Motivation is a tricky beast. Sometimes you have it and you feel overcome with drive and excitement. Other times you just can’t figure out how to get started and you are trapped in a spiral of procrastination. Scientists define motivation as general willingness to do something. It is the set of psychological forces that compel you to take action. So how do you get those forces to work in your favor.

Here are some tricks to unleash your motivation:


  • Get up and shake it off. Sometimes you just need to move. If you have been sitting idle scrolling through news feeds or staring at a screen your brain is probably dipping into idle mode. If you need to get things done, get up, take a walk, and stretch. Your brain will start firing again, and it will be ready to start a new task.




  • Write it down.  Whatever you need to get done, write it down. Make a list, block off time on your calendar, put it somewhere you will see it. We are all more likely to accomplish a task when it is written down where we will see it as a reminder.  If you aren’t into paper, there are tons of apps that can help set reminders and messages. Pinging you, at just the right moment when you need the motivation.




  • Build in a buffer. If a project is due on a Friday, write down the due date as Wednesday or Thursday. If you build in a buffer for yourself you will have time to review and turn in a great final product. You will also have time built in should something critical come up and interrupt your schedule.




  • Listen to a pump up song. A strategy used by athletes all over the World is listening to music that motivates them and gets them fired up before they compete. Why not use that same trick before you start your college essays or need an extra push to start cleaning your room. Blast the music, bust out some moves, and then get to work!

When you are having trouble getting things done just think about this quote from Steven Pressfield, “At some point, the pain of not doing it becomes greater than the pain of doing it.” Pick one of the 4 tricks from above and get after it!