Monday, May 16, 2011

What's my motivation?

Today’s post is about finding motivation.

Specifically: What do you do to make yourself do something you don’t want to do?


Okay, I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m looking for a way to stop procrastinating. I have all these projects that are in various stages of being partially done, sitting on the metaphorical back burner, just waiting to be finished.

By the way, on my real-life stove, the back burners work better than the front ones. For realsies…

So I’m looking for a way to motivate myself to get some of these things done.

Just for clarification, a lot of these tasks are not being put off because I dread them. A few are, like cleaning the litter boxes. I have three cats and, well, yuck! But on the other hand, if I put that one off too long, life becomes unbearable. And I can sometimes con, er, I mean, ask my husband to do that one.

No, the things I’m talking about are ones that I actually kind of want to do, but just keep putting off. Like finishing my website and writing more spec pieces, both of which would be a good start toward drumming up some business for my fledgling writing career.

Not only do I want the business, I also want to get these things going so I can feel legitimate as a writer. You know, if I’m getting paid to do it, it must be official.

With the website and the spec pieces, my writing career is free to take off.

But what if it doesn’t?

I think that’s what is really scaring the bejeezus out of me. And hence the procrastination.

Oh, my.  What to do, what to do?

One thing I’ve already started to do is use the 15 minute timer trick. It works sometimes. And sometimes my left brain say, “Ha! I know what you’re doing! Nice try, but I’m not falling for it. I need a nap/snack/distraction.”

I can’t reward myself with food, because, well, I have a history of weight problems and that’s just not a good idea. Trust me.

How about running? I don’t think that would work because A) I’m injury-prone and can only run 3 times a week or I risk straining something and then won’t be able to run at all; and B) I’m going to go on my scheduled runs regardless of what I do or don’t get done, because I’m a total running addict.

One idea I had is to try using books as an incentive. If I get X amount of stuff done, I get to curl up with a book for an hour. That might actually work. I’ve been watching way too much television in the evening, anyhow. It would be good for me to get back on a reading kick.

Another thing I think will help is my productivity chart, which I wrote about in Time to Focus. I like to look back and see results (or not) of my actions, and the chart will be able to tell me where I need to spend more time. Plus, the idea of not getting a checkmark for the day will usually be enough to spur me into action.

Any other ideas out there on how to motivate myself and quit procrastinating? I’d love to hear them!

By the way, I used my 15 minute timer in writing this article. I wasn’t done yet the first time the time went off, and I didn’t feel like stopping, so I ended up writing for 25 minutes. I definitely need to keep using that timer.

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