Monday, October 12, 2009

(Re)finding motivation

Above my computer, I have a large yellow Post-It with the Zig Ziglar quote "Motivation follows action."

If only it were that simple.

Some people are people of action. Doing things come easily to them, and they don't have to sit and ponder an action for an interminable amount of time. They just do it. Other people -- like me -- are people of words. I like to talk a problem to death. I can talk for hours about why I have trouble writing or exercising or flossing or any of the other things that I don't do as often as I should. But I still don't do them.

The solution? Find a routine and stick to it, no matter what. When I was working in an office, a routine was a snap. I got up at the same time every morning, worked out (usually...), ate breakfast, got dressed and headed to work. Once at my desk, I made myself a cup of tea, perused the day's headlines and checked e-mails. Around 9 am I was ready for actual work and meetings, and I felt like I'd had enough time to warm up to the day and didn't feel stressed -- or I didn't if there hadn't been a pile-up on 65 North that morning. Sometimes there were hiccups -- like when my boss would convene a 7:30 am meeting and throw off my whole day. So flexibility was also key. But my schedule helped me focus for the day and get down to work without feeling rushed.

Now my day looks a lot different. I get up when I feel like it, which some mornings could be 6 or 7 or as late as 8:30. I may or may not eat breakfast, depending on my mood. Some mornings I just must have a certain thing for breakfast, and as I'm trying to lose weight, that thing is usually not in the kitchen. So then I'm grumpy because I have to eat oatmeal. I watch an episode of Golden Girls, lie on the couch long enough to become deeply bored and finally turn on the computer around 10. Then I'm online all day doing... not much of anything. I play around and waste time until it's the afternoon and I have to pretend I've been busy all day when Royal comes home.

Is it any wonder I don't feel motivated? I've trained my mind and body to do as little as possible. Now, I'm all for periods of laziness, and I think it helps to recharge the batteries and refocus. But the human body and brain isn't built for extended periods of extreme ennui. After a while, you kind of stop trying any more. I realized yesterday I hadn't brushed my teeth all day. That's going a bit far, I think. When you work from home, it is absolutely essential to treat each day like a regular work day. Otherwise, it's easy to let the monkey mind take over and sabotage everything.

So, once again, I need to force myself into becoming a person of action. It seems like I go through this over and over again, and it's true. One of these days it's going to stick, I just know it.

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