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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« What Motivates Our Kids? | Motivation & The Bottom of The Box »

The Win Win of Motivation & Fun

Why is it that we do anything? The answer to that varies as widely as we do. We are not made from the same mold and what motivates you to accomplish your goals is different from what motivates your friends, kids or co-workers. It’s important to know what works for you because we all need something to help us move from place “A” to “B.”

Admittedly, I am extremely goal oriented. I think in terms of projects, short and long term goals. Sometimes just having a daily list of items I’ve set out to accomplish and knowing that by the end of the day they will be crossed out by my red marker is enough to motivate me to complete them. There are other times when my motivation works better if instead of it being visual (as in lots of red marker lines) it is time based. I play a “beat the clock” game with myself to accomplish something before a certain time so that I can go out and play. Wasn’t this a tactic our mothers used on us when we were small? I guess it was ingrained in my way of thinking. This often works well for me because as much as I like to get things done, I love to play even more.

A few weekends ago, in the true spirit of summer, we planned a day trip for Saturday. We were leaving around noon. So I woke up early to have breakfast, shower and get some work done. The fact that we were leaving at a specific time enabled me to focus on what I needed to accomplish. The added bonus and motivating force was that after I worked, I’d get to play and spend time with my family.

And play we did! There’s nothing like taking a day trip. One of my friends, Stacy Maxwell, writes a wonderful blog called “Backyard Therapy” exclusively about the value of going on day trips. The concept is that by stepping out of our normal routines and taking a break just for one day, our sense of well-being is restored.

Our day trip to the east end of Long Island did just that. While our girls are no longer little kids, we went to visit the Children’s Museum of the East End. My husband built some exhibits for them several years ago and we went to visit them in place. While it was fun to see his work, it was just as much fun watching our girls “play” at the museum. Dressing up was always a huge part of their childhood and they haven’t outgrown that yet. Their playfulness spilled over to us as we also enjoyed putting on tutus, pirate gear and firefighters’ jackets. Silly is good!

The day wouldn’t have been complete without having lunch outdoors, walking through the town, checking out an antiques fair, eating ice cream, touring the neighborhoods and seeing the ocean. I was amazed about the positive, rejuvenating effect our excursion had. It was a wonderful day! The idea of the trip provided me with the motivation to get some work done in the morning. The trip itself gave me time to reconnect, play and relax with my family. I was motivated to work by the notion that fun was at the other side. It was a win win!

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Reader Comments (2)

I don't think of myself as particularly goal-oriented, but it's hard for me to relax and have fun if I know there's work that needs to be done. For me, the motivation isn't so much "get this done now and then you can play later" but "get this done now and then you can play later without feeling guilty about it."

June 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

That's an interesting twist, Janet. Motivation works in many ways and it sounds like you've figured out how to make it work well for you. Ridding ourselves of guilt, however, we do it, is a great way to get full enjoyment out of the present. Sounds like you're able to focus on both work and play by compartmentalizing and making time for both. Thanks for sharing and for including me in your Professional Organizers Blog Carnival

July 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

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