When you dread having to do a task, you put it off. You probably view it as cumbersome and tedious. However, in many cases, you might actually enjoy the task once you’re doing it. Remind yourself of how you feel while getting stuff done to get the motivation to start.
Photo by Martina.
As advice site Barking Up the Wrong Tree explains, there are two ways to view any task. The “outside view”, which is what the task look like from an outside observer, and the “inside view”, which is what it looks like when you’re doing it. We have a tendency to forget the latter, even if we’ve done that task before. Maybe mowing the lawn looks like a hassle from the outside, but maybe you also enjoy listening to music and getting a workout in on a nice day outside when you’re actually doing it. The task doesn’t look as bad once you’re in it. If you’re struggling to find motivation, take the inside view:
This is the difference between the “inside view” and the “outside view.” But very often when you look at a task — even one you’ve done before — you take the outside view. You forget the emotional component. And so something you may actually enjoy seems like a chore.
I often have to read a few books to prepare for an interview. And sometimes my knee-jerk reaction is the outside view: “I have to read 450 pages before I talk to this person?!? Ugh.” The irony is I love reading when I’m in the midst of it. It’s a total “flow” experience for me. If I don’t remind myself of those positive emotions I feel while reading, I procrastinate because from the outside view it’s “yet another chore I have to do.”
Of course, there may be some tasks that never look good from the inside. Cleaning out the cat litter box comes to mind. Even in those situations, though, you can still find some satisfaction in getting the task done, rather than letting it sit on your plate. If you’re looking for motivation, an easy way to start is to change your perspective on the task at hand.
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