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Friday, February 11, 2011

What I do When I'm Unmotivated

We all have them - days when there is no will or energy to accomplish what  is needed. Yet somehow, I've got to push through or the resulting consequences will just add to the chaos.
(insert photo of messy kitchen here!)

When I am unmotivated, it is usually because I'm feeling ovewhelmed.  I feel like there is too much to do and no way to do everything expected (by me or by others), so my reaction is to shut down.  "If I can't get it all done, I won't do any of it," I think.  But that is faulty logic.  In my response to do nothing, I only compound my problem and add more to the already-too-long list.

I do much better if I set a small goal, that is quickly accomplished.  Then I can quit with at least one thing done, or keep pressing forward.  If I set my expectations a bit lower and force myself to accomplish one task quickly, I usually gain the momentum to keep working toward my total action list.  Here is a recent example:

On a typical Thursday, M has the children, so this is the day that I work late, run errands and catch up on house-cleaning/laundry.  Yesterday I worked almost nine hours, then ran two errands before running home to unload everything and get ready for my son's Valentine's Day concert (yes, first grade had a Valentine performance).  I had about 40 minutes at home before I would need to leave again, and all I wanted to do was crash .... still I knew when I got home from the performance, I would want to crash even more! 

So, I decided to just empty the dishwasher, get the clean dishes put away.  That was it.  I could handle that.  Within seven minutes, that was accomplished.  I felt better and decided to go ahead and clear out the sinks so I quickly put the few dirty items into the dishwasher.  While I was at it, I wiped down the counters, sink and a random sticky spot on the floor (we get a lot of those?). 

I had only been home for twenty minutes.

Feeling buoyed by my quick success, I emptied the dryer load into a basket, moved the stuff from the washer to the dryer and started a new load in the washing maching.  I had just enough time to freshen my makeup, grab a coat and head off to the first grade presentation.

When I arrived home an hour later (first grade presentations aren't long), I was able to tackle the vacuming, then fold and put away laundry while relaxing front of mindless television.  By breaking up the tasks into small little pieces it was so much easier to tackle and gain a sense of accomplishment.  There was more I could have done, but there always is.


  1. This is key for me too - if I tell myself to just do something small, it seems to lead into doing more. And if it doesn't, well, at least it's more than if I didn't do anything at all.

    Dishes are often my choice to start as well, because not only does it make such a difference in the state of the kitchen, but they are almost always not as big of a project as I fear they will be.

  2. Sheila, thanks for posting. I hopped over to your blog and see you're halfway through pregnacy #2! Congratulations!