Have you ever been suddenly motivated to complete a task that isn’t on the top of your priority list for the day? In a perfect world, we’d always be motivated to complete the most pressing task of the moment, but we know that’s hardly ever the case. We are all well-versed in the process of trying to dig up motivation to start a dreaded task, but what happens when we suddenly find that motivation at the wrong time?
My Sudden Motivation
I hate cleaning. I know I’d be hard-pressed to find someone who truly loves the chore, but I feel as though I have a particularly difficult time motivating myself to throw out my useless clutter. You can imagine my shock when I woke up this morning thinking, “I really want to clean out the garage today.”
Here is my problem: cleaning the garage was not terribly high on the priority list. I have a few big projects to wrap up before Thanksgiving weekend and I had a productive day planned to make progress on all of them. As I sat down to work though, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should really pounce on my sudden motivation to organize.
Do I choose the more “important” task that I have no problem motivating myself to do, or the less important task that I usually dread?
After careful contemplation, I chose the latter.
The Right Decision
For three hours this afternoon, I sorted, threw away, cleaned, stacked, shredded, etc… I was definitely on a roll. As the third hour came to a close, a sudden feeling of frustration came over me. “I kind of hate this,” I said out loud. As quickly as it had come, my motivation was now gone. It was at that moment I realized I had made the right decision for the day.
Finding an extra hour or two over the next few days to squeeze in a little more work would be easy. Waiting for cleaning motivation to strike again could be endless. With just a few short hours of work, I could now walk into my garage without bumping into things. If I hadn’t been motivated, that could have easily taken the whole day.
Sometimes it’s best to do the task you are most motivated to do. You work most efficiently when you’re motivated and motivation is hard to conjure up. Notice I didn’t say it’s always best to make this decision. If I had a huge deadline coming up tomorrow, my cleaning crusade would have had to wait. Will you choose motivation or importance this week? Can you find a balance?