly care about their work. Remember, you’re not alone, and reaching out to a supportive community can make a world of difference in staying motivated and inspired.
Break Down Large Tasks
Going slowly and taking baby steps can help to start larger projects and avoid stress. This trick is effective and can keep you motivated. When faced with big tasks, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, intimidated, and even convinced they’re impossible to accomplish. These emotions can seriously dampen your motivation.
Creating a to-do list is our way of taking manageable steps toward a big goal. Lists act as external motivation that inspire you to keep going. There are several methods you can use to divide your work day, tasks, or long-term plans:
- Task blocking: Schedule work tasks in advance, allocating specific time blocks based on priority
- Time batching: Divide your work day into distinctive blocks of time, which lessens context switching. Each time block is dedicated to tasks that are similar in nature, such as “meetings,” “checking messages,” and “writing newsletters”
- Day theming: Devote an entire day to a specific task
These time-management techniques are designed to enhance productivity and enable you to accomplish more in less time. Each method has its unique approach and is suitable for different needs, so experiment with each one to determine which works best for you.
Remember those moments from your childhood when you were praised and rewarded for your hard work? Whether it was a gold star for an essay or the admiration of your DIY project, those moments made you feel valued, happy, and inspired to do even better!
But as we grew into adulthood, those gold stars seemed to disappear. Rarely do we receive recognition for our time and efforts, especially if we’re independent freelancers, parents, or students working from home. The lack of recognition can take a toll on our self-worth and completely deflate our motivation.
While you can’t exactly force those around you to notice your efforts, you can still actively reward yourself and provide the extrinsic motivation you deserve, whether it’s celebrating a task completion, finishing a big project, or simply surviving a particularly tough day.
Some great external rewards are:
- Take a hot bubble bath
- Have a meal out with friends
- Buy yourself flowers
- Have a picnic
- Buy your favorite snacks, cheeses, or chocolates
- Check out a museum
- Have a wine-tasting session
Finding a reward that motivates you takes practice. Consider activities that bring you joy, and analyze your motivation when you use them in your projects. You have the power to recognize your own accomplishments and fuel your motivation from within.
Ask for Help
Don’t forget, you don’t have to deal with tough times all by yourself. It’s absolutely normal, and actually good for you, to ask for help when you’re going through a hard time. You can turn to your colleagues, family, or friends for support, and even your local community can provide amazing help and chances for you to achieve more than you thought possible. There are moments when we all need some extra support, and that’s absolutely okay.
If the stress or anxiety (work-related or not) is becoming too much, don’t be afraid to seek help from a professional, such as a licensed therapist or doctor. They’ll listen to your concerns without judgment and provide you with the tools, coping strategies, and knowledge needed to navigate this difficult time.
How to Improve Motivation
Feeling motivated about motivation? There are plenty more motivation tips, tricks, and resources out there that can help you keep your spark alive, such as:
- Create a diary that documents your achievements to remind yourself of how far you’ve come
- Improve your sleep schedule. A lack of sleep can leave you irritated, exhausted, and unmotivated
- Go out for a walk or daily run. Exercise has been known to boost endorphins (the “feel-good chemicals”), which can help with mood and energy levels
- Check out Colleen Welsch’s inspiring interview on how she built a successful career as a freelance writer
- Avoid people that put you down, distract you, or hinder your goals. Surround yourself with motivated people instead
- Learn how to change the way that you view money and success with the Mindset Mastery Guide
- Try these 17 motivational worksheets, exercises, and activities
- Use a habit tracker app to build good habits and reach your desired goals
- Find an accountability buddy to give yourself extra motivation
If you need some more inspiration, check out what some of our students have said about proofreading and changing their lives.
When you feel unmotivated, it can be difficult to carry out everyday chores in real life, such as meeting work deadlines or fulfilling family commitments. These feelings happen to all of us, but that doesn’t mean you have to combat them alone. It’s okay to seek help from friends, colleagues, family, or professionals when things become too much.
With the right support network, and by using our various tactics above, you’ll soon be able to rekindle your motivation and passion again. And the next time you feel unmotivated? You’ll know exactly how to give yourself the best chance of overcoming it!
Think proofreading might be for you? We’ve put together several motivational tips about How to Become a Proofreader from home! We’d love to support your journey!