It’s the first Monday of September and I think it’s ingrained in us Brits to feel that sense of a fresh start, that something new is just round the corner whether we like it or not. September is the start of the new school year in England, and in the same way we used to get ready for it with a new rucksack, pair of school shoes and a pencil case, now we must find ways to feel more motivated to make use of the frisson and excitement in the air and.
C’mon, I don’t even have kids or know anyone under the age of 25 and I can feel it.
If you’re feeling a bit more ‘back to bed’ than ‘back to school’ then have a read of these tried and tested motivational tips. I’ve been a freelancer for over three years now, and there’ve been a few times when I’ve wished I was just on the payroll somewhere and could rock up and look like I was working all day, but in my line of work, you don’t work, you don’t get paid.
I’ve had to create some fail-proof strategies to ensure I get the work done, even when Netflix is calling…
9 Ways to Feel More Motivated
1. Own a mantra
“You did what was right at the time.”
“If the grass looks greener on the other side, it’s because it’s fertilised with bullshit.”
“I am a beautiful snowflake”
“Not with that attitude.”
That last one my friend Stu taught me. He’s been in the army and he’s talking Positive Mental Attitude. Of course you’re not going to be able to do whatever it is you want to do if you don’t have the right attitude for it!
The mantras above have helped me through a few situations, decisions, and life processes – here are a few motivational mantras if you don’t yet have your own.
2. Wake up early
When I go on trips and I’m jetlagged I bloody love how much I get done in the morning, before I’d normally even be awake. I can’t do that in England though. I often work late into the night and so find it hard to be up as early as I’d like. I do always set my alarm for 7:30am though – mainly because I hate not being able to sleep at night.
I know that if I woke up earlier I’d get a lot more done, but I’ve got to be realistic, right?
– Oh it’s a killer but it makes you 100% more productive, IMHO (not my bed)
If ever you read those ‘number one tips from successful people’ articles, getting up early is always cited. Get up as early as possible and you have more time to yourself to complete your goals. You can also, possibly, have all the things you don’t want to do, done by breakfast time. Best start to the day possible.
3. Clean up
Tidy house, tidy mind. Anyone who’s known me a few years may laugh at that, but I’ve changed. I am a very messy person, I can’t help it, but I know that and I try to make a conscious effort to tidy the trail of destruction that seems to follow me around. When I’m feeling restless and like I can’t concentrate, I just need to clean up around me, maybe even have a clear out, and I feel instantly better.
If you work from home, like I do, things can get messy pretty quickly – stay on top of it.
4. Do some exercise
I exercise pretty much every day, mainly because if I didn’t I wouldn’t actually move. I work at home, I eat at home, I sleep at home – I could definitely get by on 250 steps a day.
This would not be good for me mentally or physically.
– Get out, get some fresh air, and get a new perspective
I have a bike so cycle as much as possible, I’m a day time member of my gym (cheaper innit) and I live right by the beach and a huge common so I can easily go for walks too. I always feel better and more productive after exercise.
READ MORE: My Mental Health as a Travel Blogger
5. Put an inspirational playlist on
Music is my lifeline – that used to be my name on MSN Messenger. Haha, so emo. TBH though, it was and actually still is. Music has been there for me when there’s been no on else around. It’s fitted every emotion possible when I’ve been travelling and if ever I’m in any kind of mood, it’s usually the music I’ve been listening to that’s got me there.
So if you need a bit of a kick up the arse to accomplish something, or start moving towards your goal then check out my Gimme that Motivation playlist on Spotify.
6. Take a break
Whatever it is you’re trying to do you need to take breaks. I know myself now, and my working style. I know when it’s time to step away from my laptop, take a break and refuel.
– Have a break, have a fancy coffee
If your breaks are scheduled, by your boss for example, then make sure you take them. Even if you don’t do anything but go and sit somewhere else or go for a walk, it’ll give your mind a rest and give you some energy to get through the rest of the day. And if they’re not scheduled, use them to bribe yourself (see step 10).
And actually take a break – don’t just swap your computer screen for your phone screen.
7. Plan your time
Sometimes I get totally overwhelmed by how much I need to do. So all I do is make a list and allot a certain amount of time to each thing, by the hour. That way I can see what needs to be done and what I have to do to get there. Sometimes if there really is a lot on then I like to write the list the night before so I can sleep better.
I love a to do list and it totally motivates me to see things crossed off through out the day. Sometimes I like to put things like ‘have lunch’ on there, just so I know I can at least achieve something in a day.
Little achievements lead to bigger ones, I’m tellin ya.
8. Take one step at a time
– One step at a time people, it’s how most things get accomplished
Once you have your steps planned out, don’t sit back and congratulate yourself. It’s time to work your way through them one at a time. Something I learnt when I was working at gapyear.com, was to just pick your top 5 for the day – the most important things you can do to feel accomplished at the end of the day. I still do this now. If you overwhelm yourself with things you need to do then you’ll find it hard to do any of them.
9. Turn the Wi-Fi off
Get rid of those damn notifications and keep your phone out the room. I think my phone pops into my mind at least every 5 minutes when I’m meant to be concentrating on work. It doesn’t help to have it near by either. This one time, I downloaded an app called Moment, which told me how long I’d spent on my phone every day and on what, I can tell you, the results were disturbing. I quickly deleted it.
There is nothing more demotivating to my working day than getting lost in a Twitter / Whatsapp / Facebook / Tinder hole, and then clawing my way out to find an hour has gone by. It’s the interruptions that can threaten your good intentions the most.
BONUS 10. Reward yourself
– Or a beer, whatever gets you through the day
One of the best ways to motivate me, is to promise a treat somewhere along the way. It could be breakfast, or lunch, or a 30-minute look round John Lewis or Debenhams (both a few minutes walk away), or a coffee shop coffee, or a lie down. You get the idea. Anything that will get you through the task at hand.
I often bribe myself with treats, telling myself that once I’ve got this article done, I can go and have a cup of tea and a biscuit, which is exactly what I’m about to do…