10 smart ways to stay motivated

UNISON 10 smart ways to staying motivated

Maintaining resilience every day to do your best is easier said than done, motivation is key when you are experiencing the kind of day when you are being pummelled with one setback after another, worked 8 hours already with no end in sight, how do you keep going?

All over the internet there are blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics and images all promoting motivation. Sometimes when I need a little pick me up the plethora is overwhelming. So I asked across your Executive for their one top tip to staying motivated. If you need that pick me up, then read on for our

10 smart ways to stay motivated:

1 Keep a list of wins (and loses)

Keeping a record of where you have failed, but importantly making a note of what you have learnt from the experience, helps to make necessary changes to turn a past failure into a future win.  Keeping a separate record of ‘wins’ is also a great idea to read through when you might feel beaten. It reminds you how you overcame challenges and provides yourself , in your own words, a great pep-talk that you can do it!

2 Pump yourself up with a motivational video

Need that extra boost when your own pep-talk falls flat? Maybe you need a more direct message. There is no need to fear! TED videos are becoming very popular to provide a quick burst of inspiration/motivation. When you search YouTube for motivational speeches there’s about 2,590,000 results so we compiled a playlist of our favourites – from Rik Mayall to ben Afleck’s boiler room speech!

3 Set a morning routine

Your willpower is strongest in the morning. Making a routine of the things you need to do each day will make it easier to get through the rest of the day. Simply because you have started your day with a sense of achievement. Kevan Lee explains the science behind the benefit of a good morning routine and shares some great examples of successful people morning rituals.

4 Knock out some quick wins in the first 30 minutes of your day

While you could always be working on improving your weak areas, there is no reason to start your day discouraged. Prioritising the tasks you are great at enables your days to start strong, putting you in the right frame of mind to stay positive and focused the rest of the day.

5 Start your most difficult task the day before

Often the most difficult part of completing a task is getting started. When I write long reports the part that makes me most apprehensive is the research (it is also the part I enjoy the most once I get started). The psychological burden of knowing I have to research and then outline, write, format and script the presentation of said report causing me to procrastinate.  I have found that spending the last part of my day compiling research sources and outlining the content of my report takes the pressure off the next day when the work has to be done.  This approach accomplishes two things:

  • Outlining and listing links to sources requires less brain power than writing the report in one huge chunk. It keeps me proactive at the end of my day when my concentration may be waning.
  • I can start the most challenging part of my day as soon as I arrive and score that quick win. It sets the tone for the rest of my day and leaves me with a sense of achievement.

6 Do something that makes you happy every day

Without happiness we become a moving shell. For most people I know, a feeling of fulfilment and happiness is essential for their positive mental health.  Doing something that makes you happy releases serotonin supressing the stress hormone. Building simple joys into your daily routine is beneficial.  Mine is walking my dog in the morning and getting home to spend at least 20 minutes playing with her.  It gives me something to look forward to at the end of the day and pushes me to keep going.  Going for a walk at lunchtime in the sunshine is also something that makes me happy.

Perhaps packing a lunchtime treat or playing some upbeat music while you brush your teeth.

7 Reward yourself

Have you ever hacked your brain with simple cause and effect techniques?  In a ground breaking study by Ivan Pavlov he trained a dog to salivate at the sound of a bell by ringing it every time he took the dog some food.  Similarly, by introducing rewards at the end of completing a tedious or challenging task, you are hacking your brain to associate said task with something positive.  Eventually something you dislike becomes something you more than tolerate. Your reward can also link to number 6 – do something that makes you happy.

8 Get some exercise

Taking a break away from your desk for 20-30 minutes can really help give you a fresh burst of energy.  As you work through the day the build-up of electro-energy from the computer, the heating and dry air from air-conditioning can stifle your creativity and zaps your energy.  Taking some time away from your desk refocuses the mind, gives you a mental break, and rejuvenates creativity and ideas. Walking is great at giving you some space, fresh air and time to give yourself that pep-talk!

9 Use a little music

The environment around you can have a huge impact on your mood. Not enough light can make you strain your eyes and feel sleepy; but while you can’t control the weather, heating or outside noise; you can create the right tone with some music.  There have been various studies on the impacts of music and the science behind how we react to types of music. Research has suggested that video game soundtracks help improve concentration, while soundtracks of nature can enhance cogitative functions.  Hubspot have created six science backed playlists for improving productivity you can sample.

10 Be a Chameleon!

Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of O2E Brands, uses the Chameleon effect to his advantage.  By moving to a desk next to a focused colleague you can feed off their energy. According to Scudamore, sitting next to a focused colleague helps him in three ways:

  • Feed off the person’s concentration: Chameleon effect has shown that we unconsciously mirror postures, mannerisms, and facial expressions of those around us.
  • Make him want to be a good role model: often we subconsciously try to please people we know least either competitively or by desire to set a good example.
  • Get out of a mental rut: many repeated behaviours are cued by our environments. Want to get out of a mental rut? Then change your environment and create new cues. Simply changing the location of where you work is a change of location.

How do you stay motivated? Let us know in the comments below and see how you can motivate others.


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