Friday, January 21, 2011

Frantic Friday #11 - The Ebb and Flow of Motivation

Fridays are my "I have no place I have to be, so I should get thing done" day.  I usually stay in my PJ's and clean house all morning.  I right the wrongs perpetrated in my home throughout the week, and prepare for the craziness of the upcoming week.

Notice I said usually.

Some weeks I have no motivation, and honestly, the thought of moving from my comfy bed, or getting out of my computer chair is more than I want to think about.

I hope I am not the only one.

So why is it exactly that our motivation ebbs and flows?  Why does it overwhelm us with possibilities one day and desert us the next?  My personal opinion is because the universe thinks it is hilarious to see my house covered in half done projects.

As this blog is supposed to be about preparedness and organization, I thought it would be a good idea to tell you what I think can be done about all of this ebbing and flowing.

First, I think it is important to know everyone has burst of motivation and productivity, and everyone has different things that get them motivated.  It is also important to know everyone has moments of exhaustion, boredom and apathy. All of that is normal.

The question is, how do we keep the ebbing of motivation from ruining the momentum we have going in our lives?  Here are a few ideas:
  1. Know that you will have 'less than motivated days.'  If you know they are coming you will be prepared and less likely to get worried about it.
  2. Use the time you are motivated to get big tasks out of the way.
  3. Give yourself deadlines with meaning.  For example, "I have to scrub the bathroom before guests come over,"  tells you what you have to do, why you have to do it, and when it needs to be done.  It also implies a consequence...the company seeing your dirty bathroom, eeew.
  4. Put things on your calendar.  Using a calendar to set up 'appointments' for things that need to get done can be a clever way to make time for things that have to be done, even if you don't want to.
  5. Reduce distractions.  We do this with our kids, but how often do we do this with ourselves?  Turn off the computer, put down the book, get off the phone. Focus on the task at hand.
  6. Add distractions.  Sometimes chores are unpleasant, let's just be honest. I don't know anyone who loves cleaning all day long.  Sometimes talking to a friend on the phone, listening to music, or listening to a book on CD can distract you from how bored you are. Just don't tell the kids I talk to friends when I work.  There would be a mutiny!
  7. Add Rewards. When you clean the bathroom, then you can check your email...or when you clean the kitchen you can have a snack.  Work before play is the concept there.
Motivation is a crazy thing.  Some of it is internal, some external, but either way, some days there is more, some days less.  Recognizing that some days we are going to get more done, and other days we will get less done is an important part of managing our motivation.  Being disappointed by our lack of activity makes it even harder to get motivated in the future.

So get up...go get something can do it!


  1. It's called "pj-day" when we just can't get motivated to do anything more constructive. It does happen to everyone (5% rule applies), and I've come to realize it's a good thing once in a while! No guilts! All your points are spot-on; I particularly like #2. I hadn't thought of it that way, but that's great. I am an "audible" fan now, and have been a podcast junkie for years, so that's my distraction of choice. Cheers!

  2. Good to hear from you meh. It is amazing the motivation my jammies give me some days! Cleaning house (or anything else for that matter) is never fun, but for some reason, doing it in your jammies almost makes it feel like relaxing...almost.