This second, we can sit down and do our work.”
Ok so now that I have a shit ton of time on my hands, apparently all the stuff I told my self I NEVER had enough time to do … well, guess what it was all a lie. I do have time and it still isn’t getting done…. It took me 4 days to sit my butt down to write this. So, what was I doing for 4 days, well the pantry looks amazing and I have managed to re-watch The Agents of Shield, again, all 6 seasons. Yea…. Oh and I am CRUSHING Candy Crush.
So, what is it about motivation? Or what causes a lack of motivation? And is it motivation we are all lacking? Yea you know I’m not the only one.
Actually, I am motivated I really am, I want to write, part of me has always been a writer, my earliest memories are of having a pencil and paper in my hands and words, like butterflies, flying through my mind looking for somewhere to land. My mother was a gifted artist, a painter and a deeply creative person and memories of my childhood are of being given art lessons from a young age. Well, I wasn’t given the lessons; it was more like I was drug kicking and screaming to the art studio on Brainerd rd. and to the Hunter Art Gallery. To be clear I have a deep appreciation and love of the visual arts, I just can’t draw a straight line. So, every time mom would give us paper and crayons or pencils on a rainy day I doodled and wrote stories. Mostly I wrote because even my doodles stank.
But these days I can’t seem to find my voice, and I sure as hell can’t get it down on paper. But I’m working on it. I’m looking for the push, that internal drive to get up and do….anything, something.
I know I’m not the only person that feels this way. We all have plans, to-do lists, great ideas that never see the light of day, unfinished projects and still we have periods where nothing gets done.
It is possible that Motivation isn’t the problem that it could be a deeper issue, instead could it be… Dun Dun Dun Duuuun… Procrastination!
Procrastination is a complex psychological problem and it has been studied extensively and it can’t be rendered down to a simple solution. It’s not laziness!
And it’s been my experience that motivation is a manifestation of procrastination. We have a tendency as humans to look outside ourselves for answers. Throughout history, we have looked to religion and science to answer complicated questions. And “looking for motivation” is one way to think we are solving the problem of getting shit done.
This might be one person’s thoughts about losing weight….” If only I was motivated, I want to lose weight, but what is my motivation, well Summer is coming, and I want to look good in that bathing suit.” But then summer arrives, and nothing has changed and we think it is because we lacked motivation, or had the wrong motivation. Really what we did was kept putting off making the necessary changes to achieve our goals.
Why do we do that? Again, it is complicated, and it is different for everyone, Psychologists have terms for different behaviors that lead to procrastination. The biggest for me are Task Eversion, Fear and arousal procrastination (which sounds better than it is) for me arousal procrastination means I work well under pressure, give me task, give me a deadline and 5 mins before its due I’ll throw down and boom, done. Here’s the problem with that it might get done, and it might get done “ok” but trust me it could have been better. Also, self-imposed deadlines don’t work.
And know that there are many other reasons people procrastinate: indecisiveness, overwhelm, stress, depression, goals that are too abstract, anxiety and perfectionism just to name a few.
And now that we are all faced with this new normal, of social distancing and being isolated at home, at least for a while, how can we deal with not getting shit done, especially now that we have the time. How can we deal with our procrastination? Here we are stuck at home and we can’t get the laundry done or clean out the garage, forget the big project for work. What can we do?
Try to figure out what your procrastination issue is. A licensed counselor, especially one who is an experienced life coach can help you.
Establish your goals.
*make sure to define your goals as clearly as possible
*make a to-do list
*Prioritize tasks based on how important they are to the finished goal
*Break large and overwhelming tasks into small and actionable pieces
* Set short term deadlines for yourself on your way to your final goals
*Identify when you’re most and least productive and schedule your tasks accordingly
*Reward yourself when you reach a goal
*Focus on your goals instead of on the tasks that you must do to get there
*Imagine how great it will feel to experience the outcomes of your work
*Avoid a perfectionist mindset, nothing and no one is perfect. And remember we learn from mistakes
What works for me is to pick one thing, one task and do it till its done, finished. If I get distracted it’s all over.
Also, If I know that one big ‘thing’ will take a long time, days or weeks even, I break it up into timed segments. That way I am still working on it, I have a deadline, and I can still break away to go fold laundry.
And Breathe…. you knew I was going to say that didn’t you? 🙂 But it does help.
Breathing on purpose, taking slow deep breaths when faced with any problem can help you to focus. Taking Breathing Breaks can give you time to clear your mind and release any stress that might have come crept into your shoulders and neck. Breathwork, Pranayama in Yoga, can bring clarity to your thoughts and help to relieve anxiety.
So, what are somethings you want to do during this time of isolation? Learn to make pasta? Improve you putting game? Finish the puzzle you started over Christmas?
The greatest thief this world has ever produced is procrastination, and he is still at large.
Here is one of my favorite paintings from my mother