It took me years to write my first book, OASIS Conversations. It was an ardent goal of mine, yet I always seemed to have other things to do first. Granted, the demands of a young child, elderly parents, a full-time business, and extensive global travel for work kept me occupied. While the desire to write and share the book burned within me, I often found myself waiting for a bolt of inspiration.
Research suggests that roughly 80% of us procrastinate while we wait for the motivation to spur us into action to achieve a goal or get something done. It looks like we have it all backward. If we actually begin to take action, it is then that we garner the motivation and energy to continue working on a task or project. When we procrastinate, we are waiting for motivation or energy to proceed. When we initiate an action rather than procrastinate, we often find the energy and inspiration to proceed. It’s a subtle yet crucial mindset shift.
Envision taking the smallest step in tidying your home, writing a report, or starting a new project. Notice what happens when taking the initial step. I’ve noticed that if I start a project within a short time, I often garner the energy and inspiration to carry it through to completion.
Another element that has helped me to get things done is to be accountable to a friend or colleague. We benefit from extrinsic motivation. For instance, I’ve discovered that knowing I will be sharing my work with a colleague or group can be a powerful motivator. Sometimes, it spurs me into action just in the nick of time. The commitment to someone else can provide the spur of energy to overcome inertia.
I have also found that having a slot marked on my calendar for writing, exercise, or even household chores provides the space and a routine for getting these things done. Of course, setting priorities and putting some things aside have been useful, too.
What strategies have you found to help you to get things done? Your insights and experiences may offer keys to unlocking motivation and productivity that help us progress from waiting for inspiration to actively igniting it.