I teach motivation as part of my coursework in my Intro to College course, and I sprinkle it into many of my Critical Thinking classes. The other day I faced a pile of dirty dishes. That moment clarified just what each of us faces when it comes to finishing a task.
This short post goes out to all my fellow procrastinators. By the way, I stopped to write this while in the middle of finishing my media and retail sales lists for my publisher, Reedy Press. I was supposed to have them in by the 15th. Enjoy!!
When faced with a particularly heinous pile of dirty dishes, I took the rookie-actor approach and asked myself, “What’s my motivation?” After all, this is a home mess, not a work related occupational hazard. My inner director called up three approaches –
- External motivation – I need to clean this mess up before someone comes over and sees this.
- Internal – I need to get this done so I can work on those other project deadlines.
- Go outside, watch birds, and hope an elf does them while I am away.
I went outside. I watched birds. I chased a two-year-old around. I stepped in dog poop.
Eventually we got hungry. When we came inside to make dinner, those dishes were still there. But I was in a much better headspace to knock them out. Give yourself a pass today on beating yourself up about unfinished tasks. Go look at something pretty or talk to someone that knows you are already pretty awesome.