It’s no secret that since I found out I was pregnant on January 17th my motivation has been seriously lacking. I’m not talking about motivation to run – that’s still there as strong as ever. I’m talking about motivation to do anything else: school work, grad work, daily household chores, errands, etc. The biggest struggle for me has been my grad work. After a long day at work, the last thing I want to do is sit down to read a textbook, work on a paper, or study. I find that I have the most energy in the morning, and when I get home from school at 4 p.m. I am pretty much DONE for the day and can kiss my productivity goodbye. It doesn’t help that I have a horrible attention span and get bored very easily.
Unfortunately, all of these responsibilities don’t just magically disappear and they must get done somehow. I have had to figure out creative ways to do this- including playing games with myself. This strategy is not new. I’ve talked before about how I play games during long runs to beat boredom. However, since then I have discovered that if I trick my mind and make deals with myself I am much more productive in getting things done as well!
I do this all the time in my daily life, and I just now realized that maybe I should share it on my blog because I’m not sure if I’m weird or other people do this too. Here is the most recent example. I had a research paper due this past Thursday and I had my Reading Specialist certification exam on Saturday. Last weekend I was consumed with my sister-in-law’s bridal shower and other responsibilities, and I didn’t have much time to work on the paper or study. Once the workweek began I was completely overwhelmed with having to work AND get these two huge tasks completed. I really tried to work diligently in the evenings after work but I wasn’t doing well and would end up falling asleep on the couch. Since I cannot use my normal trick (coffee) right now, I had no idea what to do. I couldn’t sleep at all Wednesday night because I was so stressed out about everything and woke up Thursday feeling sick. So I did something I NEVER do… I took the day off from work.
I was determined to make the most of my day off and not sleep all day like I really wanted to. This is where the mind games came into the picture. I am a planner and I work best when I know exactly what I’m doing and how long I need to do it for. I wrote myself a schedule and I planned breaks and rewards into it in between the hard stuff I had to do. Just like the little kids I teach, I need incentives to get stuff done! My schedule looked like this:
- 8:00 – 10:30 Work on paper
- 10: 30 – 11:30 Run
- 11: 30 – 12:00 Lunch
- 12:00 – 12:15 Shower
- 12:15 – 12:30 Laundry
- 12: 30 – 2:30 Study for test
- 2:30 – 4:00 Target
I motivated myself to finish my paper by promising myself I could run afterwards. This worked really well and I was super productive. My paper was finished and submitted before 10:30 am! I went for my run and gave myself a little break to rest my brain. I ate lunch, showered, and got some laundry done. Then it was back to work to study for the test. I planned to study for two hours, and I was motivated by telling myself I could go to Target to pick up some new maternity clothes (!!!) and some birthday gifts for friends. Again, this worked beautifully and I got in two quality hours of study time before going to the store. After I got home from Target my brain was done for the day. We made dinner, I went to Body Pump, and then I crashed. I felt good knowing I was so productive and made the most of my day. And guess what? I slept like a baby that night, feeling relieved and stress-free. I also got a 100% on my paper and left my test feeling like I did well, although I won’t know my score for 4 weeks.
I guess the point of this post is that sometimes in order to get things done you have to play games and tricks on yourself. Rewards and incentives aren’t just for little kids – they work well for pregnant women (or pretty much everyone) too! 🙂
Do you play games and mind tricks with yourself to get things accomplished or am I the only one?