Time management Monday: How to plan when you have no motivation

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A friend of mine has a very demading job, and lately by the time she gets home from work she is completely drained mentally, physically, and emotionally. Recently she posted a question online asking how people plan and get anything done when you’re drained of all motivation. She got a lot of interesting and helpful replies.

Lack of motivation can happen for lots of reasons: burnout, depression, anxiety, overwhelm, illness, injury, etc. First of all, if you have been lacking motivation for awhile and/ or are feeling depressed, please seek help. This post is in no way a substitite for that.

But at some point in our lives, most people have a time when they lose motivation and don’t have the interest or energy to crank through their to-do list.

My advice to my friend was, when I get this way I do some serious prioritization. I’m a working parent and I volunteer and have other responsibilities, so I have a lot on my plate. If I’m feeling overwhelmed or wiped out, I look at my schedule and my task lists and get ruthless about what really needs to be done (and when), and what can wait until I’m up to it. If it’s not going to burn down (literally or figuratively) if it doesn’t get done right away, I leave it.

I make sure all the living organisms in the household (and there are a lot) have healthy food to eat. I make sure the kitchen and bathroom are relatively hygienic, and that everyone has clothes to wear. I pay the bills on time, and get my paid work done. Anything that is optional and non-urgent gets put on the back burner. If I don’t get the floor swept today (or tomorrow), I really don’t care. I know people who wear themselves out thinking they have to constantly keep up on every detail. You don’t. You really don’t. Look at it. Will it burn down? If not, leave it.

Other excellent advice she received on her post:

Joshua L said when he feels this way, he does one thing. Pay one bill, wash the dishes, do one load of laundry. Sometimes it motivates him to keep going, sometimes it doesn’t. At the very least he has done something productive, which makes him feel better and keeps him on track.

Several people commented that when they feel this way, it’s time for some serious self-care. Sometimes the best thing to do is NOT to do the things. Let it go, and take care of yourself instead. Sleep in, switch off, and do whatever helps you recharge.

Other helpful advice she received from several people is to have buddies (at work or in your personal life) who remind you when it’s time to go home to relax and recharge, when to switch off, and just to laugh with. Don’t sequester yourself when you’re feeling down. Even though you might not feel like it right now, reaching out to other people will help you feel better.

What are some ways you manage to plan, get things done, and/ or recharge when you’re feeling down?

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