Are you a procrastinator? If so, you’re not alone! It’s human nature to postpone tasks which you consider to be boring or unpleasant. However, it’s also frustrating when you’re making little or no headway on a project you know needs to get done ASAP.
Whether it’s cleaning out the basement, painting a bedroom, or pruning those overgrown shrubs in front of the house, it can sometimes take a lot of resolve to get the project underway and completed! In most cases, the longer you wait, the harder it is to get started.
Perhaps Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion explains why it’s so difficult to start a project and stick with it: He stated that “A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force.”*
Motivating Yourself to Get Started
So the question is: What kind of “external forces” do we need to overcome procrastination? After all, those closets aren’t going to clean themselves! Well, the following techniques aren’t rocket science, but they can produce the psychological nudge you may require to get that home project started and wrapped up.
- Make a list: If you don’t have a to-do list that you revise and update on a daily basis, then many of your objectives and goals will fall by the wayside. When you commit something to writing and place it high on your list, it has a much stronger likelihood of getting done. Maybe it’s the “squeaky wheel” principle or just the power of suggestion, but when you’re reminded to do something on a daily basis, you almost feel compelled to take action and get the process underway. (The exception to that would be if you’re opposed to doing it for any reason, or you’re being nagged.)
- Invite friends or relatives over: For some people, nothing motivates them to mow the lawn, paint the bathroom, or clean the house more than knowing that company’s coming over in a few days! Since most of us have been conditioned to care about what other people think of us, then why not use that impulse to your advantage? (Maybe that’s the reason some people tidy up before the cleaning person arrives.) Schedule an upcoming dinner party, family gathering, or backyard barbecue, and watch how fast that lingering project gets prioritized, acted on, and completed!
- Announce your intentions: If you tell your spouse, your parents, or your best friend that you’re going to tackle an overdue project, this weekend, then you almost have to do it — or your credibility will be at stake. When you share your intentions with someone else — especially a person whose opinion you care about — you’re taking accountability for your plans. It’s a technique that’s often used for getting started on an exercise program or diet, but it could be equally effective for motivating yourself to fix the back steps or clean the garage.
If you’re having difficulty getting started on household projects, sometimes all you need is a little push from an “external force” to spark that extra bit of motivation.