The thing about momentum is when you are moving and making things happen, you feel unstoppable, like anything and everything is possible. The flip side of that is when you are stopped or stuck, you feel like it’s impossible to get going again, like your feet are permanently stuck in cement.
The Momentum Monday column started as a way of reminding myself (and others) about the value of setting a tone for your week each and every Monday. The idea is that a successful, productive Monday leads to a successful, productive week.
Simple enough to do. You arrive at your desk on Monday morning with a plan prepared and start crossing off those to-do’s and that early success energizes you to seek more success. By the end of the day, you already feel ahead of the week and empowered to get more done.
By Wednesday, when you would normally hit the mid-week motivational slump, you flying through tasks as fast as you come up with them. The energy continues until you wrap-up on Friday, feeling satisfied with your achievements and ready to take a well-earned break.
But what about the opposite?
What if your week starts low and you get nothing done on Monday, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and panicked by the end of the day? What if by Wednesday, instead of being caught up, you are even further behind and feeling guilty by your lack of accomplishment? What if on Friday you feel that the only way to stay ahead is to sacrifice your precious downtime to TRY to salvage the wasted week?
It happens. To all of us.
Sometimes it’s because we’re dealing with personal or health issues, sometimes it’s simply a motivational low or burnout, sometimes it’s simply because we caught a severe case of the “I don’t wannas” in response to something that maybe shouldn’t be on our task list for that very reason. The cause doesn’t matter. What matters is overcoming inertia and getting your momentum mojo back!
Overcoming Inertia and Creating Momentum
Ditch the Guilt — Just say good-bye and good riddance to all of that negative self-talk. So what if you spent the week procrastinating and watching cat videos on the interwebz. Sometimes that’s just what you needed, but now it’s time to get back to getting things done.
Set Up Your Success — Do what you need to do to prepare for the next day so you can sit down and immediately feel successful. If you normally write about a to-do list for the next day, take it one step further and prep the things you need to get started right away. Remember, success always begets more success.
Fight Off Feelings of Overwhelm –Don’t try to tackle all the tasks at once. Start by focusing on 2 or 3 must-do tasks, get them done, and move on from there. Focusing on the dozens and dozens of things that you want to do just leaves you feeling overwhelmed, which can make you even more stuck. Give yourself permission to put things on hold until you get your momentum mojo back.
Don’t Neglect Your Downtime — Take a break! It seems counterintuitive, but the best way to create momentum is by giving yourself a break and doing nothing. All work and no play makes mommy a grumpy girl so don’t trade your business work for housework and call it downtime.
Learn to Say No — Be selective about how you spend your time and energy (especially now when it’s a little scarce). The last thing you need when your motivation is low is to take on more stuff because a) additional tasks serve as a welcome distraction from getting things done and b) more to-do’s can lead to overwhelm and trigger even more stuckness.
Reestablish Strictness — Set concrete goals for yourself and stick to them. Chances are you got to this place because you got lax about your daily routine and got comfortable with putting things off. Tighten up those deadlines and stick to them no matter what (even if it means taking on less to ensure you get things done).