There are days when I just get totally unmotivated to do anything. I get sucked in to whatever is on TV, sink into my chair with my blanket and my dog, and don’t move. It’s so easy to succumb to a “veg” day, which can turn in to a “veg” weekend, or spiral into a “veg” week, and so on.

To paraphrase Newton, a butt on the couch will stay on the couch unless compelled or bribed by something more enjoyable to do. Or a full bladder.

To counteract the siren’s call of these totally wasted days, this is what works for me:

In the mornings, after I knock the alarm clock off the nightstand and drag myself out of bed to the insistent whining of my dog, I get dressed. If it’s going to be an “at home” day, this is workout gear, including my tennis shoes. It’s really hard to get motivated to do anything wearing slippers, flip-flops, or going barefoot. And, if I look like I’m ready to go to the gym, I just might actually do some exercises at some point during the day.

Next, after starting the coffee maker, I do my hair and make-up. For me, I don’t feel like myself without my hair done and my make-up on. It’s my psychological symbol that the opportunity for a productive day is there, if I want it. And I’m more likely to get out of the house if I feel like I’m ready to meet other human beings.

On the days I get sucked in to TV programming, I force myself to do “Commercial Clean Up.” This is something I used to do with my kids during weekend cartoons. During the commercials, we’d all have to jump up and work on some chore: cleaning, laundry, picking up toys, you get the picture.

You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish in that short snippet of time, and how much it all adds up by the end of the day. And technically, you can still sort of be a couch potato, if that’s a badge you wear proudly.

In the space of a commercial break, you can:

  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Start a load of laundry
  • Bring a basket of clothes from the dryer to be folded during the program
  • Clean the toilet
  • Clean the bathroom mirrors and counter
  • Clean the bathroom sink
  • Clean the kitchen counters
  • Clean the kitchen sink
  • Prep veggies for meals
  • Plan the day’s/week’s meals
  • Sweep the kitchen or bathroom floor
  • Mop the kitchen or bathroom floor
  • Do some jumping jacks
  • Lift some weights
  • Hold a yoga pose
  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Line edit several pages

You get the idea. You can break up the chores you don’t like into small increments, and reward yourself by enjoying your favorite programs. Call it multitasking for the unmotivated. You don’t have to waste your “free” time doing these things, and you’ll have more time for your writing.

And when you get your kids involved, it becomes a race, a fun little competition. Small bits of chores are much more tolerable than 30-60 minutes (or an entire day’s worth) of doing the stuff no one want to do, but we all have to. And if you can make it a game, even just with yourself, it’s not as bad.

Now, for my (late again) mid-week update:

  • Blog post: done!
  • Reading fiction: Working
  • Editing: 20 pages done
  • Query: thinking hard J
  • Exercise: bust L we’ll see what happens tomorrow.
  • Everything else: still in progress.

Keep Writing! I’ll do the same!

Beth Ann

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