Running on Empty: How to Motivate Yourself

After months of pushing through HUGE exciting projects, grad applications and a busy social calendar, my brain is fried. Sometimes I find myself sitting at my desk starring at my mile long to-do list and not getting anywhere because I’m mentally exhausted and I can’t fathom where to start. You might be able to do this for a day or so, but when it starts to happen consistently, you know you have a problem. How do you motivate yourself to GDS again?

We all hit walls in our life and for those of us who can’t afford to take vacations, it can be hard to get over slumps. Prevent your next burn out by implementing these simple tactics to get yourself back in action.

Running on Empty: How to Motivate Yourself

Take a break, seriously
If you’re about to hit a wall or literally about to slam your face into your desk, it’s probably time to take a break. It doesn’t have to be a long break but the important part is that you physically get up from your desk or wherever you’re working and go somewhere else. Take a walk if you’re at the office, go grab a fresh cup of coffee, tune into a show on TV, anything to get your mind off the agitating task and reset. Chances are, you will feel more refreshed when you return.

Turn off distractions
Turn off your phone, TV, email, and tweet deck. Turn off anything that has the capability of pulling your attention away from the task at hand. You don’t have to read that email the second it comes in and I promise Facebook will still be boring in an hour when you’re finished. If you’re trying to get something done, distractions will make it nearly impossible, so remove the temptation.

Start small
When you’re feeling overwhelmed remember to start small. You’re not going to move mountains in one day, mountains take time. Start with small, easy tasks on your to do list to get yourself motivated and back into working mode. Once you cross off a few items it will be easy to shift into larger, more time consuming work. Give yourself the appropriate amount of time to complete each task.

We’ve all been there, facing a task or project we have absolutely no motivation to complete. Not having motivation can be a great indicator of a larger issue. If you constantly find yourself struggling and questioning work, ask yourself why you’re even doing it. This won’t work for everything, but there are some things you simply don’t have to do. The next time you’re running on empty, ask yourself, “Is this something that absolutely has to be done?” If the answer is no, don’t do it. Remove unnecessary burdens and/or delegate when appropriate.

You can’t do it all, everyday, all the time
I struggle with this one a lot. For people who thrive on work it’s easy to allow your work to interfere with your personal life. You will have days where something went wrong on a project or someone pissed you off and you just hate everything regardless if it’s related. Work can poison your mood and strain relationships. While there is no magic cure for bad days it’s important to remember a new day is just around the corner. Shake it off, turn work mode off, and enjoy the people around you. You can do it all, but you can’t do it everyday 24/7.

Even the most successful entrepreneurs burn out. Get yourself back on track by taking a break, re-evaluating commitments and starting small. Tomorrow is a new day, treat it as such.

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