Friday, March 16, 2012

Procrastination Series

Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes. -- Hal Roach

Rita is a wonderful guest author at SlantedK

So often, when I'm presenting a Keynote at a conference or leading a training seminar, people ask "How do I motivate myself to do something I hate to do?"
The answer is: You don’t.
Oh sure, there a tips that help. Play upbeat music while you clutter bust your place. Chat on the phone while stuffing marketing material into envelopes or loading the dishwasher. But those just help to ease the boredom or pain, they don't actually motivate you to do the dreaded task.
So here's the secret.
Come up with a reward that means A WHOLE LOT to you, and THAT becomes your motivation. For example, I start off each day getting the worst -- the most disliked -- job out of the way. It might be paperwork or making a dreaded phone call or writing a proposal.
Here's my reward system: I have one coffee before I get to my desk. BUT that second cup is my reward, and I don't get it till I complete whatever that first task is. I might NEVER be motivated to do that paper work or make that call, but you have to know that second cup motivates me to get almost any job done.
My friend Georgia treats herself to a long distance call to her best friend as soon as she hits her goal in cleaning the house. Georgia says she may never WANT to clean her house, but she WANTS so badly to talk to her friend that the thought of that call gets her to accomplish anything.
Bob, a salesman who travels, used to procrastinate about his expense reports each week because he simply did not like paperwork. Now his goal is to turn in that report before the end of each Friday and if he does NOT complete it, then he does not allow himself to watch TV that night. Absolutely none. Doesn't even let himself turn on the news. Bob says that this reward system has taught him self-discipline.

When he began, he didn't think there was ANYTHING that would get him to stop his procrastination. Then he decided to try the reward system. At first, Bob didn't allow himself to have dessert when he failed to hand in his report. BUT when he DID complete the task, he treated himself to a special hot fudge sundae.
His organizational skills increased and his cash flow increased and sadly, so did his weight. Then he started thinking of what he called "his self-discipline muscle". Just like working out at a gym, you might start off feeling weak, but the more you work at it, the stronger you become. And he knew the more he used a reward, the more disciplined he would become. So he simply changed his reward to TV.
He feels that now he might not need the reward system anymore because organizing his receipts and handing in his expense report has become a habit, but he is not willing to risk sliding back into his old procrastinating ways.
Bob says, "I don't think I will ever be able to motivate myself to WANT to do paperwork. So I really need a reward that I want so badly, I will do any hated task. And relaxing in front of the TV at the end of a week works for me, it is something I really want to do, and I hate it if I don't allow myself to because I didn't reach my goal."
What works for you? Right now, pick out something you've been putting off and think of a reward that you want badly enough that you will force yourself to do your goal. If one reward doesn't work, try another.
Right now, start the habit of selecting a reward that means SO much to you that it actually motivates you to do those things you would never be motivated to do.

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       Rita Emmett is a "Recovering Procrastinator", a Professional Speaker, and best-selling author of The Procrastinator’s Handbook;  and The Clutter-Busting Handbook.
For more articles on this subject, go to
Rita can be reached at 847-699-9950  or
      To subscribe to her free monthly “Anticrastination Tip Sheet” with quick short tips & ideas to help break the procrastination habit, go to the first page of her website

“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.”
George Edward Woodberry

Thanks for stopping in, eh.
Have a Great Day!

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