Starting & Stopping & Starting Again

I have a terrible habit.  

My motivation habits seem to rise and fall like storm clouds. One minute, inspiration fills me to my brim and bursts out of me like a bolt of thunder, and the next it slowly rolls away from me like thunder tumbling across a cloudy sky.  

I have big dreams and just can’t seem to move them past a certain point. I start, then stop, then start again.

I beat myself up for procrastinating. There are so many things I want to and need to do and I keep pushing them aside. I blame my lack of action on a lack of time or lack of resources to do a “good job.”

Sound familiar? Preach, sister.

Let me spread some advice sprinkles on your life cupcake.

I recently finished reading Mel Robbins book, The Five Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work and Confidence with Everyday Courage.

If you’re not familiar with Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule, here’s the gist:

When you’re facing a moment where you’re stalling – you’re deciding whether or not to go to the gym, you’re debating hitting the snooze, whatever – you count down from five.

5-4-3-2-1 and then you GO. Physical movement. Move in the direction of where you need to go. Get your butt out of bed, grab your gym shoes and start running.

 

While Mel’s book talks at length about the science behind the need for the five second rule, but what I want to focus on is another topic within her book – the logic behind procrastination and motivation.

Mel explains that procrastination is not a form of laziness. It’s a coping mechanism for stress. We procrastinate to cope with the stress of the work that we have on our plates. The more stressed we are, the easier it is to procrastinate.

Think of everything that requires your attention in a day – your work, your family, your home, your passions. Each of these things is taxing and requires your time and attention.

If you’re like me, you may have all of these things on your plate. You may see three of these things as being non-negotiable priorities.

            I need to work to make money.

                        I need to care for my children so they don’t grow up to be assholes.

                                    I need to keep my house neat and clean so we can continue to live in it for years to come.

The first thing I always procrastinate on is my passions. I start, I stop, I start, I stop.

 How do we combat this?

 Mel Robbins suggestion in her book is simple – plan your time.  

Are you familiar with Parkinson’s Law? It’s the concept that your tasks or work will expand to fit the time you give them.

Need to write a 500 word essay in an hour? It will take you an hour.

Need to write a 500 word essay in a week? Guess when you’ll do it – slowly over the course of a week.

If you’re struggling with the endless start/stop of pursuing your passions, start every morning by planning your day. What time are you going to stop working today? When can you carve out 30 minutes for some passion projects?  

In essence, set a deadline for everything within your day. Having a deadline will make you way more intentional with the time that you have. It will make you more productive.

Got any other tips to help you stay motivated? Share them with me in the comments below!