Faking Motivation

Some mornings, I just don’t want to get out of bed.  The idea of going into work at all is totally unappealing, but the idea of continuing to collect a paycheck is not, so I haul myself up and make my way into the office.  But what then?  On unmotivated days, it’s easy to find myself staring off into space, searching for new LinkedIn connections, or doing endless cycles by the water cooler.  How do you keep yourself moving?  Here are a few things I do to kick-start my motivation.

Dress Up

My company is business casual, with an emphasis on the casual.  My typical workday wear is jeans or a skirt, a nice button-down shirt, and tennis shoes.  On low-motivation days, I take it up a few notches, picking out a suit or a dress-and-jacket combo and wearing heels to the office.  The clothes say, “I’m here to work,” and it has a psychological effect on me as well as the people around me.

Eat a Good Breakfast

I know I should eat a good breakfast every day, but in reality, I often settle for a handful of cheez-its, a lollypop, and a diet coke in the car.  On low-motivation mornings, though, I make myself eat something more substantial.  I’ll have some granola with milk, or pick up a breakfast sandwich on my way into the office.  Protein is particularly good at giving you an energy boost that will carry you through the morning.

Clean my Cubicle

I don’t exactly let my cubicle degrade to squalor, but on my desk at the moment, I have a stack of unused napkins leftover from shared cake last week, a few printed proofs from tests I was doing on Monday, and several pens, post-its, and notepads, none of them put where they belong.  When I am having a low-motivation day, I straighten up my cubicle as soon as I get in.  Clean space, clean mind?  Maybe, but I think it’s more likely that doing something a little bit physical with a concrete, visible effect helps rev me up for the day.

Start Small

I don’t try to tackle big tasks right away.  Instead, I build out my day’s list of tasks with some small, easy jobs leading into and scattered around the harder jobs.  As I finish the smaller tasks, momentum carries me from one assignment to the next, and once I’ve started the big tasks, they don’t seem so daunting.

How do you handle the days when you just don’t feel like showing up?

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