Motivation Techniques #5:
The Strange Solution

Procrastination can be a difficult bird to deal with and it's best to have some motivation techniques at the ready to cope with your ordeal. When you are putting something off, especially a task you don't have to do, like working on that manuscript or coming up with a new blog post, your brain starts to act like a spoiled child star. She refuses to come out of her tiny trailer unless she gets exactly what she wants. To win such a negotiation with your brain, you may need to come up with a strange solution.

The difference between the cranky kid and your brain is that the child might actually say what will get her working. All your brain is telling you, however, is that wants to watch TV and eat junk food, which isn't much of a compromise at all. You have to use every ounce of your creativity in these situations to force yourself to work.

Sometimes stranding yourself in a location far away from your TV and snacks with nothing to do but work can get your motor running. If you are able to provide yourself with energy yielding healthy foods, your brain might be willing to accept it as a junk substitute. If you listen to some relaxing vocal-free tunes like classical music (or lately I've been listening to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's X-Mas tracks in September) to help you focus enough to do your necessary tasks. If you try those types of all-or-nothing solutions and they still don't work, you may need to compromise with your brain's demands.

Occasionally giving yourself a 20-minute nap can give your brain the chance to be more well-rested and act as a sort of a restart. Go out to a cafe and let yourself have a tasty treat, making sure to have your work close by after the first bite. Depending on what it is you're doing, you may even be able to get by with a television episode on in the background on Hulu or Netflix. Be warned, that nearly everybody is less productive with an enjoyable show on while they work and any writing done during this time may be crawling with errors. This practice is much more effective if you're doing something tedious like updating links on a website.

The only storage solution I don't recommend is giving up. As someone speaking from experience, I can tell you that letting your lazy brain win can be the first step in a several month or year spiral. Using these motivation techniques will leave you much more fulfilled than catching up on those old "Chuck" episodes (even if it is better than most of the comedy currently on TV). My brain often thinks it wants the immediate gratification of flashing lights and fatty flavors. My soul, on the other hand, doesn't get much from that kind of stuff at all. If I have to choose between satisfying my baser instincts or my profound purpose, I'm gonna have to go with the profound purpose.

Done with The Strange Solution? Go back to Motivation Techniques.

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