What motivates you? How to convince yourself to do something you dislike

Do you have certain tasks that you dislike, and therefore procrastinate? Today, I would like to help you by sharing three activities that I dislike, and some possible solutions.

1. Task: Vacuuming. Reason I dislike it: Pain.

This is a no-brainer. Oh, I suppose there are some people who enjoy vacuuming because you can see immediate results. But, for me I put off this chore because it is a pain-in-the-neck…literally. So, how does one get around this objection?

Solution: I have two ideas for this one. First, make sure that you have the right tool (my Dad would be so proud). If your tool does not work properly, or is not designed for the job, how will you ever get around to using it? (I guess I just convinced myself that I need to buy a new vacuum.) Second, break down the job into smaller parts. Give yourself permission to do just part of the chore today, and commit to finishing the other part tomorrow. Then, carry out your plan.

Apply this idea to organizing: I see people struggling with organizing when they don’t have the right tools. An organizing tool can be a paper shredder, a large enough file cabinet, or simply a series of shoe boxes that fit in your dresser drawer. I am not suggesting that you need to go out a buy a bunch of bins! But, if you have an area of your home that does not work, think of what tool will help make it easier to maintain.

2. Task: Asking for a favor. Reason I dislike it: imposing on others.

Some people have no difficulty asking others to do something, whether it is a favor or simply contributing to an activity. I get butterflies in my stomach when I have to do this.

Solution: Trade Talents. I am fascinated by the range of talents among my friends. So, why not suggest a trade?

Apply this idea to organizing: Does your garage have things which need to be hauled to the dump? Then, perhaps you have a friend with a truck. Offer to contribute something in trade, such as cooking a week’s worth of freezer meals.

3. Task: Filing. Reason I dislike it: it takes a long time to see the results.

I have heard that there are people who enjoy filing, since they can let their mind wander while they are working. I am not one of those people, however.

Solution: Reward yourself!

Apply this idea to organizing: Set a goal for getting your to-be-filed pile completely finished. Of course, you need the right tools first, such as a shredder to make space in the drawers and the right file cabinet. Then, choose a goal date and a reward. It would look something like this. “I want to get my filing done by the end of May. Then, I will book a spa day (or boating trip, or a day in the city, etc.) with my friend.”

Remember that organizing does not happen in one day. It is an ongoing process. Sometimes, we have to motivate ourselves to get over the hurdles that are stopping us from creating the spaces that are functional and comfortable.

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