Do you need a push to get things done? Try this self-reflection exercise

Do you need a push to get things done? Try this self-reflection exercise

We all need a helping hand from time to time to get things done. Be it writing a manuscript, reading literature, preparing a presentation or grading exams – starting is the hardest part, especially when you’re not feeling motivated.

Without going into detail about why you’re not motivated at the moment, I recommend that you use the following exercise to make sure you get things done despite lack of motivation. More tips and exercises are available in the time-management section of my blog.

Write down your answers on a piece of paper, or on your computer. This exercise takes about 5-10 minutes to do and it will help you get orientated on what to do next. It can also help you schedule your work, especially creative work.

Think about your ongoing project or work and fill in the blanks. Do not censor yourself, just write freely what comes to mind.


Fill in the blanks

Last time I worked on (what) …………..

Today/this week I am going to (do what) …………..

In a week, I will have achieved (what) …………..

At the moment, my feelings towards my doctoral thesis/project are (what) …………..

Today/this week I might encounter difficulties, such as (what) …………..

When difficulties arise, I am going to (do what) …………..


This is an exercise you can do every time you start your day or your week in order to get focused on what needs to be done. It also helps you to prepare for difficulties and to tackle them, if they arise.

This exercise was originally developed by Aalto study psychologist Sanni Saarimäki

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