“There’s so little time and so much to do,” are lyrics from Grammy-winning jazz singer and composer Louis Armstrong. As a charismatic trumpet player, his career spanned five decades beginning in the 1920s. While his can-do philosophy probably inspired the lyrics for the song So Little Time, even people who lack motivation feel the pressure of time and work.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not like a person doesn’t know what needs to be done or lack something to do. Rather it is that they have zero desire to do it. In fact if a person lined up all the things that need to be done, they could actually spend an entire vacation working and the list still would not be complete.
There are clothes in the washer than need to be moved to the dryer so they won’t get mold on them. There is a report needing to be completed but nothing put on paper makes sense. There is a crack in the windshield that has been there for days, weeks, months or dare I say years. There is a good friend going through a rough time but the conversation is avoided. Or there is an annual checkup long overdue with no desire to make the appointment.
Sound familiar? Instead of following an old slogan like “Just do it,” try this:
- Burnout is real and can only be resolved though adequate rest. Take one day off and do something fun to rejuvenate.
- Play with a toy, a game, or go to a park. The distraction can be helpful.
- Doodling, drawing, or using an adult coloring book can help to spark the creative side of the brain.
- Call a friend, not the one that is being avoided but another one who brings a smile and reassurance.
- Try encouraging someone else and being helpful in a simple manner. This serves as a distraction.
- Watch an old sitcom that brings laughter. It is good for the soul.
- Make a gratitude list of people and things that have given inspiration and meaning. Take the time to express it to someone.
- Go for a walk, take a drive, or sit in a different room. This change in the environment can bring a new perspective.
- When unmotivated, exercise might seem improbable. But it is this precise time to push forward, perhaps experimenting with a new sport or routine.
- Take time to listen to some music, especially instrumental music. This stimulates the creative side of the brain.
- Think small. Attempt one small task of the to-do list. The success might inspire the completion of larger items.
The bottom line is that doing something, especially something that is restful, is better than doing nothing. In this way, a lack of motivation might bring a new healthy perspective.