How to motivate yourself

I think most of society is constantly wanting to know how to motivate yourself. How to exercise more, do more house work, work harder, get more organised... there's always a list. So why do we struggle to get motivated? What are we doing instead of the things on our lists? I'll tell you what we're doing... we're doing what we feel like doing. If there is no plan in place, we are running on auto pilot. Of course we are going to naturally do what we feel like doing at the time. So if you struggle to stay on track, how do you change?

1. Find out what you do when you're on "auto pilot"

Ask yourself, what do I always end up doing? Is it Facebook, TV, walking the dog, weeding the garden, cooking, eating... it will be something you enjoy but it may not be important that you do it right at that moment. You may be telling yourself that you're doing something practical, but time you take up here, you lose elsewhere. Then you end up asking how to motivate yourself to get to those other tasks done.

My autopilot is this - working on My Bijou. I love it. I could play with finance spreadsheets all day long, but that wouldn't be the most efficient way to spend my time! 

2. Find out what you hate doing. These things sit on your list forever. Let's call them your "Impossibles"

You know you should do it, but you will think of every other thing you could possibly get done before you get to it and before you know it - the day is over and you're outta time!

3. Make a timetable

Sounds simple. How many of you have made one and stuck to it? I know I've made and ignored a million different time tables, schedules, routines... I think the most important thing here is to be realistic. I recently made a timetable to help find balance between working for a boss, working for myself, looking after a 1 year old, looking after a house, packing orders, shopping, waiting for couriers, visiting the grandmother... the list goes on. If you are not going to wash your curtains every week - Don't put it on the schedule!!! Who are you kidding? If you are not going to walk the dog twice a day - don't waste your time by creating a pretty dream schedule that will become pointless art work on your fridge. Have a good long hard think about what "autopilot" activities are stealing time from your "impossibles". Soon, the question will not be about how to motivate yourself...  the task is booked in, there is no ifs or buts... It is much harder to back out of if your time has already been designated.

Timetable Tips

  • Break up your time so that your "impossibles" are spread out over the week
  • Don't bother clogging up your timetable with too many autopilot activities, remember, you will do these no matter what you write down because you love them
  • Use colours to show different zones or blocks of hours
  • Try to group activities together so that you don't waste time setting up each time. e.g. I have now booked in a "Washing and PUT CLOTHES AWAY day" where the pressure is off me to get any cooking, computer work or cleaning done in this time. Focus on one thing at a time makes for a more productive day!
  • Use my "Work date" ideas to join forces with other mums or family members. Share your timetable with them and try to line up 1 day each week where you meet up and share child minding. Two mums at a work date =  50% free time. Three mums at a work date = 67% free time. 
  • Contact friends who go to the same kids activities and ask to carpool / share driving around. If you take turns each week, you will have a free night once a fortnight.

There are always ways to improve how we spend our time to become more efficient. I think the problem is not always how to motivate yourself, but how to free up more time so that the task is not as stressful or cumbersome. There are too many factors that affect how much free time we have. We need to cut down on wasting time autopiloting something that's not needed for another month so we can put that time towards these "impossible" chores. Doing things more efficiently and setting up a community around you will get you more time to be "motivated".

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