There’s not much that compares to the feeling of being prepared and feeling like you’re on top of things in your life. For some, especially the Type A women, this comes pretty naturally. For those of you who are more like me, we’re more used to feeling like we’re constantly running uphill and likely forgetting something on the way.

I’ve never really identified as an achiever type, and when I was younger, I didn’t have any lofty goals. My motivation ebbs and flows, as it does for everyone. But I struggle all the time with staying focused and committed to my plans and goals.

Now that I found what I want to do with my life, I know I need to be consistent and plan ahead. But it’s definitely challenging when your default is to avoid tasks that feel overwhelming and watch Netflix instead.

I’m now at the point where it’s almost impossible for me to spend all day bingeing Netflix, so I consider that to be a lot of progress from where I was at in college.

It’s both the identity and the habit that I think are what the unmotivated mentality needs an upgrade from. There’s a lot we can do to set ourselves up for success for the unmotivated days. It’s more about habit building than anything else, and we can all get better at being prepared without changing our go-with-the-flow vibes.

If you’re struggling with staying on top of it, here are some easy ways for you to get more focused and a little more motivated without an entire life overhaul.

Gift yourself a planner that works for you

My favorite planner is the Unbound Planner*, because it gives you lots of room to plan without being too overwhelming. I used to have the Day Designer planner that had daily to-do lists and I loved it, but as someone who struggles with overwhelm, I couldn’t handle filling out the daily pages consistently.

The Unbound Planner has a monthly and weekly layout, and the weekly layout is divided into two sections: one for weekly to-do lists and habit tracking, and one for a weekly layout that you can enter in time slots for your days. It’s not too basic or complex, which is always my struggle with planners. It’s the perfect in-between for me, with a place to put gratitudes, recurring weekly tasks, and your three most important tasks for the week. I already have mine for 2019, in lavender and I’m so excited to start setting goals for the new year.

I love planners that give you the perfect amount of freedom and still have a good format that helps you stay on top of your goals. Weekly to-do lists are much better for me and I love tracking habits––it makes it feel more fun to me and reminds me of what I’m working on.

 

Make things ridiculously simple on yourself

I like making things so easy on my future self when I’m at my best, so that I would have a hard time ignoring it at my worst. For example, I might fill up a water bottle at night to take to work the next morning. Or pick out my outfit for the next day and pack my work and gym bag, so you have two less things to worry about in the a.m. Life can get chaotic and when you’ve got a lot going on, it can be hard to think of all the things you need to get done.

Think about your future self in situations. Ask, “How can I make things easy on tomorrow me?”

Outsource what you don’t want to do

If you don’t like to cook or clean and you’re able to do it, get someone else to do the tasks you don’t want to do. I’m not saying that you should spend that time sitting on the couch and pay to have other people do things for you while you justify wasting your time. But if you can choose to spend that time doing work that you’re passionate about or doing things you love doing instead––delegate! There’s no harm in getting clear on your priorities. And at the end of the day, you’ll have a clean home and healthy food available that will help you make better choices throughout the day. Eliminating the tasks you absolutely hate will de-stress you enough to want to be productive.

Getting my life in order with the Unbound planner

Photos taken by @laurie_bullock

Create systems

Creating systems that work is a total gamechanger for this key reason: you’re developing habits that will make it so easy to stay on top of things. A system that works for me: I empty my gym bag every day when I get home from work, put my shoes away and put everything in the proper place. It’s as simple as remembering to brush your teeth at night when you make things into a habit. You define where things go, so that it’s crazy simple on you. There’s no guessing or thinking going on. The problems start when there’s no go-to system that is simple and clear, to you and whoever you live with.

Pair your tasks

My boyfriend reminded me about this little habit trick the other day when I was talking about how my dishes kept piling up and overwhelming me (a dishwasher is for sure a must for the next place I get, let me tell you!) He suggested that I make it a habit by pairing it with a task––like every time I’m done with dinner, that’s when I wash the dishes. It’s such a good trick, because your brain immediately associates one with the other. Then once you do it a handful of times, it becomes a habit.

Your life isn’t always going to be in order, and that’s okay. Just do what you can and work to find systems that are right for you. It’s all a process!

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