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A Your Path to Simplified member recently asked me what I do when I’m not motivated to tackle a project. This happens to me all time. Once upon a time, I would have said “plow through it,” but I’ve since learned that is definitely not the way to go. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I can tell you what works for me and what I’ve seen work for clients.
Know your vision
If you’ve followed along with me for long, you know this is key. Before you do any task or project, make sure that it fits in your vision of your life and home. If you are feeling a lot of resistance to complete a project, it may be that the project does not fit in your vision in the first place. Need some guidance or help finding your vision? I'm here to help! Click here to access the Complete Guide to Finding Your Vision.
Keep your eye on the end result
There are so many things we do simply for the end-result. We clean our home not because we particularly enjoy cleaning but because we want a clean home. We cook dinner not because we love to cook but because we want a healthier meal than drive-thru.
One of our members is working hard in her guest bedroom. It’s not particularly fun to clean out the guest bedroom, but she is so excited to have a tidy, beautiful space to host guests. Another member is preparing to move into a new home, so she is working hard decluttering her current home. For her, it’s not about decluttering her current home, it’s 100% about a fresh start in the home she’s building.
Think about how you can keep your end-result in mind. You could post a picture in your bathroom of your dream space, or make a list of all the ways you will enjoy the end result. Scroll to the bottom of the post for a free gift from us to help keep your end-result top-of-mind!
Break up a large project into smaller pieces
This is the strategy I use the most! Not knowing how to start a large project is a major cause of procrastination and overwhelm. Before you touch the first item, jot down notes on how you are going to tackle it. What’s the first thing you need to do, then the next thing, the next, etc. until you are done. Not only does this help you get started without that overwhelm feeling, you will keep momentum during the process because you will never have to wonder what to do next.
For our member tackling her guest room, she’ll make a list of the general categories of items in the room and declutter each one at a time. Then, she’ll figure out what she needs to store in the space and measure for bins/baskets if she needs them. When she leaves the house to shop for the bins, she’ll drop off donations. Then she’ll organize the space and get it guest-ready!
The task list for the member decluttering in preparation of a move will look a little different. She’s going to make the list of relevant categories and she may plan in advance of how she will store them in her new home, but she’s not going to focus nearly as much on organization since she’s not in her new space yet.
Set a timer
I’ll use this trick for myself sometimes, but it’s especially helpful with my kids! Something about going into something knowing it won’t last forever makes the task much more tolerable. Set a timer for at least 10 minutes but no more than 20 minutes. When the timer dings, you are done! If you want to keep going, then go for it, but you can absolutely stop and feel satisfied with making progress. I’ve found that 10 minutes is long enough to get into a flow and possibly want to continue when the timer is up! Much more than 20 minutes can feel daunting, and you may never get started.
A really important thing to note is that the minutes you spend being timed have to be focused on the task at hand. I see you. No scrolling through to find the perfect playlist, no looking for a ponytail holder, to refilling your water. That is done before the timer starts. To avoid the distractions on my phone, I use this little cube timer (affiliate link).
Schedule tasks/projects around your natural energy levels
I’m just investigating this strategy, and what I’m learning is fascinating. First, I’m reading the book “In the Flo” by Alisa Vitti (affiliate link). It’s a deep dive into the hormone cycle of women, and how we can use those hormonal shifts to our advantage. For example, there are certain weeks of our cycle that are better for big thinking and brainstorming, for performances and presentations, for turning out blog posts, etc.
Another thing I’ve really enjoyed exploring lately is Human Design. My favorite teacher so far is Erin Claire Jones. From her website, “Human Design is a synthesis of ancient wisdom and modern science.
Human Design sheds light on your emotional, psychological, and energetic makeup, giving you both self-awareness and the tools you need to align with your unique nature and step into your highest potential in every area of your life — your career, your relationships, and your life.”
The point of Human Design, like the Enneagram and many personality tests, is not to pigeonhole you into one type, but the knowledge may help you understand yourself a bit better and give you “permission” to embrace the way you are.
I’ve learned that I’m a Manifestor. Some of the characteristics of a manifestor are that we work hard in bursts, and then we must rest to recharge. We need uninterrupted periods of time to focus to remain in a creative flow. We need alone time, and sleep is critical to our success. If you know me, then you know this is so spot-on that it’s freaky. Knowing this information gives me even more confidence in the boundaries I set around my time. I also know going into a project that I can work only for so long before I need to recharge, so doing an intense project all day or multiple days in a row will not allow me to do my best work.
I hope at least one of these strategies will help you harness some motivation to make progress on a project. I would love to hear what works for you and your results if you try any of these tips. Reply and let me know!