Positively Present Picks : January 12, 2018
Positively Present Picks : January 19, 2018

Keep Moving Forward: 5 Steps to Get Going


MLK-Positively-Present

 

Lately I've been struggling a lot with motivation. There are so many things I want to do and make (and be!), and I've gotten to that point where I feel so overwhelmed that, instead of taking action, I just want to lie down, throw the covers over my head, and do nothing. (And, of course, whenever I do that, I feel guilty and terrible and even more overwhelmed.)

Indecisive about wanted to write about this week, I was sitting here (very unproductively watching endless episodes of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee) and it occurred to me that maybe this struggle — the frustration and disappointment that comes with feeling overwhelmed and, rather than tackling the tasks, doing nothing instead — is exactly the thing I should be writing about. So, rather than write about what I've done, as I often do, I'm writing today about what I plan to do to take small steps to make positive progress! 

 

STEP 1 : ACCEPT WHERE YOU ARE

The first step to tackling any problem, I've found, is acceptance, and I think that's quite true in this situation. First and foremost, I've got to accept where I am instead of frantically worrying about what haven't yet done or fretting uselessly about what I want to accomplish. The complaining and worrying and freaking out is (clearly!) doing no good, so I've got to start by accepting where I am — much as I dislike this particularly unclear and frazzled time in my life. Once I begin to realize that this is where I am (and remember that it's not where I'll be forever!), I bet I'll be able to feel just a tad less overwhelmed and a bit more able to take on what needs to be done. 

 

STEP 2 : USE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE

This step is actually what made me finally sit down and start writing. I was struggling and then I thought to myself, Why not try working backwards? Instead of writing and then creating an image for the blog post, why not look at the images you've recently created and see if you're inspired by any of them? Of course, the first one I spotted was the one I made for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — and the perfect prompt to remind me that, wherever I am, I can get started using what I have. I might have some limitations at the moment — both physical and mental — but I still have a lot that I can work with! 

 

STEP 3 : MAKE A (SHORT!) LIST

I'm a chronic list maker (could you tell from my listicle blog posts? ha!), but the older I get, the more I notice that lists aren't always as productive as I think they are. Sometimes, as I mentioned, I look at that long list of to-do tasks and feel so overwhelmed I just snap my iPad shut and avoid them all together. This week I'm going to try making short, specific lists. Rather than something vague like "write next week's blog post" it'll be "write 5 tips about X." Getting specific and direct with my lists might (hopefully!!) me take more action. 

 

STEP 4 : DO THE HARD STUFF FIRST

We all have limited amounts of will power that apparently diminish over the course of a day, which means it's important to get the stuff you really don't want to do out of the way first. I've recently gotten into the habit of starting my days out slow and working more later in the day, but this week I'm aiming to get back on a get-up-and-get-to-work schedule, tackling the tasks I dislike first so that it's more likely I'll get them done. 

 

STEP 5 : TRY DIFFERENT METHODS

Staying motivated, particularly if you feel like you don't have access to the tools or mindsets you need, is challenging (which is why there are tons of books on productivity). One method that worked for me for awhile was keeping a "Done" lists alongside my "To-Do" list, where I'd  track what I'd accomplished — however small! I'm going to revisit that one this week, and explore some other productivity habits (like the Pomodoro Technique, which has always intrigued me). We're all different (and we all change, too!) so it's probably a good idea to explore new methods when in a rut. 

 

Wish me luck as I try to get a handle on this — and feel free to share any ideas or resources in the comments section below. I'd love to know what you do whenever you feel overwhelmed with a mountain of tasks that you've been putting off for months. Advice and resources greatly appreciated! 

 

Taking my own advice, I'm doing one thing that's been on my mind but I've been putting off: finding out what's on your mind! I have so many ideas for this year, but I want to know what you want to see from Positively Present in 2018! Click the link below to take the one-question survey.  

 

TAKE THE ONE QUESTION SURVEY! 

 
Thank you so much!
Can't wait to get create some
wonderful things for you this year!

 

Comments

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Thank you for this post. I just read it and cannot believe how it was exactly what I needed to read at this troubled time in my life. It had me instantly going in the right directions with my thoughts. I love the idea of acceptance and practice and preach it all the time but I needed your reminder to get me back on track. Step#2 I am not doomed. I have so many tools to work with. Step#3 I used to be a list maker but stopped as I found it took me out of present moment awareness and made me feel overwhelmed and unproductive. I could go on and on! But the truth is you gave me a "WAKE UP" call at just the right time. Thank you and good luck on moving forward in your life. I hope knowing that your work helps others will assist you in any of your life struggles.

Good Evening,
I just discovered your post and hope to read more of your writings. Do you have any thoughts on being judgmental? I too, am a Virgo and have a tendency to be critical and judgmental, especially about people. I'd like to improve my open mindedness and could use some positive thoughts.
Thank you,
Ina Jarvis

Derrick - I'm so glad this post came at the right time! And thanks so much for your kind words. It does help to know that my work helps others! :)

Ina - So happy you found Positively Present! Yes, I do have a post on judging and it's one of my most popular! Here it is: http://www.positivelypresent.com/2009/05/stop-judging.html. I hope you find it helpful!

The first paragraph of this post describes me to a T when I'm struggling with motivation! I would add, "do the easy thing" also, since crossing something off the to-do list can be very motivating. Also having something to look forward to once you complete the procrastinate and/or dreaded task(s) can be helpful. I do wish you luck, because I know how hard and frustrating this can be.

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