Staying Motivated When Completing a Project: Tips for PMs or Anyone

Staying Motivated When Completing a Project: Tips for PMs or Anyone
Page content

Starting on the Right Foot

Upon waking, adopt a positive mindset. At breakfast or even while still in bed, think about what you will be doing today and find out what motivates you: is there an important meeting scheduled for this morning? Orientation of a new employee who has just arrived on the project? A tedious task to be finally completed? How will you push through your challenges and achieve your goals? Anything from a favorite meal planned to an approaching pay day can help get you through the more tedious work.

If you see lack of motivation, you need change. Break your routine. For example, set your alarm early and practice a new and rewarding activity such as reading an article from a blog or a site you enjoy, taking a brisk walk, practicing yoga or catching up with friends on a social network. The idea is to do a short task that contributes to your well-being, awakens your body and refreshes your mind. It is worth mentioning that even mild physical activity can produce endorphins which can energize you and bring your mind to the positive side. Another possible routine-breaker is changing up your commute. Avoid the traffic jams by taking a back road or driving into work at a different time of day.

Avoid Unnecessary Tasks

Avoid unnecessary tasks. Just because you started with something, does not mean that you need to finish it compulsorily. If you started reading a book and hated the contents, it’s better not to finish it. If rent a movie and found it boring, don’t waste your time watching it. This also applies to work. Evaluate your daily routine: Are you wasting time checking your email every 5 minutes? or are you filling your morning with things that you don’t actually have to do?

Identify useful tasks that will help you achieve the objectives of the project. Make a spreadsheet or calendar to organize your day and/or tasks. If the project undergoes changes during execution and it’s goals are reviewed, go through your list and delete those tasks that do not help to achieve your project’s objectives. Opt for 20% of the tasks that can achieve 80% of the target. Focus on tasks that keep you motivated. Prioritize your tasks and do those first which have a higher priority. Simplify how tasks need to be performed in a project. This will result in increased efficiency and better motivation.

Review Your Positive Developments

At the end of a working day, review your accomplishments. Even if you have not moved as fast as what you wanted, congratulate yourself on what has already been accomplished. Keep a log of your accomplishments to periodically review for a confidence booster. On the weekend, review what tasks you have done throughout the week. Then, plan and review the scheduled tasks of the following week.

Be Selective With Your Media Sources

Be selective in your sources of information. Do not waste precious time listening to bad news in the media on a daily basis. Select sources of information which you favor. If you’re having trouble finding good sources, ask your friends what they consume and give it a try. Once you find good sources, encorporate them into all of your social media accounts and subscribe to email lists for easy access. Especially during the implementation of the project, try to reduce or even eliminate sources of negative information. You probably have better things to do than pollute your mind with negativity. Instead, just remain focused on your personal goals as well as those associated with your project.

Stay Distraction-Free

When you start on a task, give it all the attention it needs and do not be distracted. This is best done by minimizing all other screens on your computer or create a whole new desktop for specific tasks that cannot access the websites or applications that distract you. Another tool would be to schedule short periods of time to be distracted. The best way is to use them as rewards for completing a task. Integrate these scheduled distraction times throughout your schedule.

Practice Positive Visualization

You are currently toiling on your project? Imagine presenting the completed project to the client. Practice positive visualization by focusing on the quality of work and end goal you would like to achieve. Celebrate the success of your project with your team, or practice announcing good news to the stakeholders.

Turn this imaginary projection into concrete and real motivation. For example, offer to take your team out to eat if we achieve this or that goal in the allotted time.

Take Pleasure in What You Do

Think about the real meaning of your work, the satisfaction and pleasure it gives you and what it delivers to others. If your project tasks are essential and yet tedious initially, motivate yourself by promising a reward when the task is accomplished. The reward could be taking a break to walk outside, turning attention to a more pleasant task, or going to get coffee with a co-worker.

What do you do to stay motivated to complete a project?

About the Author: Sharon Thomson is the Marketing and Business manager of ProofHub, a web-based project management software that helps to plan, coordinate and execute projects, and enables easy communication amongst teams and clients. Sharon also writes blogs related to project management and collaboration.


  • ProofHub - Project Management Software