So, I didn’t get a new blog post out for April. I had previously set a goal for myself that I would post something once a month around the 15th. I didn’t get overly structured, but I had been doing pretty darn well until last month. What happened? The old “I don’t wanna, you can’t make me!” I actually enjoy writing my blog posts, but, somehow, in April, I was not able to get motivated enough to make it happen. I can argue I didn’t have enough time or I wasn’t inspired, but in truth, I just wasn’t able to get my motivation together to get it done.
There are many things that we are unmotivated to do. For example: laundry, working out, bookkeeping, doctor’s appointments. You name it. In previous posts, I have talked about delegating what you can. But what about the things you can’t delegate? How do you motivate yourself to do something that is challenging, time consuming, or that you just don’t like to do? Here are some ideas I have, that I am obviously still working on.
- If it is important, put it on your schedule. Now, this is something I have heard for years. I do this with many things, but somehow the blog did not get its own time slot. That will be rectified soon. How about other things? I have scheduled workout times. I have times set aside for work projects. I have regular appointments on my calendar for clients. All of these things are pretty logical. However, we often forget to put the infrequent or minor things on our calendar and they can get lost. (Right now, renewing my passport is on this missed-because-it’s-not-on-my-schedule list.) I also find myself pushing unpleasant or mundane tasks (like documenting my business mileage) off my schedule, even if I have put it there. It is important to follow a routine and a schedule, but sometimes even if something is on your schedule, it does not get done.
- Make a realistic schedule. One of the reasons things don’t get done, even when they are on your schedule is because that schedule is ridiculous. Now, I don’t think this is only my problem. I have talked to many people who describe herculean tasks (or lists of tasks) that they have set out to do in a single day. When I’m talking to them, I think, “that sounds pretty impossible. How does that person expect to get so much done?” Ironically, I do the same thing. I have a hard time seeing that I am also setting some unmeetable goals. Why can’t I work straight through for 14 hours? The best way to set a realistic schedule is to really observe yourself. Find out how much you can accomplish before you need a break. Identify if you have a rhythm that works best for getting things accomplished (e.g., are you more focused in the morning, afternoon, or evening?). And insure that your down time is sufficient to recover and rest. Don’t set a schedule that only reflects the amount you can do on your best, most productive, day. Set a schedule that gives you opportunities to breathe, take breaks, and accomplish something (so you feel good at the end of the day).
- Don’t repeatedly bang your head against the wall. If you are trying to do something and you can’t for-the-life-of-you do it, STOP! It is highly unlikely that you will gain new powers or uncover the solution by banging your head against the wall. If you have a strict deadline, at least take a break. If there is not such a tight deadline, DO SOMETHING ELSE! Your brain and your body will thank you. Also, I am imagining that you will get rid of that headache right behind your eyes. When we give ourselves some breathing room, we will often come up with the solutions more freely and feel more able to accomplish other things. Just think, how many of your other tasks could you get accomplished during that fruitless, 3-hour, bang your head against the wall and judge yourself, time?
- But don’t give up without trying. I have heard a lot of coaches talk about not doing things that you hate (delegate them!) and to stop doing things that are hard. I agree. To a point. As I said earlier, we can’t delegate everything we dislike. And, if we don’t struggle or challenge ourselves sometimes, we won’t grow. My very wise (and super fun) yoga instructor, Lori Steele, said something very profound to me while I was struggling to stay in chair pose. She said, “your mind will give up before your body does.” In that moment, my legs were wobbling and I was struggling to keep my breath steady, but I held the pose longer than I ever had. I just had to stay focused on doing, not on limiting myself. I was ready to limit myself with my mind (I think my legs are ready to give out). However, I was reminded that it is not my mind holding the pose, but my body. We do this all the time with every day tasks: “I just can’t face that right now.” “I’m not going to be able to do that.” or “I can’t.” If we can push our mind past limitations and just get started on the thing, we will usually be able to finish it and move on. Now, as I said in point #3: I’m not talking about forcing your head through the wall, I’m talking about overcoming procrastination within a realistic schedule.
As I continue to gather tips on motivation, I will share with you all again. But for now: put the important things in your realistic schedule. Find a balance between moving on from things you are unable to accomplish in the moment and pushing forward past limiting beliefs.
Find your path to accomplishment!
If you want help setting up accountability to get those difficult tasks done, please don’t hesitate to contact me: email@example.com; 424-241-3205