One of the biggest stumbling blocks to getting things done is motivation, or, more accurately, the lack of it.
So how do you get motivated to do things, particularly things you have to do but don't want to do?
There are three key areas where time management and motivation relate closely to each other:
Stop reading this for a minute and make a list of all the things you have to do today. Next to each task on your list put 10 if know you will do it, 1 if you know you won’t or any number in between according to how you feel.
Okay, so now you have a rough idea of just how motivated you are to do each task.
How can you get each one to a ‘10’? In other words, how can you ensure you actually do what needs to be done today?
There are three ways:
Make the task easier until it no longer appears too threatening
Pick one task from your list - can you make the task easier or break it down and do a chunk of it?
Ideally tasks are completed in one go, but sometimes it’s worth sacrificing the efficiency of completion for the effectiveness of action. And you can always come back to it.
Go for a ‘Quick Win’
For some people the very act of crossing off a task on their to-do list is a stepping stone to bigger things. This is especially true for things on your list that get you up and moving.
Pick a small task and use the power of momentum to get the ball rolling and move on to the harder stuff,
Work to limits
Imagine you had one hour to complete your list - could you?
We tend to fill the time we have available so time boxing can be an effective way to do the ‘have-to’s’ on your list.
The same is true for the number of tasks you have - many people have a never ending to-do list. If you know how to plan yours you will feel far more in control and motivated to do the tasks.
It’s not so much the motivation that is the issue but the creeping nature of all the other things in your life that prevent you from doing what is important but not necessarily urgent.
You’ve got to create proper pockets of time to do what you want. I find that 30 minutes is usually the absolute minimum for getting stuck into the things done that I want to do.
And sometimes (actually, often), you find yourself doing this before you have taken care of the ‘have-to’s. And that is perfectly okay. Fitting the task to the time is good for time management and motivation.
You won’t improve your ability to manage your time until you are ready to do so.
Books, websites, courses and coaching can all raise your awareness of issues, but you need to have a good enough reason to do it.
If you have a lot of commitments on your plate and you believe that you don’t manage your time very well, you are probably ready to do something about it. You value each minute.
On the other hand, you may feel that you have too much time at your disposal, in which case you are still looking for the motivation to get things done.
Whatever your situation time management and motivation levels go hand in hand. Your willingness to get better at managing your time is the single biggest factor that will dictate how well you actually do it.
Once you want to change, the only question is ‘how?’