How to find motivation when you have none

There’s nothing more demotivating than staying indoors all day, having limited social interaction, limited sunlight and limited resources or opportunities to do exactly what it is you want to do. But, how do you find motivation?

Waves of emotions pour over you; it could be boredom, sadness, happiness, fear, guilt, jealously. It’s only very very rarely that we feel motivated. 

Successful people always comment that they never feel motivated to work out, write, learn something, do their job, but they still do it due to habit or self-discipline. 

Will Smith often posts motivational talks on his Instagram. His highlight on self-discipline is my favourite, he says: “99% of people are not willing to do what it takes to make their dreams come true. At the centre of bringing any dream into fruition is self-discipline. It’s being able to choose actions that are in your own best interest. Everyday we are choosing shit that is not in our own best interest.”

I think this is so true. I can look at myself and pick out actions I’ve taken today that didn’t help me, but I can tell you those actions that would help or that I have done today and that have had a positive impact.

That’s all well and good, but how do we find the motivation to take action? 

Hopefully the following things will help! 

Write a list 

Okay, write a beefy list of everything you need to do. This should be a complete brain dump including everything you need to do in the foreseeable future or this week. It will be long, it will be overwhelming and it could take the next two months to complete. That’s absolutely fine, at least you now won’t forget anything.

Write a to-do list for today

This should be a maximum of five-six tasks that you have to do today. For example, this is mine for today: 

  1. Wfh
  2. Read Eve Illusion 
  3. Edit script 
  4. Blog: Finding motivation when you have none 
  5. Shreddy Week 4, Legs & Bum workout 

I have done more than on my list, but my list is short and sweet and achievable (for me). Other tasks I’ve done include cleaning and tidying my work space, taking photos for a collaboration, sorting out blog emails etc. they could be on my list but they took a back seat, rather than the focus of my day.

Do one task

Just do one task from your list. Pick one and just do it – there’s no need to pick the one that’ll be the shortest for fastest, but if that helps then go for that one. In my experience once you’ve done one item on the list it feels far more achieveable to do another. Then another and then you’re over half way there so the momentum keeps you going.

Reward yourself

Once you’ve done a task, take a break. Put on some Netflix, fall down a TikTok rabbit hole, make a cuppa and eat some snacks. Your reward can be whatever suits you, but whenever you’ve done one task on your list take a break and a breather.

I often reward myself with a break and a cuppa. Works like a treat.

Write a list of what you’ve done at the end of the day

I mean absolutely everything – showering, getting dressed, replying to emails (personal or work), cooking dinner, reading, watching this on Netflix, tidying your room etc. You’ll probably find that you have far more on this list than you originally thought you’d done today and that will leave you feeling more motivated for tomorrow. 


Music can create a mood so effortlessly for you, that it’s an ideal source of motivation. If you want to workout but aren’t in the mood then something like Get Your Freak On, How does it Feel, It’s Tricky, London Bridge is guaranteed to make me want to workout. Add a few of your favourite club tunes to this list and it’ll liven it up too.

In lockdown it’s also great to have a playlist of mood boosting music and mix it up from time to time or put on the radio instead. Personal favourites at the moment are Elton John and ABBA – ABBA is giving me Mamma Mia vibes being in Greece in the sunshine. BLISS.

Also, obviously get your groove on as much as you want to or is possible with some absolute old school dance tunes like Funkytown, U Can’t Touch this, Rock this Party and anything by Earth, Wind and Fire and get Monica dancing in your kitchen.

Absorb it from other people

If you have an interest or are stuck for motivation in a particular area of your life, maybe working out, working from home, filling your time with particular hobbies in furlough then there will probably be a podcast or video on it.

I find podcasts so helpful for motivation. When I need to continue writing or more boringly edit my scripts then I listen to the Empire podcast interviews with directors or screenwriters. When I’m working from home I usually have Squiggly Careers podcast on, which really helps me to focus on my job and remind myself this is work, even though it isn’t a typical day at work.

Fitness wise, I only need to watch a Grace Beverly YT video to find the motivation and discipline to workout. She is SO disciplined – started a business whilst doing her undergrad at Oxford, into fitness, influencer the list goes on and on. Started two more businesses in her final year as a student, like if she had time then to do all of that, I definitely have time now, ygm?

I struggle doing nothing, which you can probably tell from reading this! I need to do productive things in (or have something to show for) my day as otherwise I feel awful by the evening; I have no energy and I’m left feeling low and grim. Being productive counteracts that for me, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but you do you peaches.

If you do feel a pressure to do something with your day but also don’t want to, don’t cave to the pressure, but I would make a list at the end of the day of everything that you’ve done as I think you’ll be pretty surprised and pleased with what you’ve achieved.

All tasks are valid, over the past week other things I’ve done that weren’t on my to do list but I would note down as being done at the end of the day include:

  • Binging Modern Family
  • Baked mini egg cookies
  • Used a hair mask
  • Face mask
  • Washing
  • Tidying
  • Got dressed for work
  • Showering
  • Rearranged and cleaned my desk
  • Sent a care package
  • Went for a stroll
  • Doggo cuddles
  • Clapped for the NHS
  • Had a bath with all the works (wine included)

How do you find motivation to be productive during lockdown?

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  • Hannah says:

    I love the idea of writing down everything that you have done that day so that you feel more motivated for the next day! Definitely something that I am going to start doing. Thank you for sharing. xx

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