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5 tactics I use to do the work when I don’t feel like it

5 tactics I use to do the work when I don’t feel like it

1. Accountability

I make myself accountable, often directly to a client, by creating a particular promise, for example, defining a hard deadline. The trick here is to give me just enough time to get the work done, and never more.

2. Fun

I try to make my environment as fun as possible while still keeping it conducive to work. Most often, that translates to listening to a great album, a fun podcast or enjoying a glass of red wine while I work.

3. Award

I tell myself I have to work on that something for just 15 minutes, after which I can do whatever I want. That usually gets me into the work zone, and most often the momentum leads me to finish what I’ve started.

4. Running

If it’s not too late in a day, I go for a run. Even 30 minutes of physical exercise helps me to recapture my focus and regain motivation.

5. Gratitude

I remind myself to be grateful. I do that by simply imagining three things I’m thankful for at the moment. Or, a more hardcore approach is imagining a way tougher type of work that might have easily been my reality, if the chips of my life fell differently. That can make me grateful for the task at hand.


Some of those tactics are healthier (#1, #4, #5) than others (#2, #3), but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to confront the procrastination quickly. I find it impossible to always feel motived for every single task.

When I use them, I remind myself that these tactics should be used sparingly and only if necessary. If I’m procrastinating too often, something is not right. Then it’s time to reconsider my strategy and find a way with which I can feel motived and pulled to do the work, instead of needing to be pushed time and time again.

Act first

Ryan Holiday: Confidence vs. Ego