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Is Your To-Do List Stealing Your MoJo?

to-do list
source: Amelia Wells

One of my favorite aspects of being self-employed is that I’m in control of my work scheduled, which means I can work when I’m motivated and rest when I’m not.

Which works great if you stay motivated overall but can be a bit of a drag when your motivation, enthusiasm and passion wane.

To be honest, 2012 did not get off to the best start. I had a list of projects I was excited to tackle — at least in theory — but I just couldn’t seem to find the motivation to tackle my everyday to-do list, let alone the special projects.

For weeks, I struggled to figure out why I wasn’t making progress — and why I was struggling with motivation in the first place, especially since I had taken several weeks off at the end of 2011.

And then last week I figured out the problem.

It was simple, really: there were things on my to-do list that I had been putting off for so long that I was literally feeling paralyzed by my list.

These have-to-dos were stealing my passion and motivation. I felt guilty about working on “fun” projects when I had things I really needed to do, but I had been putting the have-tos off for so long that it felt like they would take weeks to get done.

I finally realized how I was sabotaging myself last week and made it a goal to knock out as many of those little things each day as I could.

It turns out I’m not alone, either. A friend of mine had the exact same revelation, and last week she began tackling her nagging to-do list as well. We shared our progress as we crossed off items one by one (sometimes in under 10 minutes!).

By Wednesday, I literally felt lighter. I had been transferring many of these items from to-do list to to-do list week after week, and it was a relief to cross so many off after so long.

I was reminded once again how much putting off the things on our to-do lists really costs us as we waste time and energy stressing over them and feeling guilty about doing them. I’m sure it’s not the last time I’ll procrastinate on something, but I do hope it will be easier for me to diagnose the problem the next time my to-do list steals my mojo!

What about you? Do you find your motivation waning when you are procrastinating? What nagging things on your to-do list could you knock out this week?