Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Motivation Methods: Do Something Else First

This is the second post in my series about methods for self-motivation.  My goal here is to compile methods for getting yourself moving when the moving is hard, because I have found that once you're moving, it's a whole lot easier to take that forward momentum to the next thing, and the next, and the next, and eventually to form a habit of getting things done.

We all have those big projects that we dread doing.  Sometimes they're not even that big, we've just made them big in our minds by putting them off for so long.  It's like the longer we procrastinate, the harder it is to do the thing, until it's nearly impossible to get going on it.

One of my approaches when I feel myself getting into this rut is, honestly, to just do something else first.  My to-do list is always eons long, so it's easy enough to find something else on the list that needs to be done, something I am not dreading as much, and sometimes even something else equally as pressing.

It's the subject of a running joke for writers, actually.  The joke is that you can tell when a writer has writers block because their house is clean (or some other normally-overlooked tasks are all done).  Doing something else makes you feel less guilty about the thing that you're not doing.

If you use it correctly, though, you can actually use the building of that momentum to launch you into the task you didn't want to do.  There's something very satisfying about getting something done, and it doesn't really matter what it was you accomplished.  If you turn your focus to the task you were putting off while you're still feeling good about having gotten done something else, you can harness that energy and use it to catapult you into the dreaded task.

Of course, once you accomplish the dreaded task, you usually feel a little underwhelmed and amazed that you let "that little thing" monopolize your time for so long.  It's often not as bad as you feared it would be, but either way, it feels equally good to get it done!

If doing something else first when you have a task looming over you isn't your style, stay tuned for my next post in the series.

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