How to feel inspired when you’re stuck in an unmotivated rut

Inspiration has a natural ebb and flow, and few people can say they feel motivated and inspired every single day.

However, we can sometimes find ourselves in a sustained state of feeling unmotivated, disengaged and frustrated by our lack of productivity.

Reconnecting to your values and rekindling your passion for what you do can work wonders for motivation, but how do you actually take the first steps?

Here are some things you can try if you’re feeling stuck in an unmotivated rut.

Recognize procrastination

Procrastination is a common barrier to productivity which can cause stress, anxiety and burnout.

Avoiding or distracting yourself from difficult tasks is a psychological response to negative emotions such as boredom, frustration or anxiety associated with an item on your to-do list.

Putting off something unpleasant or daunting in favour of scrolling social media or watching Netflix provides a temporary feeling of relief, which stimulates the brain’s reward centre and reinforces the behaviour.

One method for breaking this habit is to create a “starting ritual” for tasks that make you want to procrastinate.

Next time you feel tempted to put something off, instead tell yourself you only need to commit to the job at hand for five minutes. If after those five minutes you wish to stop, you can do so without guilt.

However, once you get started the feelings of hesitance or self-doubt will often ease as you start to make progress and realise how capable of meeting that challenge you really are.

Focus on your input

Most people judge their achievements based on their output, or the quality of work they create, with less emphasis on the steps taken to produce it.

Whether you are delivering a project, writing an article, or training for a marathon, progress is usually measured by the outcome of your efforts rather than the efforts themselves.

However, as bestselling author Austin Kleon states, the quality of your work is inextricably linked to the quality, and quantity, of your input.

Kleon suggests that the ideal ratio is about two to three times the amount of input to output, so to produce one hours’ worth of high-quality writing, you would need to spend at least two to three hours reading.

Taking this approach can also provide a new source of inspiration – by purposefully consuming more of other people’s work, you can start to generate new ideas and reconnect to your own passions and interests again.

Break the monotony

Routine can be wonderful for your productivity and wellness. However, if your daily regime starts to feel like a hamster wheel of monotony and repetition, it can start to drain you of energy and motivation.

Breaking up the monotony can work wonders for re-energising yourself and making life feel less mundane by reconnecting to what drives you forward.

The good news is there is no need to completely overhaul your life by quitting your job or moving to a new country to rekindle your inspiration.

Small changes can work wonders, so next time you’re feeling bored with your routine, consider trying an interesting new recipe or taking a different route home from work to enjoy the change of scenery.

If you want to take it further, why not sign up for a class in something that you’ve always enjoyed but not made time for? Learning a skill that’s unrelated to your day job can help give you a mental break from work, and you might even find yourself a new hobby that adds joy and inspiration to your life.

Clear the mind

Meeting the demands of modern life can sometimes feel like a sprint from one task to the next without a moment to breathe in between, which can lead to burnout and drain us of motivation and enthusiasm.

While it can be easy to shrug off mindfulness or relaxation as something you don’t have time for, the benefits for your wellbeing, productivity and motivation are well worth carving out a portion of your day.

As little as ten minutes of meditation per day can bring a sense of calm focus, reconnect you to the present moment and what makes you feel happy, inspired and calm even as you navigate life’s many challenges.

If meditation isn’t for you, other ways to quiet the noise and find your focus could include implementing a digital detox, as you may be shocked at how much valuable time is lost while attached to digital devices.

Moving your body by taking a walk can also be a great way to clear your mind and has been shown to improve idea generation and brainstorming.

You can even multitask by taking a work call while you stroll around the block, or having walking meetings which, in addition to the physical wellbeing benefits, have been shown to boost innovation, engagement and inspiration.

This article originally appeared on SheDefined.