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“The greatest amount of wasted time is the time not getting started”.

How often has this been true for you? A to do list as long as your arm and all you can think about is how to avoid it. When faced with the big decisions; looking for work, changing careers or even getting back to work after an absence we can sometimes find ourselves talking around it, rather than just getting on with things.

We claim it is a lack of motivation but what it really is, is procrastination. And the more you procrastinate, the more anxious you will become. Anxious with the constant nagging thought in the back of your head telling you to do something or anxious with the stress of trying to finish something off last minute.

There are many different reasons for lacking motivation, and you need to dig deep to understand what your reason is;

  • It doesn’t feel important.

There is no clear reason why you should be doing this think, so you distract yourself and procrastinate around it instead.

  • You are unsure of what to do.

A lack of confidence or clear direction can mean you spend more time arranging your desk or looking out the window worrying about not knowing what to do.

  • You are overwhelmed or tired.

So easy in today’s society where we are running a million miles an hour and there is no time to stop and take stock of things.

  • You are worried it will go wrong.

Sometimes the greatest fear is of messing things up, or looking like you are incompetent. It’s easier to just ignore it and hope it goes away.

  • You are dealing with something emotionally.

A stressful day, an argument with your partner or the kids or both can play on your mind and change your focus to that of feeling despondent and distracted.

Once you know why you lack motivation, you can look at solutions to overcome this and move forward.

  • What’s the point? It’s not important.

Revisit your priority list to see if what you are avoiding serves a purpose for your bigger vision. If it doesn’t, find a way to let the task or project go. If you have to do it, try to change the narrative to make it at least more enjoyable.

  • Not sure what to do?

Break the work down into smaller steps – dipping your toes in gradually helps to overcome confusion and things become more manageable. If you really don’t know what you are doing, there is absolutely no shame in reaching out and seek guidance.

  • Too shattered to do it?

Take a break to boost your energy levels. Removing yourself from the environment causing you anxiety can work wonders. Go for a run/walk, take a nap or do tasks that take the least amount of energy. Organise your to do list and add deadlines to each task – this helps things become more manageable and clearer.

  • Afraid of things going wrong?

First thing to do is to explore why you are afraid. Fear can stop you from seeing the bigger picture – yes it might go wrong, but what if it does work and you excel? How would you know unless you try? It is better to do something imperfectly than do nothing at all.

Ultimately, a lack of motivation can cause delays in your decision making and your progress, not to mention your confidence and feelings of accomplishment. By looking at why you are unmotivated, you can navigate yourself away from it, and become more productive, happier and calmer as a result.  Shake off the feeling, set yourself clear and achievable goals and give yourself a reward at the end of it. A carrot dangling in front of you is all the motivation you need to get started on the task in front of you.