10 Tips For Getting Motivated When You Feel Like Doing Nothing

I know what it’s like. You stumble out of bed in the morning – past 10am – and sigh when you remember there are things that need doing. There are also things you wanted to do, such as work on your new project that was exciting you a week ago. But for whatever reason, you don’t feel like doing anything except watching TV and flicking through your phone.

It’s like an episode in hit US sitcom King of Queens, when Carrie agrees with her husband that she should take a break from work in order to complete her own personal projects. Yet each day she hobbles down the stairs in her dressing gown, plants herself on the sofa and switches on the TV. And stays there. All day. It’s the only thing she has any motivation for.

Motivation is a difficult mistress, and one which is hard to understand. Without motivation, it’s difficult to rouse ourselves enough to work on anything. If you’re in a bit of a rut at the moment, here are 10 actionable tips for getting motivated when you don’t feel like doing anything.

Find Out Why You’re In A Rut

There will be a reason why you’re in a slump right now, and finding out exactly what it is could bring you closer to a solution.

Perhaps you’ve been dreading something even though you know you need to do it. You keep putting things off and putting things off because that upcoming task just sounds horrific.

Or maybe you’ve been tired a lot recently, as a result of a lack of sleep, poor diet, or no exercise.

Maybe you’re lacking confidence? Perhaps you’ve planned an exciting new project, but now that the time has come to work on it you don’t want to leave your comfort zone.

Or maybe you’ve raced through a project but come undone in the middle?

Whatever the reason for your recent stagnation, uncovering the root of the problem is the first step to solving it.

Shorten Your To-Do List

I had a friend who once wanted to be like Steve Jobs. And he though the best way to be like Jobs was to do lots and lots and LOTS of different things. He ended up with a to-do list bigger than than his body. The result? It stressed him out.

If your list is too big, you will constantly feel as though you’re getting no where. As soon as one task is crossed off, another 5 have been added.

Chill out and focus on just one or two things at a time. Whittle down your to-do list to the essentials and lose anything that doesn’t add value to your life.

Find Out What Motivates You

Everyone is motivated by different things. Some people are motivated by money, others are incentivised by glory, while others are motivated by a sense of achievement.

It’s important that you uncover what really motivates you. For example, you might assume that only motivates you, but perhaps it’s actually what money represents that motivates you – such as security and confidence.

Once you know what motivates you, you can then use this to your advantage.

Reward Yourself

Got something to do that you’re not looking forward to? Adding a reward at the end of the task is a fab motivator that works a treat. The reward could be something as small as an ice cream, or something as big as a weekend away.

Eat The Frog

What does eating the frog mean? It means that you complete the most difficult task at the start of the morning, so that the rest of the day is more or less plain sailing.

It always works a treat. Basically, we find it hard to get motivated whenever we’ve got an impossibly difficult task to complete which we are dreading. We put it off and put it off because we just can’t face it.

When you complete this task at the start of the day, you instantly feel so much better. It’s out of the way, and you can now concentrate on easier projects that perhaps you’ve even been looking forward to.


A cluttered mind can prevent us from finding the motivation to do something. Meditation is a great way of freeing your mind from bad thoughts, allowing yourself to breath easily and peaceful and retrain your focus and resolve.

Make Yourself Accountable To Someone Else

When I decided to start working out more, I pretty much lost all motivation after just three days. I know, silly. But when my alarm clock started to sound at 6.30am, I turned it off. It was far too early and I decided there was no point working out. I had no motivation to do nothing but turn over in bed and go back to sleep.

When you make yourself accountable to someone else, you’ve got more motivation to do something. I decided to ask a friend if she’d work out with me. She agreed, and she was knocking on my door at 7am. I had to get up and get dressed because I had a reason. She was pumped, and I was motivated.

Avoid Negative People

Negative people can so easily demotivate you. After you’ve enthusiastically crowed that you’re going to change the world, all it takes is a biting “no one is going to change the world” comment from a friend to bring you back to earth.

Surrounding yourself with positive people is a great way to stay motivated.

Take Better Care Of Your Body

When you’re tired, it is of course super hard to find the motivation to do anything. All you want to do is flop down on the sofa with a big bowl of candy and watch daytime television. You’re way too exhausted to stretch your mind and body.

There is no excuse for tiredness, and indeed tiredness is merely a result of the things you are putting into both your body and your mind. Sure, some days you will need rest. But the best way to give yourself more energy and perk yourself up is to improve your diet.

Swapping junk food for fruit and vegetables is a good place to start. The more micronutrients you pack into your diet, the more alert, awake and motivated you will begin to feel.

Ask For Help

Got an impossible task coming up that is so difficult you’ve got not motivation whatsoever? Ask for help!

Stay happy!

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