Monday, February 22, 2016
how to get motivation when you have zero
I'm finding that there are many things that contribute to my lack of motivation, fear of failure being a big one. I've had to find my own ways to motivate myself every day so that I can go to sleep feeling like I've accomplished something meaningful. This process of learning to motivate myself has been a work in progress, and I'm still trying to improve (aka today I went home 5 hours early from campus...oops) but I hope that sharing some of my tips here will be of help to someone.
1. Make lists of the baby steps, and cross off completed tasks.
I make lists of the big tasks I have to do (research paper, visiting teaching, study for midterm), but more importantly I make lists of literally everything I need to do that day. I write down tiny things like take out the garbage and trim my fingernails or put on shoes (k not that last one but you get the idea). Because when I've completed a task, I get to cross it out! And you know how awesome it feels to cross something off. I actually feel more motivated to do something else on my list once I have checked something off. Before I know it, I have actually crossed off one of my big tasks along with a handful of the small ones!
2. Just start it.
I had an order for one of my lds temple watercolors recently, and for some reason I was having such a hard time just painting the dang thing. I put it off for days and days for a moment when I "felt like painting." But... that feeling wasn't coming. On Sunday night, the guilt of not having crossed anything off my list except "go to church" was hanging over me, so I knew I had to paint that temple if I wanted to feel good as I fell asleep. So I got up, begrudgingly. I went into the study room. I cut a piece of paper, filled up my water dish, and sharpened my pencil. And guess what... I magically felt like painting!! I got it done in like 20 minutes and wondered why I thought I didn't want to paint all week, because painting is awesome. It turns out that for me, starting is the hardest part. If I can just grit my teeth and start something, the momentum builds and I can actually finish.
I have a lot of things I have to do every week, but I try to remember to schedule in time for volunteering, because the job satisfaction is MUCH higher. Going to the temple (I don't go every week yet... but that would be awesome), doing TRC at the MTC and other volunteer stuff, making a treat for your people, and sending a message to or calling someone you haven't talked to in a while will make you feel awesome, which creates the juice inside you for accomplishing more tasks. We probably think we are too busy for that kind of thing, but I find my productivity is much higher when I have actually done something for the benefit of another person that week.
4. Create checkpoints
Splitting up your tasks, or even your entire day into checkpoints can make the day seem more manageable. In my planner, I write down the things I'll be doing every hour (class from 9-10:15, work from 10:30-2:30, meeting at 4), and once I have done it, I get to put a huge checkmark through it. Time will pass inevitably, so why not check off the thing you would have been doing anyway!
5. Get enough sleep, and get up early, and get organized.
I've been in a super good habit of getting up and starting my day early (I consider the 7 o' clock hour to be early enough for me, haha), but it has to start with me getting to bed by midnight. Or else waking up in the morning is a dramatic experience. I think the culprit of going to bed too late for a lot of people is the distraction of social media (or netflix and tv, probably). If I plug in my phone around 10:30 and try not to touch it anymore, I find it's so much easier to go to sleep at a good time. Scrolling scrolling scrolling... bad. Spend that time instead organizing and tidying up your living space. Seriously, 20-30 minutes of straightening up every day goes a long way and makes you feel so good!
6. Treat yo' self.
Reward yourself when you have done something hard. Eat a chocolate or take a short nap or watch an episode of Friends or go on a walk or go buy a little succulent for $1. Pretty sure occasional breaks are good for you.
Hopefully one or more of these tasks is beneficial for you. Does anyone else have any genius ways for getting motivated? Because I could always use some more!
And yeah, I still use an RM planner... shake my own head.