What to Do When You Lack All Motivation

Pick one thing and do it.

We all have them. Those days when you just don’t feel like doing anything. You get up and look at your to-do list and just can’t get started. Maybe there are too many things to do. Perhaps you are tired from the day before or don’t feel well.

Maybe you’re just having a bad day.

Most days, you are a productivity guru. You get up, knock out your morning routine, and hit the ground running. The check marks on your task list fall one by one, and by lunch, you are way more than half-way done with your day.

Today, not so much.

I’m having one of those days. My early morning routine went fine. I went through my usual routine, followed by an hour on the guitar. Then I got out my task list.

And things came to a grinding halt.

I looked at all the things I had planned for the day and just couldn’t get interested in any of them. Sometimes, when I feel like this, I’ll do something out of order. I’ll pick a lower priority item and tackle it just to get things rolling. Sometimes that works.

Today, not so much.

So I did what I have come to do when all else fails. Do nothing? No, that doesn’t work for me anymore. There was a time when it did. I could do nothing all day and feel pretty good about it. Not anymore. I’m not sure what happened to that lazy bastard, but he’s just not around these days.

Don’t get me wrong. There are days when I do very little. But they are planned that way. Once every two or three weeks, I plan what I call a mental health day. I take everything I possibly can and move it out of that day’s list. But those days are planned that way.

Today, not so much.

Trust me. You can’t take a day like today and turn it into a mental health day. That’s cheating. There is a lot of stuff I need to do today; I just don’t feel like doing them. So turning today into an easy day is just too obvious a trap to fall into.

So what do I do when I look at my list and don’t feel like doing everything? Or anything.

I just do one thing.

I pick the first thing on my list and do that thing. I’m not committing to the rest of the day. I’m not making any promises I can’t keep to myself.

I’m just going to do one thing. And then I’ll see how I’m doing.

What was the first thing on my list today?

Spoiler alert: It was writing an article. Not necessarily this article. I usually grab the first item from my idea list and go with it. Today, that idea had to do with motivation, just not necessarily the complete lack of it. But hey, the title has motivation in it, so I’m okay, right?

I was thinking about several conflicting things. There was the thought that I didn’t feel like doing anything, especially not write an article on motivation when I clearly wasn’t. There was the thought that I should fall back on my, do just one thing strategy.

And then it hit me.

I write articles for various reasons, including the fact that I enjoy doing it and can make money at it. But also to help other people. And I know that I am not the only one who occasionally starts the day with a complete lack of motivation. People that are typically motivated. People that get up and get going. People that are usually productive every day, but…

Today, not so much.

So, I decided to do one thing. Write this article. Write this article about what to do if I don’t feel like writing this article. Or anything else for that matter.

Normally, when I am writing an article, I begin by doing one of two things.
Most days, I have an idea for the article and the title, so I will noodle around with the title for a while and nail that down. I try to come up with a title that checks all the boxes. One that will rope in the readers without being too clickbaity.

I know what I’m going to write about other days, but have no idea about the title. So, I just start writing. Sometimes in random order, until the ideas come together. Then I reorganize my thoughts and finally create a compelling title for it.

Most days, that’s how my daily writing gets done.

Today, well, you guessed it.

Today, I went with the first title and sub-title that popped into my head and then started writing. I knew what I wanted to say. I didn’t have to think about what I was feeling at some point in the past, or give advice on some hypothetical problem of the future.

I just needed to write what I was feeling right now.

And what I was feeling was that I didn’t feel like doing anything. The siren song of YouTube or my Playstation was calling me. I felt like falling into the black hole of wasting a day doing nothing.

But instead, I decided just to do one thing, and then see how I was doing.

So, I wrote this article.

And, you know what? It felt pretty good. It felt good to get these thoughts out of my head and down on virtual paper. It felt good to accomplish just one thing on a day when I didn’t feel like accomplishing anything. And, in a few minutes, it will feel good to click that checkbox beside this task.

Maybe on another day, this strategy won’t work. On another day, I’ll decide to do just one thing, but instead will sit and stare at the screen until the screen wins the staring contest, and I go away. On another day, my lack of motivation may win, and I chalk it up to just having a bad moment.

But today, not so much.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go tackle just one more thing.

Written by

Photographer and Writer-I shoot what I see. I write what I feel. Read me in Publishous, Better Marketing, The Startup & Live Your Life on Purpose. You Do You.

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