Friday, September 6

"Just Do It" | 5 Ways to Stay Motivated

I think Nike came up with a very simple, yet effective, slogan for their company. The phrase "just do it", as it relates to sports, implies that you stop delaying, slacking, complaining, dragging your feet and just do it already.

While I'm definitely lacking in the area of exercising, I have tried applying that to another part of my life. I like to call them "the ugh items".

We all have them.

We try our best to avoid them but they keep making themselves visible.

When I bump into these items, it's awkward and uncomfortable and I usually end up saying something like "Yeeeah maybe later."

But there's a brief moment right after bumping into the item and just before deciding to push it aside for another time, I say to myself "ugh...".

Some days, it's the double sink filled piled overflowing with dishes. 
Other days, it's all of Little Man's toys that need to be fixed, yet they still lie there piling up on my workspace. 
Then there's the sticky who-knows-what-that-mess-is on the floor. 
The splattered water stains accumulating on the bathroom mirror. 
The dust bunnies making settled colonies on all my flat surfaces. 
The trail of ants who are apparently using Platform 9 3/4 to get into my house because I have no idea where they are coming from.

Sometimes I like to make excuses for why I don't tackle the problems.  "You pick your battles..." use to be my go-to motto. Then I realized, I wasn't even picking one battle. I had retreated to merely waving my white "I surrender" flag to all my ugh items as I sighed, "Maybe later..."

With every surrender I was simply guaranteeing that I would run into this battle tomorrow...and the next day...and the next...

One day, as I was sitting at my desk, I glanced over at some of Little Man's toys that needed repairing. "Ugh...," I exhaled as I turned my gaze away from the toys, so as not to see them even in my peripheral. Then I had some sudden moment of inspiration. I realized that I could fix these toys right here, right now. Everything I needed was right there at my desk. This day, victory will be mine, all ye broken toys! (ok..maybe I'm dramatizing it a little bit, but I was feeling very triumphant).

Then something remarkable happened. Once I accomplished that task, I felt energized to do the next thing. So I pressed on until I reached a stopping point. I must say, walking through my house with a lot less "ugh" items lying around taunting me made for a much more enjoyable experience.

Today, I'm going to share with you the 5 pieces of advise that I've gleaned from others and continually remind myself of when I'm faced with tasks that I just really don't want to do, but they still need to be done.

  1. Mark Twain once said, "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day." Translation: When you're ready to start your day, after you've had your morning cup of coffee and quiet time, do the one thing you least want to do first. That way, it's behind you and you don't dread it for the rest of the day.
  2. Maybe you're lacking the motivation to get started, period. You're glancing at your list as you scroll through your Facebook feed. If you're your own boss, that means you are the one that has to set the pace for yourself. To make this pace a little more audible, set a timer for 30 minutes and don't stop working until you hear that timer go off. You'll be surprised at how much you can get accomplished. 
  3. One year in college, I was sitting at a coffee shop with my friend just chatting. She was talking about how much she hated when it came time to clean up her room and bathroom because it took forever. She made the comment that her roommate's room was always orderly and it hardly took her anytime to straighten it up. "So what's her secret?" I asked. My friend replied, "She said she just straightens it up when she sees it needs to be done." For example, when she finished with her hair dryer, she immediately tucked it back away in it's place. If a few dishes were in the sink and needed to be cleaned, she went and washed the dishes as soon as she saw them. When you see that something needs to be done, do it. Each task only takes a few minutes of your time. However, if you let those tasks add up...well...minutes become hours and that's no fun.
  4. I was so thankful when another close friend and mentor of mine introduced me to the poem, "Do the Next Thing" by Elisabeth Elliot. I instantly clung to the truth that is written in that poem. Often times, the mundane and the top-priority items on our to-do list all get mixed together into one big, looming, overwhelming black cloud of stress. It seems that everything needs to be done but it can't all be done at once. You start questioning if there are really 24 hours in your day because it sure seems to zip by rather quickly. It's easy to get busy and not know which way to turn. When you feel that way, simply do the next thing that comes your way. Trust the rest to the Lord and have confidence that He will give you time to do the things that need to be done.
  5. Don't forget to do the things you want to do. There's no need to burn yourself out or feel like you can't do the things you enjoy because it might take away time that you could be getting things done for others. Take time to rest and recharge. Celebrate the things you did get accomplished and don't ponder about all that still needs to be done. Maybe you take a break for a whole day or maybe you set aside 30 minutes for every 2 hours of productivity. The way you enjoy yourself is up to you, just make sure you make time for it. 

I want to hear from you. What 'motivational techniques' do you use to stay productive during the day? Is there any advice that was given to you at some point that has stuck with you ever since? Do any of you have some 'ugh items' sitting around your house right now? Leave a comment!

Update 9/25/2013: A friend of mine sent me the link to a great article after she read this post. Some more great advice on this topic can be found here: Sweat the Small Stuff


  1. Thank you SO much for sharing these wonderful tips to stay motivated. I for sure have a lot of "ugh" moments myself. Lately I find myself constantly doing something and never have time to sit and relax. Some days I need a chill pill!
    Thanks for sharing at the Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop! Have a wonderful day!


    1. Thanks for commenting Katie :-) I'm definitely a "busy body" too. I read this great article over at Time Warp Wife about quality time being found in unexpected moments. It was a great reminder for me:


  • I struggle with this same thing... putting stuff off because I don't want to deal with it only to deal with an even bigger task later. Great tips, and I love the Twain quote! I just heard that for the first time within the last week or so, and I love that I'm seeing it again here (maybe the universe is trying to tell me something lol). Thanks for linking up at the Lovely Ladies Linky :)

    1. You know, I've found that I'm even MORE productive now that I wrote a post about it, haha. It kind of holds me accountable I suppose. I don't know if we would be great at holding each other accountable, we sound too much alike. If you said "I don't feel like doing this," I would probably say "Just leave it. Let's go get coffee!" :-)

      Thanks for being such a great co-host and stopping by!


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