Make “I Should” Rewarding

I haven’t wanted to write lately. It is frustrating, and I’ve found myself constantly saying, “I should just write.” I’ve said it hundreds of times in the last few months with very little to show for it.

Not wanting to write is a weird feeling because I’ve never had to force myself to write. Most of the time, writing was what I used to procrastinate doing other things.

I don’t think I’m alone in having difficulty motivating myself to do things lately (even things I genuinely enjoy). I don’t know if we blame the pandemic, if we blame the constant change, or if we blame the stress of it all. But I think I received some excellent advice the other day.

Someone told me to stop thinking about why I was having difficulty motivating myself, stop trying to figure out what is to blame, and stop beating myself up over it.

The solution is simple...

For all the things you say, “I should X” or “I should Y,” make them as rewarding as possible.

This morning, instead of wandering the 50 steps and 1 flight of stairs to my office with a cup of coffee I made, I changed it up.

I walked the ½ mile to one of my favorite coffee shops, and I’m drinking one of my favorite lattes as I write. I’m surrounded by others enjoying breakfast, and I’m listening to the new Adele album. It feels pretty perfect for me.

This post is also the third thing I’m writing this morning. That is three times as much productivity as I’ve been able to motivate myself to do in a long time.

Is this my best writing? Is this the most thought-provoking thing I’ve written? Definitely not. But this is the best advice I’ve followed lately.

If you are struggling to get things done, make it rewarding. Make it so that you look forward to some aspect of it. It will help you start, and sometimes that is all you need to gain some momentum.


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