Time Management: How to Stay Motivated and Get More Done

If you can motivate yourself at will to get any task done, you'll have taken a huge step towards managing your time better. There are several practical ways to increase your motivation.

There are a couple of facts to remember about human beings in general. One, newness is a great spur to motivation. Think about when you took up a new job. Everything was fresh and you applied yourself to your work with great enthusiasm.

But that wore out after a few weeks or months. You settled down into a routine and work become dull and uninteresting again. That's because you lost your sense of newness.

The second thing to remember is that while the human mind can accomplish a stunning range of tasks, the same mind is also easily distracted. Some studies show that the average person's attention span does not exceed 35 minutes or so. Others claim it's even less.

This tendency to get distracted easily is a key reason why we often have a hard time motivating ourselves to do a task.

With that in mind, here are 8 things you can do to get and stay motivated.

#1. Recognize your penchant for getting distracted. Take short breaks every half an hour or so; walk away from your workstation. Experiment and find out the optimum length of time you can work before you need a break. You'll find your motivation goes up during the time you stay at the task.

#2. To satisfy your need for freshness and change, alternate between two tasks. If you keep at a single task for too long, you're almost certain to lose motivation.

You can even exchange specific tasks with another colleague, if your work situation permits it.

#3. It has been shown that soft music, especially baroque music, is a great aid to work. If possible, arrange for background music at your workplace.

#4. Make your work environment more appealing by using humorous posters (like those 'Dennis the Menace' posters) to make you smile. Have several available and once in a while, change the posters.

#5. On a related note, potted plants can be great stress relievers. Place one or two around your workstation. Do water them as needed; wilted plants are no good!

# 6. Create a list of the most important tasks you need to do the next day. Prioritize the list. And keep working in the order of your priorities. Being able to check off the most important items for each day is in itself a terrific motivator.

#7. Anytime you feel the stress getting to you or if you feel particularly distracted, just lean back in your chair and close your eyes for a minute or two. Hum a favorite tune softly. If you can't relax in your chair, go to the restroom and do so.

#8. Implement a reward system for yourself. Decide in advance what you'll reward yourself with when you complete certain tasks. It could be as small as an inexpensive trinket from a gift shop or a chocolate bar. It could even be a stroll in a nearby park.

Don't neglect the reward routine. It's one of the best motivators there is.

Burt Carlson is a top corporate executive whose passion is helping people get more out of life by managing their time better. He has written on time management skills, overcoming procrastination, time management at the workplace and many other topics.

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