Unlock Your Motivation

If intentions alone could knock out that to-do list, we’d never have to worry about procrastination or lost productivity. We’re all only human, and sometimes that means we aren’t always on top of everything, even when we want to be.

Finding the motivation can be tricky. Life can get hectic, and sometimes procrastinating feels like the only feasible option for our mental health. We have some tips that could help jump-start that motivation and get productivity flowing.

The Power of Procrastination

A big deadline is looming, and the stress is on. What might have been an hour or so of work each day has become more than one all-nighter. We all know logically that procrastination only adds to our stress, and yet it plagues many of us as it becomes a mechanism we use to cope more often than not. Why do we let it happen?

The issue could lie in how our minds balance the anxiety we feel between our unfinished tasks and the anticipation of having to tackle them. When the reward of checking off that list item doesn’t feel strong enough to push us into action, we allow ourselves to settle in the comfort of not having to address it even if, in reality, this choice only adds to our stress. This inaction and the accompanying anxiety serve only to reinforce our procrastination, leading to a vicious cycle.

Sometimes we feel so out of control in our lives that saying "not now" feels like the only control we can exercise. But it's a false sense of control and ultimately we end up even more out of control as a result. So how do we motivate when we just don't WANT to?

Unlocking Your Productivity

A recent study uncovered what experts believe are four areas of thought that shape our ability to get and stay motivated:

  • Expectancy of rewards is a primary driving force behind the decision to take action. Look for the fun!
  • Value in the task at hand and how important it is to finish is also important for motivation. How will this contribute to our future?
  • Delay sensitivity, or how anxious we get when we have unfinished work, can play a role in how long we’re willing to procrastinate. If procrastinated tasks make us feel bad, we're less likely to let them happening the first place.
  • Metacognition, a fancy word for the level of insight we have into our own thought processes, can also affect how we manage our time. Journaling on our task motivation and expectations can help us to build a stable task management system. But until we know how we feel, we can't get anywhere.

How well we’re able to reflect on each of these areas could affect how well we approach our deadlines. Those of us who have a hard time with procrastination may motivate ourselves more effectively by taking the following steps:

  • addressing our expectations — if we're feeling anxious, we may be acting against our own best interests.
  • taking a closer look at how we value the items on our to-do lists — look for the reward.
  • checking ourselves when we seek the temporary peace that comes from putting something off for another day — reflect on the way that procrastination truly affects us over time.

When we can appreciate the true path of least resistance, clearly and without interference, real productivity can begin. But when we allow procrastinated tasks to build up, they become obstacles to our wellbeing.

Motivation doesn’t always come easily, but we might be able to improve ours by shifting how we look at our obligations and reassessing our priorities. Procrastination doesn’t have to interfere with our future. When we’re focused on goals and rewards rather than obstacles, greatness becomes possible.

Copyright 2021, Wellness.com

6/17/2022 4:00:00 AM
Wellness Editor
Written by Wellness Editor
Wellness Exists to Empower Health Conscious Consumers. Wellness.com helps people live healthier, happier and more successful lives by connecting them with the best health, wellness and lifestyle information and resources on the web.
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