What happens when you know you have to do something but you just ‘don’t feel like it’ right now?
Its 85° and Sunny. Business might be looking up but you are still up against a lot of resistance. When it comes time to send that email, write that proposal, make those follow up calls, etc. do you ‘feel like’ doing it? If you don’t, you probably won’t.
I am putting together a program for the American Management Association called Procrastination to Productivity, so I have been delving deeply into the subject and really getting to understand the ‘mindset’ of a procrastinator.
Here’s a little nugget that led me to a big ‘aha’:
If you are a procrastinator, you believe in the following equation: Motivation > Action.
In other words, you think you have to feel motivated in order to take action. You wait until you feel ready. You wait until the pressure is on. And if you don’t feel that way right now, you think you will feel differently and the task will be easier ‘tomorrow’. (Ok , be honest, am I the only one?)
If you are a successful, ‘take action’ kind of person, here is the equation you live your life by: Action > Motivation.
What motivates you is to see results. When you are not taking action and seeing results, you feel lost and unmotivated.
Which kind of person are you?
In my programs and with my clients, I teach an extensive repertoire of how you can change your thinking, your energy, your negative emotional response, etc. all so you can get into a good place in your mind and be ready to get to work. Whereas these techniques are very effective, now I think the ‘moral’ of the story is to take action — even when you don’t necessarily ‘feel like it’. Seeing results will get you to be motivated so you will ‘feel like’ doing more.
Taking action refocuses away from the negative chatter that keeps you unmotivated. It puts you into a different energy state and creates momentum.
There is a ‘debate’ about what kind of ‘action’ to take. ‘Structured procrastination’ is doing tasks that are simpler, of lesser importance (e.g., mow the lawn, administrative work, input database info, etc) than your higher income generating activities (making sales calls, coaching, etc.)
Your answers will come from you knowing yourself honestly: Does starting off with easier activities create a momentum that then enables you to do more substantive work? Or do they serve as a justification to waste more time away from your highest leverage work?
Does breaking the task down into its component parts and just focusing on getting the first one done work for you? Is it important for you to ‘start with the end in mind’ in order to know where to begin or is it better to do a brain dump without needing to know the whole structure (knowing you will go back and edit later).
The next time you ‘don’t feel like’ doing something, notice the self talk you use to justify it. You now know these are self deluding thoughts, and that you don’t have to wait for motivation to take action. Tell yourself that your rationales are quaint but you are now looking to get your motivation from seeing results.
In short, Procrastinators seek relief. Successful professionals in this economy seek results.
Even though I normally I write in detail what you can do to get yourself motivated, today I think 10 years of graduate study is usurped by the Nike commercial: If you want to get motivated, JUST DO IT!
Are you getting in your own way? Do you have challenges you would like Dr. Melnick to personally coach you on? Join her for her monthly Ask Dr. Melnick teleconference.
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I really need this. I am not motivated in what I am doing. I really need this. And I will really try my very best to take note of all this. In my current job, I am losing interest in what I'm doing. I just hope it will work.How To Get Taller | Article submission | Article directory
Dominic Joelson 1379 days ago