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  • Motivation on a bottle

    I finished cleaning up my first time inbox. It does feel good.
    I have a clean and up to date waiting, maybe and next action list.

    But today, I cannot get myself to do any of them.
    I look at them and I dread them all. I feel blah.
    Not even the really easy ones that would take me less than 5 minutes to do and complete.

    I figure I'll lay low today, maybe it is just bad wave.

    Do you ever have that problem? Any advice?

  • #2
    There could be a lot of things going on here. To help us out with the diagnosis, if you wouldn't mind, could you post a couple of your Next Actions here? It's an easy thing to get slightly wrong in many different ways.


    Cheers,
    Roger

    Comment


    • #3
      oh, certainly! You give me hope

      I have 33, a few are:
      1.- Call bank to start talking about retirement options
      2.- Cancel subscription to food magazine
      3.- Make a list of topics to talk about with husband
      4.- Buy sunglasses
      5.- Call dentist to get appointment (I have the number and everything)
      6.- Get a google number
      7.- Call cell provider to fix issue with visual voicemail
      8.-Upload pictures on electronic picture frame for mom

      That is a very varied sample, what do you think?

      Comment


      • #4
        My key question would be

        Do you have all of the information you need to take these actions?

        If not, there's a good chance you don't have the next action nailed, so some part of you is resisting what you are seeing as failure. Drill down to the next action and/or make sure some of these aren't projects.

        Or/

        You just don't feel like doing any of these. In which case, wait until you do. There's always tomorrow.

        Comment


        • #5
          Those are some pretty solid Next Actions for the most part, so that's good to see.

          When to comes to motivation, one of the tricks that works for me is using something like the Natural Planning Model.

          So, starting with, say, "Upload pictures on electronic picture frame for mom", follow the steps. Envision the outcome. So I imagine my mother, and I'm giving her the frame with all these great pictures on it, and wow is she ever happy about it. I know it sounds kinda cheesy on this level, but I find that's where a lot of my motivation comes from.

          Brainstorming may or may not have gotten a bit shortchanged here; it's hard to say. What do I need to do to make that outcome a reality? Well, there's...
          * buy photoframe. Go to Wal-Mart and buy one.
          * but I should decide how much money I want to spend on it, roughly
          * open it up and plug it into my computer
          * look at pictures I have that she might like. Start newest to oldest. Decide to select, I dunno, 10 pictures.
          * copy those pictures into a Mom's Frame folder
          * "Upload pictures to frame for mom"
          * re-wrap frame; I guess I should probably get a card for her too (add to Wal-Mart list)
          * put package by door so I don't forget to take it over to her

          Those aren't really in any sort of order right now or anything, and that's fine. I don't know how far along you are with those steps either; there's a chance some of them are pre-requisite actions lurking behind Upload Photos and that can be peculiarly demoralizing on a mysterious level.

          After that, if I still don't feel like doing it... well, that's okay, maybe. At least I'm at a better point to decide whether it's okay to not do it right now or not.

          Hope that helps a bit.


          Cheers,
          Roger

          Comment


          • #6
            I thought it said *in* a bottle

            I first read the thread title as motivation in a bottle.

            Which I can certainly understand. I must admit that sometimes I get motivated and creative after beer, scotch etc.

            However,

            Yes some days it's just blah and hard to get going. Yesterday we spent 6 hours doing major decluttering and cleaning in the garage with a friend to help us. Rest of the day and most of today has been recovery.

            Perhaps after getting things in you just need a break before you tackle the doing?

            OTOH I also agree with the folks who said to check the next actions to be sure they are really the very next action to take.

            From your list I wouldn't consider those items listed as next actions.

            The call bank one. I'd have to first get the name of the retirement planning person at bank.

            The call to cancel a magazine I'd have to list find the account number for magazine subscription X followed by find the phone number for the customer service to get me moving on it as I hate to do that sort of stuff.

            Topics for hubby is an area of focus for me not even a project and certainly not a next action. What topics? On what part of life? What's not working that you need to talk about? Or is this a talking because things are working well? Way too undefined for me, I'd have to really think about that one to get it to a next action.

            Buy sunglasses might be a next action, or for me it might really be a project to locate ones I like, check out several stores, talk to eye doctor about any special issues I need to worry about etc. If it's really a next action I'd see it on my shopping list under all the stores I can buy them at.

            Call dentist might be a next action but it's not defined. Why are you calling? for a toothache? for yourself for a cleaning apt? to get a copy of records for some other dentist? Not enough info there for me to do the action, apt. is insufficient data for me to make the call so I'd avoid it.

            Get google number is also not enough info from my POV. Mostly because I don't even know what you are talking about there.

            Call Cell provider seems like a good next action to me, defined what for and who you need to talk to, assuming you have the number and know what is going wrong so you can talk to the tech support folks ok. Big issue for me would be context. I'd need to be sure I was in a quiet place, with all my tools and a note pad and time to deal with it. I avoid those because of the time it takes not any other reason.

            Upload pictures might not be enough. Do you have the cable already? Is it attached to your computer and accessible? Do you have the frame? Any SW updates required? Do you know where the pictures are you want to upload? Are they all in the right format, file type, size, aspect ratio, resolution, color balance etc?

            Take another look and see if they really are next actions for you or not.

            Comment


            • #7
              Maybe your lists are telling you: "Your life sucks. Change me."

              Comment


              • #8
                I read it wrong too

                I read it as "in a bottle" too, Oogie! I guess that shows us where our heads are!

                Where's the bar!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have days like that

                  I have days like you describe. No matter how simple the actions I need to do, I just don't want to do them. The day starts to slip away and I then I add some guilt to that "blah" feeling and it's a "bad day" all around.

                  One thing that does help me: I pick something...ANYTHING...and set a timer. I work for just 15 minutes and then I take a ten minute break. Then I set the timer for 20 minutes and again take a 10 minute break.

                  This may not be the most productive way to spend a day, but usually I'll get into something and keep going after a few tries. If not, I'll just keep setting the timer and taking breaks. At the end of the day, at least you may not have a big load of guilt to deal with. Yes, tomorrow is another day. But a body in motion tends to stay in motion and a body at rest tends to stay at rest. I like to break the cycle as soon as I can.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hello,

                    Yes it is a typo, I meant to say motivation *in* a bottle. And wouldn't that be a fantastic thing to have?

                    I believe my tasks have a very good level of detail, I don't write it all on the name becasue I know what they refer to and the detail is on the notes for the task (I use RTM Remember the Milk)

                    Picture for mom, yes, I have everything set, "all" I need to do is to sit in front of pc, inserd the card and drag pictures from folder called "for mom". Extract card and insert on picture frame.

                    Some I dread because, for example, getting a dentist appointment means I will go to the dentist which is not something I enjoy. My dentist is great and he uses the laughing gas, but I don't like that experience anyway. And this one I cannot delegate!
                    Dealing with phone issues not my favorite hobby, even though my provider's customer service is great.
                    Buy sunglases, I know where I'll get them, I just don't like shopping.

                    hmm, a pattern is emerging. it seems I have several next actions which are just not fun, plus many are "overdue" so I feel kinda guilty about them.

                    I think I can benefit from Roger's envisioning of the outcome and Barb's 15 minute approach.
                    Plus, yes some days are just blah, today looks brighter.

                    Thank you everybody.
                    __
                    Oogiem, with Google voice you can get a free phone number of any area code and have it ring on any phone you want.It takes 5 minutes. I need to give my landlonrd a "local" number so I can open the gate for visitors, my cell is not considered local. Google voice has many more applications. I wrote google number becaue I knew what it was about.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Brighter!

                      Glad today looks brighter for you! Go get 'em!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re:

                        > Picture for mom, yes, I have everything set, "all" I need to do
                        > is to sit in front of pc, inserd the card and drag pictures from
                        > folder called "for mom". Extract card and insert on picture
                        > frame.

                        This one sounds to me like you don't want to do it. If it were me, my Mom would be playing helpless and refusing to do something that she could very well do, and I'd not want to enable that helplessness by doing it for her. I'm not saying that's why you don't want to do it, it's just why _I_ wouldn't want to do it, and I might very well just decide not to do it. I might decide that if Mom wants pictures, Mom can learn to use her email and her picture frame. Especially since, if it were my mother, she'd find a way to criticize the task, once done.

                        I have a very similar task for my mother that's been pending for probably six months. It's a task that I wouldn't have had to do if she hadn't played helpless, and while now What's Done Is Done and she can't do it herself (the object needed for it was mailed to me and is in my house, so at the least I have to mail it back), I'm resentful at having to spend a couple of hours doing it. So I don't. The appropriate thing for me to do is to mail the thing back and tell her to deal with it herself. I'll no doubt do that eventually.

                        > Some I dread because, for example, getting a dentist appointment
                        > means I will go to the dentist which is not something I enjoy. My
                        > dentist is great and he uses the laughing gas, but I don't like
                        > that experience anyway. And this one I cannot delegate!

                        For this kind of thing, I chop up the task into infinitesimally small pieces, not because I don't understand it, but because I know I'll stall, so I structure the stall. I make each step so tiny and painless that I can't justify skipping it.

                        So "make appointment for annual physical" might include:

                        - Make computer file for information re physical appointment.
                        - Talk to SO about our schedule.
                        - Figure out appropriate times for possible annual physical appointment and add to computer file.
                        - Get doctor's number and add to computer file.
                        - Call doctor's office and make appointment.

                        I give each of these tasks a _week_, and when I make the appointment, I make it at least a month in the future. And, yes, this does mean that I need to start planning on making my appointment for the next physical, at least a couple of months before hand. I'm not this elaborate with most unpleasant tasks, but I have a special problem with doctors.

                        But I do a lighter version of this with a lot of somewhat anxious tasks. I get the anxiety-free prep out of the way, as a separate task from the actual task. That way, if I feel brave I don't waste any brave time on that prep work, and even if I don't feel brave, I have fewer ways to stall on doing the actual task.

                        > Buy sunglases, I know where I'll get them, I just don't like
                        > shopping.

                        Amazon? If you don't like the task, is there any way to recast it so that it's more tolerable?

                        Gardener

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks Gardener! Makes sense.

                          I love these strategies, will try them out!


                          Side note: mom lives overseas, the picture frame is my way to send her pictures. After she has the picture frame with the first ones I can send subsequent cards with fresher ones.
                          Shipping such as small item will be cheaper than sending her the printouts.

                          (She doesn't have internet available where she lives and she wants to see her grandson, I think the ones she has are over 8 months old and he is just a toddler).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Are they projects?

                            Hey all

                            i would agree the next actions arent as solid as they could be. If i was in that situation i would be thinking about turning them into projects.

                            BUT when i choose something to turn into a project i always have a threshold of complexity and resistance. Let me explain.

                            Buy sunglasses.
                            Clearly this could be a simple next action of picking up a pair next time you're in town. You choose on the day.
                            On the other hand you may want to research whether you want ck or d&g. You may want to find the best online price. Find out if you can source them locally. You may need rx ones do you need an eye check.
                            The first is a next action to me, anything more than a couple of tasks in this simple example would indicate project.

                            Thats right. More than a couple of Simple tasks. Not just more than one.

                            If however something just isnt getting done. Eg i wasnt buying those sunglasses i would look why. Eg i want to try a pair on first before ordering online i'd turn this into a project.

                            So i think what i am trying to say is make GTD work for you. Just because more than 1 na is needed doesnt necessarily mean you create a project. But just be mindful that if a na isnt getting done its either not well worded or may actually need a project.

                            Sievert

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Where one line can change your thinking...

                              Originally posted by Gardener View Post
                              For this kind of thing, I chop up the task into infinitesimally small pieces, not because I don't understand it, but because I know I'll stall, so I structure the stall. I make each step so tiny and painless that I can't justify skipping it.
                              'Structure the Stall'. Genius.

                              For me - this will probably be more of a drive to define the next action on a number of projects than being easily able to identfy what's next.

                              Thank you

                              Comment

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