15 Motivational Tips For When You Can’t Be Bothered

woman hiding beneath duvet in bed

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It seems many of us simply can’t be bothered with things at the moment.

A kind of ‘global lethargy’ has fallen over us.

Even small things can seem like a huge effort.  We’d much rather simply stay in and watch Netflix.

First of all, I would say that it’s not really all that surprising we are feeling this way given the year we’ve all had!

In fact, I’ll let you into a secret, it’s taken me nearly 3 weeks to get round to writing this blog post.  The longest I’ve gone without publishing a post in 2 years of blogging!



Why Can’t I Be Bothered?


You may be familiar with the Kubler Ross grief or change curve?

Although this tends to apply to losing a loved one (and was later adapted to consider stages of organisational change) I can definitely recognise that I’ve been through all the stages more than once during 2020!

The stages are:

  • Shock – surprise or shock at the event
  • Denial – disbelief, looking for evidence that things aren’t true (conspiracy theories run rampant in this stage!)
  • Frustration – recognising things are different.  May get angry (oh yes, I’ve definitely felt that!)
  • Depression – low mood, lacking in energy (could this be where we are right now?)
  • Experiment – initial engagement with the new situation (we did some of this and then it went and changed again…)
  • Decision – learning to work with the new situation, feeling more positive (ditto what I said above?)
  • Integration – integration of the changes into our lives

For a while, it did feel as though we were coming out the other side.  We were getting to grips with ‘the new normal’ and learning to live with the various changes that have been made.

Then Covid cases started increasing again.  Restrictions on our liberties are returning, so it’s not surprising that we are back at the bottom of that curve.  Back in the depression stage.

Many of us report low energy levels, increased levels of anxiety and feelings of ‘what’s the point?’ and ‘I can’t be bothered to do anything’.

One thing to hold onto is that this is a process.  It’s a very natural process at that, and we all go through the various stages.

We WILL come out of the other side.

In the meantime, if your mojo has well and truly left you, here are 15 motivational tips for you to try.


1.  Work With Your Energy Levels


Our circadian rhythms mean that we naturally have more energy at some times of the day than others.

For example, I know that my peak performance will generally be in the morning and that I’ll have an energy slump after lunch (usually for much of the afternoon to be honest 😆).

You can use this to your advantage by making sure you plan the tasks you need to focus and concentrate the most on for the times when your energy levels are highest.

For example, I generally research and write blog posts in the morning and will do tasks like social media and creating graphics later in the day as they don’t seem to need as much brainpower.


2.  Check Your Emails Later


Bearing in mind what I said above, for many people spending the whole morning checking emails and other messages doesn’t make much sense!

I remember reading years ago something which pointed out that ’emails are not work’.  In the majority of cases, this is true.  Emails are usually bringing work or giving an update on work, but aren’t work in themselves.

Why then use all your energy for something that isn’t really all that productive?

So park checking your emails (and social media accounts) for a time where you know your energy levels will be lower.

If it really is an emergency, believe me, someone will get in touch with you via other means!


laptop flowers and notebook on a desk

Image from Pixistock


I can work 1:1 with you to help you get your motivation back quickly.   Book your Power Hour call right now! 




3.  Allow Yourself Some Downtime


Cut yourself some slack and be kind to yourself.  Do this particularly right now in this pandemic situation, but also make sure to go easy on yourself in the future too.

We aren’t designed to work, work, work…do, do, do.

Sometimes we simply need to ‘be’.

And we don’t do enough of it.

So if you really feel you can’t be bothered to do anything, your body and your mind could well be telling you to take a break.

Allow yourself some flexibility in your schedule and then if you hit a period where you want to nap, take that nap.

If you want to lie on the sofa and watch films, do that.  Realise that you can’t be productive all of the time and that you will have good days and not so good days.

It’s part of being human.


4.  Set Goals


‘Yes but I have, and I’m not sticking to them, that’s the whole point Alison!!’

Ok, I hear you, but I still think setting goals is one of the best ways to achieve stuff.  Without them, how do you know what it is you want to achieve and by when?

The key is to make them SMART and also to break them down into smaller sub-goals.  Keeping some kind of planner is also useful, whether that’s on paper or electronically so that you don’t lose track of where you are.


5.  Track Your Progress


Make sure you record all those small wins along the way.  I tend to use my journal for this.

If I’m feeling a bit unmotivated, I’ll then look back through it to see how far I’ve come!

This never fails to spur me on.


woman writing in journal

Image from Pixistock


6.  Make Yourself Accountable


Have you ever noticed that doing something with a ‘buddy’ makes you more likely to do it?  Arrange a time to go out for a walk with a friend and you are more likely to stick to it as you don’t want to ‘let them down’.

Similarly, announcing your intentions (and also sharing your successes) on social media can also help with accountability.

I’ve also found paying money out for something helps me.

This doesn’t work for everyone, I know (look at all the unused gym memberships every year) but once I’ve paid for something I want to get my money’s worth out of it!

You could also join a ‘tribe’ of like-minded people.  There are Facebook groups for pretty much any topic you can imagine nowadays.  (Just be sure to join ones that are supportive as opposed to spammy!)


group of friends gathered round laptops

Image from Pixistock


7.  Look After Yourself


We can tend to neglect eating well, exercising and sleeping when we are in a bit of a slump.  None of these things come easily when we are feeling fed up and our energy levels are low.

If you have let this slip lately, it’s time to reassess and look at how you can build some healthy habits back into life.



Don’t overwhelm yourself with this task, but instead look at what easy food swaps you might be able to make and how to build a little exercise back into your day (preferably outside as this can really help to boost your mood).

It’s also a good time to look at alcohol consumption.

Even a couple of drinks on an evening can play havoc with your sleep and subsequently your energy levels the next day.

Here’s how I took a break from booze (without it seeming particularly hard).


8.  Do Something (Anything!)


If you are really feeling like you can’t be bothered, just do something!

It doesn’t matter what.

Get off the sofa and go and tidy up a bit.  Or make some healthy food.  Or play with a pet for a while.

Once you’ve done this, turn your mind to something on your list of goals.  Whilst you might not feel like tackling something huge, what small thing can you do to get things moving?

Even if it’s only for 5 minutes.

Do something and you may well find that after the first 5 minutes you want to keep going!

[tweetshare tweet=”Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out – Robert Collier” username=”alisonw30″]


9.  Cross Things Off Your To-Do List


To me, there is nothing quite as rewarding as crossing something off my to-do list.  I like to get a thick felt-tipped pen and put a line right though!

Seeing my list with all those crossed off items at the end of the day gives me a brilliant sense of achievement and satisfaction.


woman writing to-do list

Image from Pixistock


10.  Rename Your To-Do List


Ok, I get it, ‘to-do’ lists can feel overwhelming.  I read something recently that suggested renaming your ‘to-do’ list as a ‘can-do’ list.

I like this idea, it makes it sound much less of a chore!  More of a list of things that I CAN do if I choose and that I CAN do because I have all the skills and knowledge to be able to do them.

What do you think?  This could work?


11.  Mix Things Up


Nothing kills motivation more than monotony.

Think about the last time you started a new exercise regime.  I bet you were full of enthusiasm for the first little while.

After a few weeks, however, the novelty has worn off and the monotony of doing the same exercises over and over has kicked in.

Soon you’ve missed a day, then another and then it’s very quickly all over!

To avoid this, try to mix things up a bit.

Keep some variety in what you are doing.  If you can’t change the tasks particularly, then try doing things at different times of the day or in different locations.  If it’s a solo activity, try doing it with someone.

Be creative in mixing things up!


12.  Try Meditation


I’ve increasingly been using meditation to help me focus.  I’ve used it for many years to help manage anxiety and stress but hadn’t really thought about its benefits for motivation before.

I love Insight Timer which has 1000s of free guided meditations for you to choose from.

Here’s one I’ve used recently to help me with my motivation.


Image from Pixistock


13.  Figure Out What Motivates You


Everyone is motivated by different things.  Some people love a challenge.  Others are motivated by solving problems.  Or by learning new things.

Spend some time reflecting on when you have felt at your most motivated.

What was it you were working on?

Who was with you?

What was the outcome?  How did you feel?

What was it about that situation that made you feel so motivated?

Once you have the answers to these questions, consider how you might apply what you’ve learned to your current situation.


14.  Revisit Your ‘Whys’


For you to achieve your goals, you really need to have a pretty strong reason as to ‘why’ you want your goal.  Without this, it’s likely that goal will slip down the pile of priorities to somewhere near the bottom.

Now is the perfect time to revisit your ‘whys’.  If they aren’t strong enough, then maybe it could even be time to let a particularly goal go?

If your whys are strong, then write them on a post-it note and stick them somewhere you can see!

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to find your ‘why’.

  • What benefits will achieving this goal give me?
  • If I don’t do anything what will things be like?
  • How will achieving this bring me joy?
  • Which of my values does this goal align to?
  • What strengths do I have that I could use to achieve this goal?
  • How does this goal fit with other priorities in my life?
  • Who will achieving this goal impact on most?


15.  Celebrate Your Wins


Last but by no means least, every time you have a success, no matter how small, make sure you have a little celebration!

I know we are a bit limited as to what we can do to celebrate at the moment (booking that foreign trip is out of the window for example) but treat yourself with something you love whenever you reach a goal.

(For best results, make it something healthy!)


So there we have it, 15 motivational tips to help you when you are feeling like you can’t be bothered to do very much!

I hope you find these helpful.

Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of the tips, or if you have any others that you use to keep yourself motivated.

Note:  If your lack of motivation persists, or if l there could be an underlying medical reason such as depression, please make sure you consult a medical professional).

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  1. Jeannie

    I personally needed to try no.12 Meditation because it has a lot of good benefits. I even avoided using onion to start with it. And no. 15 always a good feeling to celebrate and treat my self for a small win.

  2. Pamela

    Helpful tips! I especially love number 1. So often people are told to be a morning person but that isn’t actually how everyone’s energy flows. It seems to me that you should work with your natural tendencies rather than fight them.

  3. Chloe Chats

    These are great tips! I definitely find ticking things off a to do list quite motivating, makes me happy knowing something is finished and I no longer have to focus on it! When I am struggling with motivation I do find focusing on the smaller things a lot better too, it’s normal to have those days where we feel a bit unmotivated sometimes! Great post xx

    1. Alison

      Thanks Chloe, you’ve reminded me i was going to add a tip about focusing on a small step (rather than the whole staircase!)

  4. Lori

    Excellent tips, Alison! I have printed out your list and will be posting it above my computer. My favorite – that I have never heard before – is to change the to-do list into an I Can list. That small shift in perspective is powerful!

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