Finding Motivation When There is None

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Kitchen Floor

This is a picture of my kitchen floor. Doesn’t it look nice and shiny? (By the way, those are Milk Bones off to the left. Wouldn’t want you to think they were anything else.) 

Why am I showing you my kitchen floor? Well, because it is nice and shiny, because I mopped it today.

The sad truth, though, is that it needed it days ago. I just couldn’t find the motivation to do it before today. See, I hate doing floors. Mopping, vacuuming – yuck. But I do appreciate a clean floor. 

Over the weekend, I rationalized that it just wouldn’t be practical to try and mop the floor with everyone at home. So I put it off.

Today, though, I got an early start on the day, and had the house mostly to myself for hours. With all that (rare) quiet time for myself, I was tempted to do some things just for me, but no such luck. I just couldn’t get that floor out of my head. It was really bothering me. 

So I decided to do one thing – just one – that would at least begin the job. I picked up all the throw rugs and threw them in the wash. But when I came upstairs, it was even more obvious how dirty the floor really was. Out came the broom and the dustpan to sweep.

Less than an hour later, I had a clean kitchen floor, bathroom floor, and entryway. I vacuumed the family room too, but not the living room. I have my limits.

So what am I trying to tell you here, other than how I spend part of my day?

ADDers can be procrastinators. We tend to put off jobs we hate or dread doing. It doesn’t give us the freedom we think it does, though, because until we do it, there’s always going to be that nagging little voice in the back of our head reminding us.

In addition to annoying us, that little voice takes away your focus. It interrupts whatever you are doing and doesn’t allow you to give it full attention.

The best course of action, obviously, is to just do whatever it is. Easier said than done.

So try what works for me – break that task down into little bite-sized pieces and commit to doing one of them right away. Sometimes, that gives you enough momentum to keep going and get it done. Sometimes it doesn’t, but at least now you’ve made a start. Give yourself 30 minutes or an hour, and then commit to doing another. 

I use this strategy a lot when I coach teens. I mean, who really wants to do homework? But I tell them, doing stuff you don’t want to is part of being an adult. So come on, you’re an adult, aren’t you? Take the first step. 

Here’s a challenge for you – let’s see if anybody is brave enough to answer: Post a comment and tell me what task is hanging over your head, and what your first step is going to be.

Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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