When Spring Break arrives, for many, everything else in life comes to a halt. We drop our normal routines. Our schedules become more relaxed, and not much may get done. And that’s the way it should be. This goes along with the old saying, “Stop and smell the daisies.”
And then it’s over.
Now the schedules must be resumed, and things left for later must, alas, be handled. So how to get motivated when the energy and, okay, I’ll just say it, the “desire” to get moving hasn’t exactly kicked in yet. Well, when I coach clients who lack motivation, it seems that taking that first step is the hardest. One idea on how to make your move might be to begin with something super easy. That step may not be the highest on the list of priorities, but it is the “kindling” to starting the fire. It gets you moving. It allows you to check one thing off the list and be done with it. So, before you return, or better yet, before you leave your home or office for whatever reason, jot down the tasks you need to handle when you return. That is an excellent place to begin, as you at least have your road map to follow.
Once you have done the first step, many times the next one isn’t quite as bad. If you are still lacking the amount of get-up-and-go that you wish for, perhaps a little incentive is in order. What kind of reward can you give yourself? Now, be careful, it should be realistic for the kind of task needing to be accomplished. You can’t go buy yourself a car for going through your emails! It should be something simple. Something free. Something relaxing perhaps. It generally shouldn’t be food, or you may up having “start a diet” on your list next time!
Making a list of potential rewards that you can give yourself often helps with motivation. Keep the list handy. Next, look over your list of tasks needing to be done. (You did make a list first, right???) Figure out what a suitable reward for a task or series of tasks would be. Match them up. Get excited for the reward, and then use that energy as momentum to get the task done. But Don’t Cheat! If you don’t get the task on your list done, don’t take the reward. Deserve it — don’t be childish and take it before you have earned it.
There are many ways to the path of productivity, motivation being one on the spectrum. If you lack motivation around other areas of your life, let me know what they are, and I can address them in the next issue of my column. Motivation is a tough skill for some, but it can be powerful once mastered.