It’s not surprising that most people feel the key to success is motivation. Since you might believe (also like most people) that motivation is a necessary component to reaching your goals, it’s not surprising that you might feel like you’re failing when motivation fails to arrive. Motivation can seem fleeting. Like the concept of the literary muse appearing to a would-be author and inspiring a burst of prodigious writing, we often sit and wait for motivation to arrive. In reality, however, motivation is more likely to appear when we actually start to take action, whether a muse be present or not.
Essentially, if you wait until you feel inspired to do something, you might be waiting a very long time indeed.
So, what then is to be done then when motivation is unpredictable? How do you reach your goals when many days, again like most people, you feel entirely unmotivated to get working on them?
After all, it’s very easy to work on a “to-do” list when you feel motivated. When you’re fueled with motivation, every task seems to flow and feel almost effortless. When you’re not motivated, it can feel like your proverbial gas tank is very empty indeed.
One reliable way to to make it through the challenging times when you don’t feel motivated is by creating a motivation check list.
What’s a motivation check list? It’s a ritualistic list of things you can do that help you start to take action and potentially provide fuel for motivation as well.
For example, let’s say you’re a web developer. Your job would include a variety of daily tasks, from creating a “look and feel” for new client projects to small administrative tasks like invoicing or creating project proposals. Naturally, there will be some of these tasks you prefer over others. Let’s say you often find yourself stuck with ideas for a new client website. That you procrastinate on taking action because you have no inspired feeling to prompt you to open Photoshop and start pushing through inertia. You can then turn to your motivation check list to start the process of lubricating that inertia.
The task list might look something like this:
Go to a website theme marketplace
Search by keyword for the niche that your new website belongs in
Look at the first 3 pages of results
Note what you like and don’t like about the designs you see
Note what jumps out at you (and it’s very likely something will jump out at you)
Take a screenshot
These little actions can start off a chain reaction of inspiration, helping you get going. But let’s say it’s the invoicing part of your job that you often procrastinate on. It can be a bit more challenging to create a checklist that gets this going. Let’s give it a try though.
Task list for invoicing:
Login to your online business account
Note what the bank balance is and when the last payment was received
Record the date of the last payment
Make a list of work completed since that date
Open your online invoice management tool
The checklist method to help fuel motivation is based on the premise that bigger jobs can always be broken into tiny baby steps, and when we complete these tiny baby steps you can move yourself past the procrastination into action. These actions start the ball rolling (so to speak) and suddenly, what seemed almost insurmountable in terms of completion before has now started to get done by virtue of identifying the smaller pieces that are part of getting them done.
So, to use this method for yourself, identify the tasks where you often feel motivation is a necessary prod to action. Then break down those tasks into tinier pieces. Even writing breaks down into tiny pieces when examined. If you write on paper, you need to get a sheet of paper, get a pencil or pen, seat yourself at the desk, sharpen the pencil. You get the idea, yes? Checking these off are a series of tiny successes that can grease the wheel of momentum.