Monday, September 21, 2009

Motivation - The Key to Getting it Done

Motivation. Lots of motivation. That's what many of us need to get going and to produce a final result in the projects we start.  I have to admit I am not the best when it comes to finishing what I start.  It is hard.  The excitement of a new idea has worn off long before the marathon of completion has finished.  My office cupboards are crowded with things I intend to do, but haven't.  I have some amazing ideas stored in there, I promise.

So how do we motivate ourselves to be the person we want to be, you know, the person who finishes things?  I have a few suggestions.

Believe you can do it.  This may sound a little hokey, but think about it, you have to actually think you can finish a project before you will ever try.  It doesn't matter if it is the quilt you have cut out, but not sewn together, or the monthly food calendar, you need to have complete faith you can complete it. I am not saying that you know up front how to do it, or even when you are going to do it, you just need to know you can do it.

Self confidence may really get in the way on this step.  I realized after many years that I didn't finish projects because I was afraid of the outcome.  (Crazy, I know!)  When the project is in progress there is always the possibility of an amazing outcome.  When it is finished you have what you have.  It won't get any better than the product you have in front of you.  When you are done, you are done, take it or leave it.  What pressure! What if the product I envisioned in my head was not what I saw in the end result?  Could I handle that?

The answer is of course I can handle that.  A finished project is significantly better than an unfinished project.  Not only do you have an item to add to your "done" list, you have an accomplishment behind you.  Also, no one but you knows what you envisioned in your mind, so to them it is just fine, even amazing.  This is true even if it is not all you imagined.

Find a partner.  This is a big one.  Having someone rooting for you is an amazing asset. If possible, find someone doing the same thing.  Now I can hear what you are thinking, "Who exactly is going to come over and help me clean out my underwear drawer?" You don't need someone to actually DO it with you, you just need someone to root for you and keep you on track.  Here is an example.  I have been working on a family genealogy project for years, yes years.  Anyone who does genealogy knows that such projects can consume entire decades of your life.  I bit off a lot more than I expected.  I thought I was doing a little research about one person, but now there are hundreds of people on the list. It is an amazing project and I love the information I am finding.  I thrive on the hunt for details and the thrill of finding lost members of the family.  I also can't seem to finish the project.  I figure I could do it with one month of solid work, assuming my life wasn't getting in the way. When I get bogged down I have a group of people who I call for motivation.  There is one lady who does genealogy full time, she gets the process and the pitfalls.  I have a cousin who knows the people I am researching and loves to hear what I have found.  I have a scrapbooking friend who understands the technical difficulties of putting hard data into a graphic layout.  They are all supportive and they all keep me where I need to be.  They accomplish all of this with no guilt, yippee!

Have a deadline. Every project will be eternal if there is no end specified.  I don't know about you, but I have no desire to clean my bathroom cupboards for the rest of my life, and I definitely don't want the threat of scrubbing my shower to loom for the next year. Identify an end game.  Declare to the world, "I will have this picture frame collage filled and hung on Tuesday."  Then sit down and figure out what you need to make that happen. Don't wait until Tuesday to figure it out. Go get the pictures, get the nails to hang it and get the glass cleaner to wipe off your sweaty finger prints.  Knowing that you will accomplish something on or by a date frees your mind up to think about other things.

So now you are motivated, finish what you already have started.  DO NOT think I just wrote this blog to get you motivated to start NEW projects.  That will come, but not yet.  Finish what you start. Gain confidence in your successes.  You can do it!

Today's Question: Are you motivated to fill out your Prepared Binder?  Who will be your partner?

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