To Stay Motivated – Stop Doing Things For Other People

Another title for this post could have been “make the goal your own”. To stay motivated we have to have an internal drive. When we do things because somebody else told us to, or somebody is in essence forcing us to do it, the negative energy that results, though surely “motivating” is not in the least the positive internal energy we need. The drive that’s created when we are self-motivated.

Yes, doing things out of fear, doing things to avoid pain, certainly makes us move to get things done. The problem with that is though, we need constant reminders of the potential pain or negative consequences in order to keep going. Not unlike the whip applied to the horse to keep it running.

When we make a goal of our own, we have our own internal engine. The energy is in front of us, it pulls us forward. It’s almost like a gyroscope on a flywheel that keeps the momentum going even though little energy is applied once they start spinning.

And yes, it is certainly not easy to make a tedious or difficult task one that we can stay motivated around. Yet, it is still possible to have your own goal around these tasks. We can for example set out to learn from the work at hand, or from the environment we find ourselves in during the work. A goal can be much more than just getting it over with.

By making goals our own, we come from a point of creation. We come from a point of simply getting ourselves to do things to a much more enriching experience. By overcoming the negativity, we in effect create neural pathways in our brains, in a positive way, that help us use those same “getting things done” brain signals and pathways that can and are applied to every aspect of productivity. That positivity becomes an internalized positive feedback loop.

Just because we hate shoveling snow, or mowing the lawn, doesn’t mean that that discipline, that brain level discipline of completing the job is not applied to finishing that report that’s due, or planning that family vacation. It is very much so.

Beat Procrastination

Seven Ways To Beat Procrastination

Even though I am big proponent of Time Management, a big part of time management is actually about beating procrastination. We all procrastinate, even those of us who pride ourselves in having good time management skills.

From my studies, I have come up with seven proven ways to beat procrastination. You will notice that none of the following are actually about “time management” per se, they are about the emotions and psychology behind putting things off.

1. Do the worst task first: I have used this technique for years. I have even created more than one first thing. There is first thing in the morning, there is first thing after lunch, and there is first thing in the evening. I take a look at the items on my To Do List and figure out which one I am dreading the most and spend a limited time on it at least moving it forward. This is known as swallowing the frog first thing; if you begin your day by swallowing a frog, then the rest of the day looks good.

2. Break it down: Often the reason that we procrastinate is because the task ahead of us is too big. Often there are small parts of the task that can be done. How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time.

3. Use a friend: I am not actually referring to delegation (but of course I dont mind that either); what I mean is to tell a friend what you want to do and get them to help you start the task. Often it is the act of starting a task that is enough to get the task done.

4. Do the pleasant part of the task: Often many distasteful and large jobs have some parts to it that are not particular distasteful. Do them so at least you are moving forward on your most important items.

5. Fifteen (15) minutes: Just spend 15 minutes on a task. I have the attitude that I can spend 15 minutes doing virtually anything and I can certainly survive spending 15 minutes on something. Often by spending the 15 minutes on a task, I either complete it or I will get it moved forward enough that it has momentum to finish.

6. Track it: The simple act of tracking a goal is often enough to keep the goal moving forward. It seems odd, but knowing that you are going to write down whether or not you have done something is often enough to make you move forward.

7. Reward or punish: The reason we do something is because it is more painful than not getting it done, so if we can make the completion a task more rewarding or the consequences of not completing it more painful, then we tend to move forward on things. Tying successful completion of a task to a reward is often a successful technique.

Remember that even successful people occasionally procrastinate. Procrastination is not a permanent condition.