How to Get Things Done When You Don’t Feel Like It
Do you have something that you need to do but you just don’t have the energy or motivation to get started? Here’s an easy process that will teach you how to get things done when you don’t feel like it.
I’ve included a free worksheet below to make this even easier!
You don’t need motivation, the “right time,” or even a lot of energy to get things done. Getting things done is a simple straight-forward process that will move you from getting unstuck to getting a life you love.
Productivity and time-management are constant issues for most of us. We might feel overwhelmed by too many things to do.
Or we might feel depressed or lack the energy to start new things. Maybe you never find the time or the motivation to get things done.
Over the years, I have seen people put things off for a long time. I’ve seen people put off doing important things for years!
Guess what. Those things don’t go away.
They become problems or regrets.
Save yourself from having life-long regrets or avoidable problems by learning how to get things done now. You can learn how to get things done even when you don’t feel like it
The Cost of Putting Things Off
There is a huge cost to putting things off.
That’s the truth. When you put off doing important things—whether they are vital to your life or your soul, they become either problems or regrets.
It’s sad to see someone who has a dream, a calling, or a longing to put it off so long that years later they regret all the time they wasted.
Even if what you want or need to do is not something so profound as a life-calling, putting off essential tasks can lead to problems down the line.
There May Never Be a Perfect Time to Get Something Done
Many people wait forever for the right time to start something. I’ll talk later about how we trick ourselves into putting things off.
For now, I can just assure you that waiting for the right time, may just leave you waiting forever.
The great thing about this process is that you are not going to depend on being motivated, having energy, or even feeling like you want to do it.
I’m assuming it there IS something you WANT to do but you keep putting it off because you just can’t seem to get started.
This process can not only get you started but will keep you moving until that thing you want to do is done.
Even better, once you do it with ONE thing, you’ll have a method for getting other things done.
That feeling of being stuck can be simply frustrating to you for a day or two or it can go on much longer and become a real problem.
Whenever I feel stuck on something, this is the best way I know how to get unstuck when I don’t have any energy or motivation.
It worked for me, in the most trying part of my life and it works when I have something new that is difficult to get started.
How to Get Unstuck When You Don’t Feel Motivated
It’s tempting to think that you can’t do things because you don’t feel like doing them.
However, learning to do things you really want to do but just can’t seem to get around to doing, is one of the most amazing things you can do for yourself.
This is how you get a life you love. Here’s the thing. You have a part of your brain where these “I really should do this but I’m not” things float around.
It might not seem like a big deal, but they really do have an energy-zapping effect.
I’d go so far to say, as they keep you stuck in many other ways. Often, we come up with all kinds of life-draining ways to ignore the pull of the things we need or want to do.
How often do you play around online, overeat, overdrink, watch too much TV, and just in general not get things done?
Are you filling up your days or filling up your life?
Sure, we all need some downtime, but for many of you, you are spending way more time than necessary doing these mindless actions.
The bottom line is, are you putting off getting things done?
Since you’re here, that’s a yes. Now, here’s how to get things done when you don’t feel like it.
Narrow Down What You Want to Do
It’s tempting to want to do everything all at once. That in itself can be a problem. For this to work, you’ve got to pick ONE thing. Trust me here, if you can tackle that one thing, you are going to feel so much better.
This one thing can be anything that’s relevant to you:
- Studying for a test
- Writing a paper
- Doing your taxes
- Writing a blog post
- Cleaning your closet
- Organizing files
- Writing thank you notes
- Planning a party
- Learning a new technology
- Take a class
- Plan a trip
How to Decide on Your One Thing
It must have a measurable outcome. That is, you will absolutely know when it’s done. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be something that can be finished.
It can be done in pieces. Something like painting a room is a little trickier since you can’t really do that in small increments. Pick something you can work on in small increments over a period of time.
It is important. While you might not feel like doing it; it should have some relative importance to the quality of your life.
Okay, now write down that ONE thing you are going to do!
Schedule Time First Thing in the Morning
I’ve played around with this and the least stressful way to approach this is to just plan on doing it first thing every day.
When I leave the timing open, I will put it off all day and that in itself feels stressful. However, if I plan for it to be the first thing I do (after coffee) then it not only gets done, it feels better.
Since, as you’ll see soon, you’re only committing to 15 minutes a day, you can probably just get up a little earlier if you need to.
If another time of day, truly works better for you, then go for it. Just make sure you have that time set aside for this.
Know That You Will Not Want to Do This Thing
You might feel excited the first time, you arrive at your planned work time. On the other hand, you might totally want to blow it off. In fact, there are going to be times when you absolutely do not want to do this.
It’s not a problem. Just expect that your brain is going to fight you on this at times. Our brains like to keep us comfortable. Doing this is going to feel uncomfortable at times.
Yet, conversely, there is such a good feeling to doing this that it’s worth doing even if your brain gives you a hundred reasons why you don’t have to do it.
If you find yourself negotiating with yourself, just do the thing anyway.
Negotiating with myself? Yes, we all do it. Here’s what it looks like.
You’re all set to get to work and then you find yourself, telling yourself that you’ll do it after you read the paper, after your Facebook time, or after you do the laundry.
Your brain is a clever negotiator. Have a zero tolerance for that kind of talk!
Set the Timer for 15 Minutes
This is the magic. You all can commit to 15 minutes a day for something worthwhile. I’ve read things that recommend committing to 5 minutes.
While that seems like it should be easier, it just isn’t enough time for me. Our brains have to actually think we’ll get something done. We just don’t want to be on the hook for too long.
For me, 15 minutes is the sweet spot. It’s long enough that if done over a few days or weeks, you really do accomplish your goal. But it’s not too long that it feels overwhelming to get started.
Allow Yourself to Do More if You Want—But Never Do Less
Here’s the deal. You have to keep doing your thing for the entire 15 minutes. Don’t do less. Use your entire 15 minutes to work towards your goal. That is your iron-clad commitment.
If you get into, feel free to work a little longer. Work a lot longer. Finish the whole thing in one sitting.
However, that is NOT the goal. You don’t have to feel bad about stopping at 15 minutes. In fact, you have done an amazing thing if you worked on something for 15 minutes that you’ve been putting off for some time.
That’s progress! And it is perfectly fine to do that. In times of low energy and non-existent motivation that is a huge WIN.
Keep at it Until the Task is Done
This is super important. Keep at it for as many days as it takes to get it done. You can plan to do a “business week” which is five days a week or you can do it every day. Or give yourself one day off.
Remember the part at the beginning where I said your thing needs an end? I made that rule because you are going to work on this until it’s done.
I want you to experience the satisfaction and maybe joy of finally getting this thing you’ve been putting off, done.
Get your FREE printable worksheet here:
You Can Get Unstuck
You really can get unstuck at any time and you can also do things that initially seem too difficult for such a simple process.
This is a case where the committing and the consistently doing make all the difference. Being able to direct our energy and our actions is powerful, though it may feel anything but powerful at the time.
Why Getting Things Done is Important
This whole post is about more than just getting some pesky tasks done. While, I absolutely believe that is essential in a well-running life, this is about more.
This is about getting unstuck, so you can have the life you really want. When I wasn’t able to motivate myself to work for long periods of time, I used the 15-minute blocks to get stuff done anyway.
Eventually, I began to be able to work for longer periods, even when I wasn’t motivated. I built trust in myself and in the worth of starting and finishing things.
Getting started is HUGE.
This mindset spills over to everything.
When I start a workout, I finish it. I start the dishes, I finish them. I start a blog post, I finish it. My life runs so much better by being able to start and finish things!
How to Get Things Done When You Don’t Feel Motivated
- Narrow Down What You Want to Do
- Schedule Time First Thing in the Morning
- Know That You Will Not Want to Do This Thing
- Set the Timer for 15 Minutes
- Allow Yourself to Do More if You Want—But Never Do Less
- Keep at it Until the Task is Done
I personally know the pain of being stuck and I know so many people that are currently suffering from feeling stuck.
It feels awful!
However, you can get past it and you can get unstuck! You got this.
Schedule a FREE Coaching call to discuss how you want to start getting unstuck today!
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Hi, I'm Sara and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having.