Life happens. Change happens. Low mojo happens! Don’t beat yourself up for the lack of motivation you might be experiencing. Sometimes we feel bad when we look at our long list or reflect on the thing we WANT to do when we just don’t have the energy or ambition. Sometimes we lose the desire to complete tasks and have thrown goal setting and list making out the window. How do you get back into motion when you feel buried?
1) MAKE A LIST. Our brain is only able to keep about 6-7 things in our frontal lobe at a time. This is the part of our brain that is holding the things at our immediate attention and focus. Therefore, it is imperative, list maker or not, to make a list. One trick is grabbing a notebook and dividing the page into 4 sections (line down the middle horizontally and vertically). Title each of the four boxes for the four main buckets of the to-dos in your head. Example: HOME, WORK, CHURCH, VOLUNTEER, KIDS, GRANDKIDS, YARD, TOLERATIONS, PROJECTS, GROCERY, ERRANDS, OTHER, etc. Then as you are brain dumping all your to-dos, put them in one of the four areas. This will help as you go to do the list to be able to have a smaller list to focus on instantly. I have a WORK list I have it in my office and on the back is my HOME list that I take to the kitchen in the PM that I have been building all day when things pop into my head. It helps a person to focus and work in a “zone” rather than jumping all over to different tasks and just opening up a lot of items but not finishing anything. Then, pick ONE THING and get if off the list. The power of success and completion gives your brain a rush, which rewards you for your effort and helps to motivate you to do more!
2) DAILY HABITS. There are many books out there about daily habits and routines. There are two reasons for this. When you do daily routines your brain doesn’t have to work so hard to remember and think about them, you are able to do them from your subconscious mode. Also, daily habits help to get you in motion. I highly recommend AM and PM habits. Some people have AM and PM personal and work habits. Start with one to get yourself going and used to it. For example, an AM personal habit. These are things you do that help you get going and focused in the AM. They often include things that you might not do, but “should” or “want” to do. Example: make your bed, stretch, 10 min mediation, coffee, read something inspirational, review your to do list for the day. Getting going well is very important to getting things done. When we “slide” into our day we are often much less productive and our energy is low. When you have a “rhythm” for your AM, you have already accomplished things while your body is shifting into “wake up and go mode” because it recognizes the routine or habits. This is very innate to living creatures – if you have ever had a dog and had a routine when you took them for a walk or when they had to go in their crate or whatever, and you do your routine, you will notice them “knowing” what is going to happen because they are in tune to the routine as well. Again, routines help your body go into autopilot in a good way and start the momentum without even needing to accomplish something “significant” or difficult. Make it simple and fun, but do it!
3) BUDDY UP. Self-discipline is actually difficult for humans in general. Some are gifted and able to be disciplined, however, most have to learn and make themselves do things. The power of a partner is amazing. Introverted or Extraverted it doesn’t matter. When you enroll a friend or buddy to do something at the same time you more than double your ability to show up and follow through on the task. Whether this is cleaning, writing, doing a power hour, working out, doing cold calls, doing homework, a project, purging junk, decorating, cooking, etc. The buddy doesn’t have to do the same thing but sometimes it is two people working or being in the same space OR working together on a shared task. You can determine which is best but arranging for a buddy to come to help you get jump started on that “thing” you just can’t make yourself do is amazing. If you don’t have anyone around – that is really part of the role of trainers, coaches, organizers and other service professionals that help people get in motion.
There is not magic trick to MAKE yourself do something, you have to decide to do it and act – however there are approaches like lists, habits and buddies that can help you get and stay in motion. A friend of ours used to say, “Whatever you do, do something!” Again, even if it is just one small thing, like “make the list”, that is something and moves the needle! You can do it!