Written by 12:48 Lifestyle

Screw Motivation: Do This Instead to Actually Get Things Done

Forget those inspirational posters and pep talks. Motivation is fickle. Some days you have it, most days you don’t. So, waiting for the urge to strike before you do the important stuff? That’s a recipe for procrastination.


“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King

Why Motivation Fails

Motivation is often tied to how we feel about a task. Enjoyable? We’re on it! Boring, difficult, or scary? Suddenly, the laundry seems incredibly urgent. The problem is, lots of important things in life fall within that “ugh” category.

The Power of Discipline

Discipline isn’t about superhuman willpower or grinding yourself into the ground. Instead, it’s about these things:

  • Build Tiny Habits: Starting ridiculously small makes things less intimidating and builds momentum. Five minutes is better than zero.
  • Focus on the First Step: Forget finishing the whole project, just think about the next, smallest action.
  • Remove Distractions: Turn off notifications, find a quiet space, do whatever it takes to minimize temptation.
  • Embrace Imperfection: Done is better than perfect. Stop agonizing and make some progress.
  • Reward Yourself: Small celebrations acknowledge your effort and help build positive associations with tough tasks.

Action > Inspiration

Notice how none of these tactics involve feeling like a boundless superhero of productivity? That’s the point! Waiting for motivation is passive, building discipline is proactive.

When to Bring in Emotion (A Little)

Can channeling certain feelings occasionally be useful? Sure! Here’s when it has a place:

  • Anger as Fuel: Been treated unfairly? Channel righteous rage into tackling an obstacle that’s been holding you back.
  • Harnessing Fear: Deadline looming? Sometimes, a bit of panic ignites focused action.
  • Brief Pep Talks: For a specific situation, targeted affirmations (“I can do this!”) might provide a temporary boost.

Be Kind to Yourself

This isn’t about shaming yourself for not feeling motivated enough. Everyone struggles sometimes! The aim is to have a reliable toolkit that works even when inspiration fails.

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