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Featured How do you motivate yourself to start a task?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by onlything, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Like probably many on here, I have a problem starting a task that grew worse in the last few years. I learnt to finish them and maybe continue them after a disturbance about 50% of the time but starting a task is still difficult for me. It concerns anything, from making food to reading a book or looking for work. Instead of working on something, I can just sit undecided for a long time unless I have an external stimulus to force me to move and do something. Prioritising is also a problem for me but not as great of a one as it used to.

    I find it frustrating and I'm trying to work on it. Do you have some advice on the topic?
     
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  2. Kyou Nukui

    Kyou Nukui music is amazing

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    I wait until its too late, then panic. :oops:
    Yes, it is frustrating. :(
    I have no advice, I'm just as bad or worse. :oops:
     
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  3. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    Make a list put numbers on it. Write down each task. Time yourself. Music helps to. Adjust your mind to the idea and focus on a single task.
     
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  4. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    I like to break it into the smallest steps possible and then do one at a time.

    Such as if I were trying to motivate myself to do schoolwork, I would first only require myself to open the word program I'll be using.

    Next, I only need to open the instructions for the assignment.

    Then I need to save the empty word document with the correct title.

    Then I title the assignment.

    And so on.

    I can always stop and do other things in between steps because that's a whole step I just did there, right!? But usually once I get one or two of the tiny ones done, it's easier to just keep going and actually do the assignment.
     
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  5. disconnected

    disconnected Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I’m horrible at this too. I can not start or finish anything. I have no problem at work, but out of work, forget it... ;(
     
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  6. Peter Morrison

    Peter Morrison Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I relate this dilemma to acts of depression. If it were simple laziness, I'd be enjoying the time off. One game I will play is to see how much I can get done in 1 hour. I know I'll feel better after doing what I am supposed to do, so I know the energy and fortitude will be worth it, especially later. I can promise myself to do something, and I like to fulfill a promise. This is the short form of fighting depression. If I stay inactive and feel bad about it, I'm the loser. I've done that enough to know that it doesn't feel very good. It's a total waste and it is my own fault. Depression requires action.
     
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  7. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    Initiating a task is, if I'm not mistaken, a dopamine function. No doubt also requiring activation of particular brain regions, maybe frontal cortex which is involved in executive function. Sometimes coffee helps me get started on a task but sometimes, it just makes me jittery. I do find executive function aids like lists, a whiteboard, reminders, etc. can sometimes get me over the hump. Sometimes, nothing does, and I have to try again on another day.

    Be sure to maintain a positive motivational state overall, though. Make sure you are getting some fun and pleasurable activities in your life.
     
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  8. Rebecca Merriam

    Rebecca Merriam Active Member

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    I don't know this will help, but Ive found I need to schedule in whatever task I need to do. I fill my phone with reminders and notes, "this is important because x" I feel when i put it to a schedule my brain is more likely to accept the activity.
     
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  9. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I use a time schedule more or less. Have to do this by 9, that by 11, etc. When I get to the time I just have to push myself to start. Its easier to do the push and stay on schedule then have things pile up and be behind.
     
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  10. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

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    it depends on how much pain it causes me,I like having things in order I get a kickfrom having things in order
     
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  11. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

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    Look at both the importance of it and how much I enjoy doing it.
     
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  12. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes I do lists with an order of priority for work. And sometimes at home. Then how long each task should take next to it, that motivates me. And split up big tasks as others have said. Into do able units. I usually put a time limit on unenjoyable tasks. Like an hour of housework, etc. No time limit if it's enjoyable! Gardening for example or writing sometimes.
     
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  13. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Sometimes the only thing that will get me going is pressure. Having a time deadline, or someone reminding me to do things, or a post it note on my desk. Then, task lists. When I have completed the task, I tick it off the list, and the list gets shorter. That's a reward in itself. Dividing longer, more complicated tasks into stages and taking breaks between stages. For tasks without a deadline, not fretting over whether I get it done or not - I tell myslef it's ok, I don't need to do all of it now if I don't want to, but should do a part of it. Awarding myself treats for having finished - such as an ice cream.
     
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  14. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    I find lack of motivation is depression with me.
    The easy way out of things is stay in bed and just sleep. Just sleeping can feel so good.
    But, we do have to face reality of life and things that need to be done.
    My first thought may be, groan, I don't want to, but, I just start thinking about what has to be done
    and it wakes up the brain to start thinking on it.

    Then I just start with my daily routines and when it is time to do something I try to keep it in my
    routine when I want to start and also time it. OK, today I'll work one hour on a project.
    Once into it the time goes by so quickly the alotted time is over before I know it.
    I also break the task down into what needs to be done first and secondly and so on so I have
    a set direction to go in.
    Something that interrupts the steps I've laid out in my mind is most frustrating.
    Try to keep the routine as planned if at all possible. I find this is a great help.
     
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  15. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Make a list and tick each task off, when completed.

    Today, completed one on my list and now, trying to get the other one started.

    I am also setting out to write a book and already have the title; just got to get started with it.
     
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  16. OrangeSquash

    OrangeSquash New Member

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    Sometimes I can be really productive, and even surprise myself which what I get done. Much of the rest of the time, I do not.

    Something that works for me, if I wake up with lots to do an no enthusiasm for any of it is to just start one small menial task - like making my bed. Then straight away do another small menial task, like putting the washing up away, then straight away put a load of washing on.... this build-up of a few small tasks I feel helps to build momentum that I can carry on to something a bit more important. It kind-of spirals, in a good way.

    Another trick I use if I have alot of work to do is to take myself to the library. Surrounding myself with other people who are working hard away from the distractions of my own home seems to make me more productive.
     
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  17. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Deadlines.
    self set or dictated by someone else.

    I'm better with bigger chunks of time such as days rather than smaller amounts like hours.
    i.e. get such and such done by 11.00hrs. get the next thing complete by 13.00hrs and so on.

    In my day to day the unexpected can and will happen.
    It throws me off timed, hourly schedules.
    (see my own butt over that)


    I work better thinking,
    'I have two days to complete these six tasks'

    It lights a fire under my ass.
     
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  18. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I make lists, but that's not what will get me to actually do the things. It's that initial move that's hard. So when there's something I know I need to do, if I think about it, it makes it harder so I try to just stop thinking about it and give myself that push to start. It's hard, but it's harder when you're thinking about it.
     
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  19. righan

    righan New Member

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    While I am not certain i am aspie, so I don't know if this really relevant ... it depends on what it is that I'm having trouble getting started with. If its a routine behavior, then I've found doing it in a routine way or at a routine time usually helps. For instance, lets take making food - then I typically eat around the same time every day, and that makes it easier to do it. Otherwise, if my schedule gets thrown off for some reason, I often will forget to eat or will sit there and be hungry and will just not eat.

    I have also found, beginning new things is often easier at standard transition times. I.e. at the beginning of an hour, at the beginning of a day, a the beginning of a week, at the beginning of a year. So I plan accordingly, and will usually only attempt to begin an activity if its at or around the beginning of an hour. This can be very frustrating for normal people though, but then I usually let their motivation pull me along.

    And that can be another one. Letting other peoples motivation pull you along. Of course, that requires socialization, which isn't always fun, but ultimately required of being human.

    Duty and responsibility tend to be good motivators for me as well. I have found, if I have a responsibility to another person to do something, then I am much more apt and able to achieve it. Projects I have started for myself tend to languish for years, where as tasks that I am doing for other people get done quickly.

    I think this is often because things done for other people usually have a clear scope and objectives, where as things done for myself tend to have the nebulous objective of somehow pleasing me. I do best when I have a very clear set of objectives. A set of vague goals leads to vague success, and I'm not always very good at solidifying my goals... even when I try, it then often turns into a project to figure out the project. Meta-projects. I still end up just being frustrated. I have found journals and writing tend to help with that, but they tend to also take a lot of time, which can be frustrating itself.

    So I don't know if any of this helps, but if I think of anything, I'll post it.
     
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  20. Adora

    Adora Well-Known Member

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    I’m horrible at starting tasks too, I either procrastinate or find it too overwhelming and my organisation skills are lacking to say the least.
     
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