Need motivation? Use this technique
"Do it. And then you will feel motivated to do it."
How often do you get stuck in Unmotivated Land? You know that place where you know you have to get something done, whether it's at home or at work, but you just can't bring yourself to do it? It may even be a simple task that won't take more than 15 minutes to complete, but doing anything else at that moment seems more appealing, like watching paint dry or filing your taxes. It's like this urge we feel that compels us to resist what we know needs to get done, so we stall. And then we stall a bit longer until time is no longer on our side.
I am guilty of this habit of kicking the can down the road until the last minute before it needs to be picked up. For some reason I play this little game with myself when it would have been a lot easier to just pick up the can yesterday, or last week. That way, I would have avoided all of the procrastination and pressure of just getting it done. It had to get done anyway. So why do I keep putting it off?
Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash
I came across an article the other day by emotional intelligence aficionado Justin Bariso regarding The 5-minute Rule. It's a fairly simple rule. Spend just five minutes working on the task that you have been avoiding like the plague. Just five minutes. You can even set a timer. What Justin explains is that after five minutes, we are already wrapped up in the task that it almost seems easier to just finish what we started instead of leaving the task incomplete. It's like that analogy of just getting ourselves to the gym for a workout. Once we get there, we aren't going to just turn around and go home.
Next time you are faced with a nagging task that you prefer to put off until the last minute, or until it's too late, I encourage you to try this technique. Pull out your phone. Set a five minute timer and get to it! After five minutes you may feel like taking a break instead, but at least you put in those five minutes. Or, you may be so wrapped up in what you needed to get done that you become motivated to keep going until you get to cross one more item off your nagging to-do list. All it took was just those first five minutes. Give it a shot. Just five minutes.
Harvard Business Review: How to Keep Working When You’re Just Not Feeling It
Zen Habits: Get Off Your Butt: 16 Ways to Get Motivated When You’re in a Slump
The Blissful Mind: How to get things done when you have zero motivation