Procrastinating or just no motivation today? How can you catch the wind? The momentum you need? How do you get yourself going? As you gain momentum, often you’ll just keep going. You may or may not “find” motivation, so momentum is what’s needed. Not every task you work on “needs” your motivation to get it done.
What you need is movement.
- What’s the most interesting part of the project? Or the part you’re the best at? Start there, even if it is not the beginning ! Get your mind engaged first.
- Play first. Get it out of your system. (Set a timer to stop the play though.) Or …. Do the difficult first, with “play” as the reward.
- Set a timer for 5-15 minutes, just enough to get you started. You can stop. You can keep going. But you’ve started.
- Write or draw your list of steps. Take the first small step. Just one. Dip your toe in the water.
- Change your environment. Go to someone else’s office, a coffee shop, a library and use the change in environment to wake up your mind.
- Listen to music (instrumental), TED talks, a book, or a class while you work. The match of music and the task is important, so experiment. Usually, no words is best. Or words you know so well you don’t pay attention to them.
- Work on the tedious tasks while someone else comes to your office or home (e.g., bookkeeper, cleaning service, assistant). Use their presence to focus you on your own task. Or while your children do their homework, you do whatever it is you’re procrastinating about.
- Talk through your project with someone else first. Sometimes, we procrastinate because we don’t really know what the “thing” is about.
- Read about how others have handled this project – the experts. Limit yourself, by time or number of articles though.
- Hire it out.
- Can you work in a team? Especially if you’re more of an extrovert, you may need the people energy or accountability of a team to get going.
Emotional & Self-Talk Strategies
- Ask yourself: Why am I not starting? What am I afraid of? Tim Ferriss has a video out about “fear setting” a client told me about; I watched it a few times.
- Talk to yourself: I know how to do this. I know I can start it, just dip my toe into the water and see what’s there.
- Ask yourself: Have I already made some decision? Do I need to let this go?
- Ask yourself: What is the best and worst that could happen? What are the benefits of starting now? Benefits of waiting? And the costs?
- Break up the work and set small, interim deadlines before the big, looming one at the end. It’ll help you feel progress; and write those steps on your project or to do list.
- Self-care: Sometimes it’s the rest of your life which drains your mental energy. Focus on one element for one day and then start.
- Have you ever had this happen before on a similar task? Think about what you did to get started.
A psychologist once told me that you can either start with the practical and get traction. Or you can start with the emotional. Either way, both are key. So start at one end and work towards the middle and you’ll get what you need.
If you need a bit of support, coaching or consulting to make these strategies work for you, I’m available at 603.554.1948 or Sue@CoachSueWest.com
A first step is a no charge, introductory call: how it all works; my expertise versus what you need; the fit of two people; pricing, etc. We’ll talk a bit about what you need and get you some answers so you get value from your half hour with me. Promise.