Oct 7, 2020

How to Make Yourself Do Stuff (When You Don't Feel Like Doing Stuff)

Today, we're revisiting a post about ways to leap into action from January 2019, because I'm feeling sluggish. I can easily identify the causes for my feelings, all pandemic-related.

I've mostly been cooped up in the house. I've barely seen my friends. I haven't seen my parents (and I'm an only child). My children are home, so in some respects, it feels like all I do is make meals and do dishes and laundry. A substantial part of my sluggishness relates to house-cleaning.

We've talked about the sixth month wall, and the way through it seems to involve a lot of self-care. In my case, that means a lot of down time - reading, playing video games, cooking, and even crocheting.

But the house isn't going to clean itself. Masks aren't going to sew themselves. These posts aren't going to write themselves.

So I'm turning to tips I shared last year that have helped pushed me into motion in the past. I might not get everything on my to-do list crossed out, but it's a win if I get even a few of them done. I hope they help you, too!

Quick Ways to Leap into Action
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- Use the 2-minute rule and start by doing an activity that takes 2 minutes or less but helps you build momentum. For example, if you need to make dinner, start by doing something that takes less than 2 minutes, like washing the lettuce for the salad. (Read more about the 2-minute rule at JamesClear.com.)

- Listen to upbeat music. We all have our favorites, but some of mine include Timber, Can't Stop the Feeling, Fix and Shut Up and Dance.

- Pair another activity. Let yourself do something you want to do with something you don't feel like doing. For example, I listen to my favorite podcasts while I'm vacuuming.

- Do some jumping jacks, pushups or yoga. Sometimes all you need to do is get the blood flowing.

- Just do one thing. This is similar to the first tip, in that hopefully you'll build momentum, but even if you don't, at least you got one thing done. For example, I often tell myself I just have to clean the downstairs bathroom - it's small, so it takes less than ten minutes, but I always feel like I really accomplished something when I'm done.

- Call or text a friend. Sometimes we just need some encouragement. Kids are actually pretty good at this, especially younger ones. I'm finding that teens are a whole different story. But once your child encourages you to do something, you really can't say no.

- Enlist a buddy. Usually this means someone who lives with you, like your spouse, roommate or child, since they're right there and can do an activity with you. But friends who aren't in your immediate vicinity can work too - maybe you can both vacuum, and then report back to each other. (If you're now thinking that my least favorite things to do involve cleaning the house, you'd be correct.)

- Think about giving a gift to your future self. Sometimes knowing how happy you'll be in the future that you accomplished a task now is enough to get you going.

- Keep a running to-do list. Crossing things off a to-do list is gratifying, sometimes disproportionately so.

- Think of three things you're grateful for. Nothing changes improves an attitude faster than gratitude. Remembering the good things in your life can give you a huge energy boost.

How do you get yourself going when you feel lethargic?

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