I’ve had trouble with motivation the last couple days. Most days, before I crawl out of bed, I’m running my to do list through my head, ready to get on with the day. But, every month, there a few days (or more) where I’d rather just lay there thinking about what I’d like to accomplish instead of getting up and doing it.
Then I hear this Morgan Freeman type voice in my head that says:
- “Success doesn’t just find you, you have to go out and get it.”
- “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” –R. Collier
- “The difference between a successful person and others in not a lack of strength, or a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” –Vince Lombardi.
It’s the last quote, or variations of it, that is usually my ticket out of bed. My ticket to do something even if it isn’t monumental. One of my least favorite feelings is getting to the end of the day and feeling like I haven’t accomplished anything. Reminding myself of this in the morning helps, but it doesn’t mean I don’t groan and whine as I roll out of bed.
On days when I have a lot of energy and my feet hit the floor as soon as my eyes open, I struggle with writing too much and usually neglect other responsibilities. The opposite is true when the slugs have invaded my body. I do everything to avoid writing, and I don’t even know why. There’s probably some scientific, physiological or behavioral reason, but that’s for another blog post.
I want to focus on the three tactics I use to chase away the slugs.
- I maintain a daily To Do list. I do this every day—at the end of the day—so I know what I want to accomplish tomorrow. This allows me to get started right away. The sooner my fingers hit the keyboard, the less likely I am to procrastinate.
I prioritize this list. Not only does that force me to concentrate on the most important thing first, it ensures I won’t forget.
Because I work from home, my lists for home and business blend. When I worked in the community, I maintained separate lists, and it worked just as well. But, lists are my best friend. I love them!
- I remind myself of the value and/or purpose of my big goal. Time is valuable. What we do should have purpose. If it doesn’t, then… (well, that’s also another blog topic).
Because writing is sometimes ambiguous in its purpose. It’s easy to believe the world doesn’t need one more book written by me. I mean, millions of people write stories better than I do. So, what’s my real reason for writing? I have a small white board hanging in front of me that reminds me what I do isn’t just about me and what I want. I was born with a gift. Gifts kept in a box are often wrapped in regret. Not to mention they’re useless, unfulfilling, and are an insult to the giver.
Simply reminding myself of the gift first thing in the morning, and understanding what I do with it all day long shapes who and what I am, will restore my motivation, but not always. There are days when I will turn my back on those goals and stubbornly find a way to procrastinate.
But I have a trick for managing my procrastination so it doesn’t manage me. I give myself choices. Okay, Tammy, if you don’t want to write, then you can clean a corner of the garage or clean the bathroom. I save these horrible tasks for my lack of motivation days. That way, I still accomplish something important (I like a clean house).
That brings me to my third tactic:
- Reward. I use rewards a lot. Making an espresso, picking flowers, watching movies. Right now, I’m rushing to get my morning work done because Mel and I have a plan to go to the coffee shop and write a blog post we’ve been putting off. They have great quiche that I can’t wait to eat with a highlander grog. But I won’t go until my morning chores are completed. This motivates me. A little jog off the worn path is fun and adds value to the day, and when a task is accomplished, there is nothing more rewarding than scratching it off the To Do list.
On my To Do list today:
- Write Blog—check.
- Post on Facebook.
- Make the Social Media rounds.
- Write Blog with Mel.
- edit at least one chapter
- critique two chapter
- Read articles from a class I’m taking.
Remember: The most important thing is to keep going. If you have a bad day, tomorrow is just around the corner. Get a good night’s sleep and start over. It’s okay. We all go through it.
What sort of tactics do you use to help keep you motivated? Do you have a favorite quote about success?
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