There are many good articles on how to create, prioritize and manage your priorities. But for some, figuring out what to do isn’t the problem. Sometimes you know exactly what to do, and even how to do it, but you just don’t feel like it. You are “stuck.” How can you get motivated?
IMPROVE THE SCENERY
If we can make the task seem less like drudgery, we are more likely to do it. The other day I had a stack of CDs I needed to listen to from a conference I had missed. At the same time, it was a beautiful day and I was resisting working inside. I decided to take a portable player with me to the beach. I listened, took notes on my iPad and was very productive, all because I was sitting in a place I love. If you can’t move the job to a new location, you can improve the atmosphere by putting on some favorite music, lighting a scented candle, opening a window, pouring yourself a large glass of your favorite (soft) drink, or simply taking off your shoes.
ADD COMPANY TO YOUR MISERY
Frequently, having another person around can keep us motivated, while distracting us from the tedium of the task. This is a common technique for implementing an exercise regime. Jogging with a friend seems easier than jogging alone. If you have a task you are dreading, see if you can entice a friend to come alongside and help out. Offer to return the favor and you will double the benefit.
BREAK IT DOWN INTO TINY PIECES
Many times we put off tasks because we think we won’t have time to finish them. “I can’t possibly clean out my office because that would take all weekend.” If your project seems large, consider breaking it into very small pieces. Using the office example, perhaps the first day you simply go buy some empty cardboard boxes for sorting. Then for the next week you spend 10 minutes each day walking through and selecting 5 items to give away. The next week you tackle one drawer a day. Knowing the unpleasantness will end shortly makes a task more palatable.
GIVE YOURSELF AN INCENTIVE
It’s the old “more bees with honey” idea. We listen to our own voice more than any other, so it is important to keep reminding ourselves of the benefit of staying strong. For instance, you might take a photo of an item you have been wanting to buy. Hang it up, and beneath it write, “When I’ve completed __________.” Be sure to follow through on your promise to yourself or this won’t work the next time you need it.
NOMINATE A NAG
Well, not really a nag, but someone to whom you give permission to ask how you are doing. Accountability (think “deadline”) is very motivating to some. In fact, some people thrive when the pressure is on. If you know that someone will be checking in/coming to visit/calling – someone you’ve asked to perform this service – this may provide the extra push you need to dig in.
Getting motivated to do things we dislike is difficult. When there is no clear deadline or penalty for inaction, it is even harder. However, cultivating techniques to motivate ourselves increases our productivity, builds self esteem, and empowers us to achieve our goals.
Submitted by Seana Turner, Founder & President of The Seana Method