Thoughts on Motivation and Productivity
Well, well, well. It’s been a long time. I haven’t written a single blog on this since summer last year. I go through phases of varying productivity, and for some reason even things I enjoy suffer when I lose motivation. As a relatively low-key person with small dreams, I am the opposite of a go-getter. I always do the bare minimum when it comes to personal goals and whatnot, for whatever reason. Sometimes I don’t like how unambitious I am; other times I tell myself that life isn’t about accomplishments anyway.
And it’s not. That much is true. Still, I envy my husband’s dedication to doing things even when he doesn’t have to. He will go out of his way to do things for me just so I can relax even more, even though he often works twelve or fourteen hour days. Plus, I am still gobsmacked by many of his accomplishments thus far. I admire my friend Michelle’s incredible ability to multi-task and her keen mind for picking up new skills and quite simply understanding how things work. I admire my old friend Christina’s determination to quite literally sit and write an entire novel in a matter of months. All the while, I log onto my favorite video game and level up another character instead of working on my novel or painting or doing some spring cleaning or whatever productive people do.
I have often wondered how much I could achieve if I actually tried, and really committed to something. This is an exciting prospect. First I have to decide what is interesting enough to secure my interest for an indeterminate period of time. I keep reverting back to writing a novel, but the more I put it off the more of a mountain it becomes.
A lack of motivation or productivity is often incorrectly perceived as laziness. Definitions are never an exact science, of course, but I perceive the former to be a long-term apathy for reaching goals, and the latter to be a short-term ‘nah, can’t be bothered.’ When you think of it in these terms, it is tempting to think of a lack of motivation as synonymous with depression. This may be the case for some people, but it certainly isn’t for me. In fact, my lack of meeting goals stems from the fact that I have genuinely never been happier in my entire life.
You see, I used to write daily to-do lists and always have short and long-term goals in mind. I used to even write a weekly schedule and post it up on my wall. The problem with to-do lists and schedules is that they are restrictive and stressful. If I had a to-do list with ten items on it for the day and only accomplished nine, I would always feel like a lazy bum or a failure. As a human being, I found it impossible to go through life in a mechanical way. Over a long period of time, these to-do lists got smaller and smaller and harder to do, and I felt worse and worse about not even being able to accomplish three or four items a day.
Not to mention that fact that writing down concrete things to achieve is a rather neurotic way of trying to maintain control over a life that is largely dictated by fate, luck, and God or a higher power or whatever you believe in (me? I believe in God).
My old Pastor gave a compelling sermon once on what he called ‘rich people problems’. When you put things in perspective, stressing over your relaxing routine or lack of accomplishments is a rich people problem. That phrase has always stuck with me, and when I’m in a whiny mood and start complaining about how I never do anything to my husband, I remind myself that my problems nowadays are simply rich people problems. Rich people problems don’t necessarily mean you’re a millionaire, by the way (no, didn’t win the lottery…yet). They’re just the kind of problem you worry about when you don’t have to worry about having enough money for food or bills. It’s the kind of problem that you dig up when you have nothing else to complain about.
And all of this is largely thanks to my husband. So Mark, I know you’ll be reading this: thank you, my love, for who you are, and for giving me a life that has so much good in it that I resort to whining about my rich people problems.
Right, so, away I go to write a novel. Hahahahaha…not likely. I think I’ll play a game instead. After all, my daily motivational energy tank is empty after writing this post.
Until next time…maybe it will be sooner than the last.