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7 Ways to Get Out of That Rut

Motivation Techniques for Moving Onwards & Upwards


7 Ways to Get Out of That Rut

Is this how you feel?

Image (c) Tom Grill / Getty Images

Feel that you're stuck in a rut and just can't get on with what you want or need to do? We all lose our motivation now and again. But that doesn't mean we have to waste days (or even weeks!) waiting for it to come back so we can get on with things. Get out of that rut and back to business with one or more of these rut-busting techniques.

1) Walk away.
If you've lost your motivation due to frustration with a particular problem, walking away and doing something else can work wonders. If the problem needs a creative solution, try doing something “mindless”, such as light gardening tasks, exercise, or housework. While you weed, walk or vacuum, your mind will still busily work away on the problem. If the problem is a mental block, try something “mindful”, such as working on a crossword puzzle or some other different task that requires concentration. I often find that when I do this and then go back to work, I’m able to make much more progress.

2) Break it into bits.
If the reason you’re stuck in a rut spinning your wheels is because the task in front of you is overwhelming, climb out by breaking the task into manageable steps. For instance, creating a marketing plan for your business can seem like a huge chore. But if you break the task into steps such as defining your ideal customer, deciding on a pricing policy and deciding how to advertise your products or services, you give yourself an action plan - and the satisfaction of completing each step.

3) Flip your schedule.
Another good way to get out of a rut is to change the schedule. Many people start a business when they already have a job, for example, trying to fit in working on their new business in "leftover" time in the evenings, when they're already tired and burnt out. But how much more could be accomplished if they could flip it around and spend x amount of time at the start of the day, the time of day that most people have the most energy?

Learn how to use a daily planning session to energize your day.

4) Take a nap.
It’s impossible to have or maintain any motivation when you’re tired – and sleep deprivation is now a chronic problem. Get back your energy and your mind with a power nap. Sleeping only ten to twenty minutes can refresh and energize you for the task at hand; in fact, according to research by Dr. Sara Mednick, a scientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, power naps can lift productivity and mood, lower stress, and improve memory and learning.

5) Take a forced break.
I've discovered the world doesn't actually end if I don't do anything business-related for a day or two - and once I get over the fretting stage, I have a lot more energy to bring to my work. If it's possible, this may work for you, too. If you can’t leave the work alone for a day or two, force a break by doing something completely different. Explore someplace you haven’t been before or try a new activity. A break doesn’t have to be long to be effective. Even a short break can give you new energy and a new perspective to take back to your work.

6) Keep slogging.
Understand that slogging brings results. Do you think that Michelangelo felt “motivated” every day to work on that ceiling? He didn’t even want to take on the project. But he and his team slogged away for four years – and created a masterpiece. Sometimes just forcing yourself to carry on is the answer. Even if you don’t feel like it. You may even find that you become motivated as you become immersed in what you’re doing.

7) Bribe yourself.
Sometimes we just need an incentive to make the extra effort that will break us out of that rut. What can you place at the top of the bank that will motivate you? Is it the promise of a long soak in a bath, an hour that you can spend working out or a piece of chocolate? Promise yourself whatever it is that will work for you when you finish whatever is holding you back.

You Can Climb Out of It

We all fall into a rut now and then, losing our motivation and grinding to a stop. But we don’t have to stay there. Figure out why you’re feeling disenchanted, and then try one or more of the strategies above to get fired up again – or at least able to move onwards and upwards, accomplishing what you need to do.

Where to From Here?

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