One of the most essential skills related to time management is being self-motivated. Some people are just natural go-getters and hit the ground running. Others aren’t so lucky. Frequently late for appointments? Always rushing to get things done at the last minute? Feel overwhelmed and under-productive?

For a lot of us, finding motivation and avoiding procrastination are skills that require developing and fine-tuning. Sometimes we subconsciously end up doing anything and everything to avoid what actually needs attention. We will rationalize it by convincing ourselves that these other tasks need to be done as well, so it’s okay, even when deadlines are in play.

For instance, some people aren’t too fond of paying bills. They all have due dates. It definitely needs to be done in a timely manner to avoid late fees and cancellation notices. Instead of sitting down to take care of the bills, the dishes in the sink get done.

Which then leads to figuring out the dinner menu, getting something from the freezer, taking out the garbage, etc. etc. You get the picture. The bills still haven’t been touched. Procrastination: 1. You: 0.

If this sounds like you, it’s probably time to employ better time management strategies. There is no better time than right now to end the addictive cycle of procrastination and brush up on some techniques to be more self-motivated.

Set Goals!

Break big goals up into milestones for the best success. Be specific. Focusing on the big picture all the time is often intimidating and leads to avoidance.

Plan It Out!

Put your goals to paper on a timeline. Use a weekly schedule with to-do lists to help you accomplish each milestone. Then celebrate each victory!

Give It 20!

If you’re in a slump, give a single task 20 minutes. By devoting 20 minutes of your time to that single task you get the motor running. Quit after 20 minutes if you want or keep chugging along and finish it. The point is to get up and get moving; to get out of the slump.

Location, Location, Location!

When your usual environment feels stagnant and offers little motivation, change it up a bit. If your goal is running at the gym three times a week on the indoor track, opt for an outdoor run. When you are finding it hard to focus in your office, move to the conference room or try an internet café if you work from home.

Buddy Up!

Both for accountability and motivation, finding a partner keeps things rolling. It’s more pressing to get to the gym if someone else is counting on you to show up. For work projects, utilizing a team strategy with weekly check-ins enhances productivity and creativity.

Quit Whining!

Everyone has challenges and obstacles to overcome. Avoid negative talk and focus on the positives. In fact, creating a daily list of three positive outcomes for completing the to-do list is a great tool for success. Post motivational quotes everywhere, especially in the places distracting you.

Give Back!

Serving others is a great way to feel inspired and incredibly motivated. For example, help out a friend in need, donate to a local charity or do some volunteer work.

Fuel Your Mind!

Step away from the junk food aisle and opt for healthful snacks to avoid the “crash and burn” syndrome. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water too! Your brain will function a lot more efficiently with proper fuel.


As much as possible, turn off distractions. Pestering notifications from social media sites and instant messages aren’t doing you any good. The TV and other people are also big distractions. Turn it off and tune them out. Trick: Even if there’s nothing playing in your earbuds, if you’ve got them in people will usually avoid interrupting you unless it’s important.

Stand Up!

If you find yourself nodding off while reading corporate mumbo-jumbo or much of your day is spent sitting tied to a computer, try standing. Use an adjustable keyboard tray or place a box under your keyboard to elevate it. Be creative.

Motivational Media!

Listen to audiobooks or podcasts of successful people. Read self-help books or articles. Watch motivational videos. Whichever works best with your schedule and preference, it doesn’t really matter. Rags to riches stories are inspirational. Use their struggles to your advantage and create your own story to tell.

Visualize Your Future!

Last but certainly not least, revisit your goals by visualizing the future. Are you saving for a vacation? Peruse travel sites and ask travel agencies or vacation resorts to send you brochures. Saving for a house? Go on a Sunday drive looking at houses in the area where you want to live or attend an open house. Make a vision board of your goals and remind yourself of your “why” to keep the motivation alive!

Don’t allow procrastination and lack of motivation to rule your day or week or year. You will never know how much you are truly capable of accomplishing until you get up and get going. Everyone is different.

What works for one might not be helpful to another. Use some or all of the techniques above and tweak them to your individual needs. Just get to it! Don’t waste another day avoiding success. Make your life the best life!