Advice for Getting Work Done on Difficult Days

Feeling unmotivated and burnt out? This roundup of advice for getting work done on difficult days might help!

Let’s face it, some days, work sucks. I don’t care if you work for yourself, or someone else. There will come days where you just simply don’t want to work. That’s why I decided to reach out for advice. I asked a bunch on people a simple question:

How do you get work done when you don’t want to? Here’s what they had to say:

Set clear and achievable goals

Set clear and achievable goals – setting clear and achievable goals helps me stay focused and motivated. I make sure to define what I want to accomplish and make a plan to reach those goals in a realistic time frame.

Second, break tasks into smaller, manageable parts – Breaking tasks into smaller, manageable parts makes the workload less overwhelming. I prioritize and schedule my tasks in a way that allows me to take on one task at a time and make steady progress towards my goals.

Chris Muller, Vice President of Money Under 30

Focus on what happens if you don’t do the work

My name is Tanisha Coffey. I’ve been a self-employed entrepreneur for 18 years. Currently, I’m a homeschooling mompreneur of three, running two businesses–The Lofty Entrepreneur and Rock Solid Financial. It’s not easy and there are definitely times when I feel so burnout or frustrated that I do lose motivation to keep going. So, for me, when the going gets tough for me and I don’t feel motivated, one or both of these things work for me:

(1) If I am coming up with excuses left and right as to why I can’t do something or don’t feel motivated to do something, I turn my I don’t want to because… or I can’t because… into I have to because… or I can’t NOT do it because… For me, that statement tends to end with …because my family is depending on me.

(2) The other thing that motivates me is to think of the alternative. Whatever I am doing for business, I am doing so, in most cases, because it’s necessary to continue generating income my family depends on. So, if I don’t do those things, I will still have to generate income in some

way…and the way that typically comes to mind is going to work for someone else. The thought of that–having to clock in, losing power / control, having someone I must answer to and giving up a majority of the freedoms I (and my family) currently enjoy…well, all of that jolts me back pretty quickly into action and motivates me to keep going.

— Tanisha Coffey, The Lofty Entrepreneur and Rock Solid Financial 

Get active and exercise!

As a personal trainer, entrepreneur, and blogger, I have firsthand experience with the challenges of staying motivated, especially on days when it seems like nothing is going right. Here are some tips that have helped me power through and maintain my momentum:

Get active: Exercise can be a powerful motivator, especially when you’re feeling down. A workout can boost endorphins, help you clear your mind, and provide a sense of accomplishment.

Prioritize self-care: Taking care of yourself, whether through relaxation, meditation, or simply taking a break, is essential for maintaining motivation and energy levels.

Evander Nelson

Practice active rest

I work with business owners from many countries — overload and searching for motivation is our global problem. I switch through active rest. If you work with your head and rest inactively (just being at home), your brains will not switch. I am learning to play golf, I ride a motorcycle a lot, I go for walks. You need a physical hobby that requires attention and effort.

Another hobby that energizes me is vocal. I practice 2 times per week. I like it both from an aesthetic point of view and in terms of the fact that it helps me control my voice. After all, I record a lot of content, I talk a lot. I can use it in business and projects. Singing does not take much time and brings great pleasure — so why not?

— Alexander Visotsky, Visotsky Inc

Reframe your mindset

I’m John Willis, the founder of convertfree. I’m a senior software developer on a mission to pursue knowledge and skills to better aid my colleagues and the products we develop. As an entrepreneur in the tech field and going through the situation, I would like to share my thoughts

on this topic. 

To reframe your mindset and focus on the benefits of completing a task, Identify the negative thoughts that are hindering your motivation. Challenge those thoughts by asking yourself if they are based on facts or just assumptions and Focus on the positive aspects of the task, such as the benefits it will bring to you and others.

Also, set realistic, achievable goals and break the task into smaller, manageable parts, use positive self-talk to boost your confidence and motivation. Visualize yourself successfully completing the task and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.

— John Willis, Founder at Convertfree

Lean on your systems

My name is Donald Williams Jr., adulting coach and founder of Adulting Starts Here, an adulting blog aimed at helping young people transition into adulthood.

Creating systems that help me think less and do more has been extremely helpful in building Adulting Starts Here. I have a certain system that helps me more efficiently and effectively do topic and SEO research. I have another system that helps me streamline my outlining process which directly feeds into my ability to draft my blog posts more quickly.

As I’ve spent more time over the years working on Adulting Starts Here, this system has become less about thinking and more about reaching the markers I have set for myself.

With that said, regardless of my motivation, these systems I have put in place have allowed me to 5x my audience and find a better balance between other passions and my family.

— Donald Williams Jr., Founder of Adulting Starts Here

Go back to basics

Working in the fitness industry, there is a requirement to always project an image full of energy and enthusiasm, even when you are feeling exhausted or unmotivated. When I find myself starting to feel like this, I recognise it as a warning sign that I have been neglecting my own health regime and focussing too much on work.

I go right back to basics and schedule in my workouts for the week ahead, making completing them non-negotiable. I’ll also look at my diet, and if I think I’m falling back too much on unhealthy convenience foods, I will prep meals for the next few days, so I know I am eating well. It’s basically a case of taking the advice I would give to a client and applying it to myself, then being as strict about sticking to it as I would with a personal trainer checking up on me!

By recognising the signs and taking action, I’m usually back to myself within a few days, proving that diet and exercise really do make all the difference, and even health professionals have to remind themselves of that sometimes.

— David Mason, Founder of Barbells Abroad 

Schedule the day and week ahead

I am both a freelancer and self-employed, as I operate my blog and work on the side as a freelance social media manager for an independent publisher.

Being someone who works remotely and has no boss looking over my shoulder, it’s important for me to power through even on the days I have no motivation.

Here are the things that have helped me…

1. Schedule my day the night before. I time-block my day out so that I can stay on task. That means setting a time table for waking up, beginning my work, specific tasks, and a strict end time. This makes it way easier for me to stay on track with my priorities for the day.

2. Have a to-do list for each week. Having small goals to complete helps me feel purposeful in my work and helps when I lack motivation. Working towards something always makes me feel like my work is meaningful.

3. Create a work area for myself. Since I work at home, it’s tempting to work on my bed, couch, or patio. However, when I set up my desk, it helps me successfully get my tasks done quicker. The right environment = more productivity.

4. Put my phone on “do not disturb” or in the other room when I am working on my main priorities. It’s easy to get distracted by social media, so this has been a huge help for me.

Samantha Kaiser, The Lifestyle Travelers    

Remember where you’ve been

Consider what you were doing before becoming an Entrepreneur – Were you answering 24/7 to a boss who was less than sympathetic? Less than encouraging? Less than cordial even? Take that fear of returning to a world of answering to someone else and fortify your thoughts on maintaining your top level position as answering only to yourself (and then do so)!

Remember that when you do the fulfilling life’s work you are meant to do – you are helping others fulfill their dreams as well. You may be sharing expertise, coaching or simply living by example as a business owner that inspires others.

Do you have a personal theme song? We all have our motivational songs that lift us up out of our mental space. Think of the songs that get you on your feet, get you singing or fist pumping and blast those speakers or earbuds! Music and weather affect our moods more than anything else.

Bundle “have to do” tasks with “want to do” rewards. For example, If you procrastinate invoicing, consider giving yourself a lovely treat once that task is complete – like a special coffee or special spa service.

— Moneen Daley, Get Mo Vibe

Focus on avoiding bad feelings

When I have no motivation, I am able to power through by reminding myself of two things. The first reminder is when my family was homeless and I don’t ever want to feel that feeling of destitute again. It’s not cute and no one cares. The second reminder is, I know my work supports mothers and caregivers experiencing burnout. And when I am able to power through my lack of motivation moments and share my experiences with my audience, it will encourage them to power through too.

— Elease Wiggins, A Farewell to Welfare