How to Have Fun at a Task You Hate. Really? – Part Trois

blueflameI am sitting on a flight to San Francisco savoring my success. Yes, I did accomplish my task – a few brand spanking clean bathrooms!! Woohoo for me! But the victory seems hollow. To recap: I knew how to have fun cleaning, I had the tools to make it easy, and I even figured out a way to get it done super fast! Yet, I wasn’t motivated by any of those things. I asked 2 really key questions at the end of my last post, 1)How does one decide to decide? and 2)  How does one turn intention into certainty?

In my experience, what motivated me to take action was a sense of duty and obligation to take care of my family. If I was not going to be there, I needed to make sure that I could make my absence a little easier on them. The sudden nature of my trip to the West Coast put me into this crazy, “I am Woman Hear Me Roar” mode. It was like I had the infamous “blue flame”coming out of my rear, and I was no longer content to sit on it.  I was CERTAINLY DETERMINED that I was going to tie up loose ends all over the place – and so I did.

I completely saw no need to be creative in my cleaning pursuits or in any of my other mundane but necessary activities, as the desire to relieve my family’s burden fired me up big time. I got everything done so quickly, that even when writing about it now it doesn’t seem real. I am trying to grasp what exactly I did so that I can use this strategy in the future. Do you ever experience the feeling of really liking what you did, but you can’t quite remember how you did it?

So I go back and try to think about the catalyst of all of this activity: My desire to relieve a burden and to make things easier. It was actually, upon further reflection, a desire for me NOT to be a burden to others. Familial approval, hmmm. It is a distinction worth mentioning, because I had personalized the task. It was no longer a bathroom chore, it was Christine not pulling her weight. That belief or feeling generated a lot of motivating juice. While this motivating juice got me started, it wasn’t the fuel that kept me going. There was something more to it. Maybe instead of a magic wand of fun – to get something done – (which I thought was the problem in the first place) it was more like a chemical reaction of combining multiple elements that got the results I was looking for?

First part was desire, an overwhelming need, an “I must do this” kind of attitude. So what else went into the formula? Some sort of momentum had to exist to keep me going from bathroom to bathroom, task to task and from done to done! Do you have days when you are just firing on all cylinders and feel like nothing can stop you? What was it that got you moving like that? For me, it was being in a state of “I am the type of woman who gets things done.”

Right now the formula looks like this:

1 part right motivating attitude + 1 part state of determination + ? = DONE

What was missing in the equation? There has to be something more than determination, more than being motivated that caused me to take some significant action on this day. What was it?

Being experienced with my own brain’s lazy evasiveness, I don’t buy the first response which was, “That is totally all you needed, you fabulous Wonder Woman, you!” So I probed a little deeper and found that I knew there was more, I just didn’t know what.

Don’t you find it interesting that when you ask yourself questions, your brain eventually gives you an answer? It may not be right away. You may be taking a walk or watering the grass or any of those mindless tasks that put your brain in “receivership mode–” you may even be brainstorming out loud. If it was socially acceptable to talk to ourselves out loud, how different would our conversations be if we knew that someone was hearing us “talk that way” to ourselves?? 🙂

Guess what came up for me? FUN! Can you friggin believe it?! When I completely abandoned my belief that making a task fun would make me want to do it, it never occurred to me that there might have been another use for it! I recognized that I had made a game out of checking things off my list. No joke. I was egging myself on with thoughts like so “How much more can you get done?” “What else can you do?” I was CHALLENGING myself to see what was possible. Now the equation looks like this:

1 part right motivating attitude + 1 part state of determination + 1 part fun = DONE = Christine feeling powerful

Okay, I think I figured it out, but there is one more piece. As I look at the equation, there is still something missing, but it is not anything I have to figure out or explain in depth. It is the simple truth that none of these thoughts, feelings, beliefs, attitudes or experiences could have existed without…time. Here is the final version:

1 part right motivating attitude + 1 part state of determination + 1 part making it fun + time = DONE

Now I’m interested even more. So time is the framework in which we act. I wonder if our relationship with time shapes not only how we view our actions, but also influences the actions we choose to take? I am going to have to learn more about this.

Until then, Happy Experimenting!

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