Motivation and Getting Past the Overwhelm

Yes, You can do this!

Have you ever noticed that when you least expect it, something happens and you have to deal with it right away. All of a sudden you have to stop whatever you are doing and get this thing dealt with.  So, imagine, there is water all over the floor because the toilet overflowed or there is a bird in your furnace ductwork. Ugh!  Yes, both of these things have happened to me.  All of a sudden we are in a crisis and have no choice but to deal with it.  So that is one way that motivation can work.  

Of course, that it is not always the way motivation works  We might identify something as a problem and it’s not really a high priority or we might not even recognize it as a problem.  Maybe we don’t know how to deal with it or we just don’t really feel like dealing with it.  

Motivation definitely ebbs and flows.  For me, I have always been “the glass is always half full” kind of gal which I am sure has helped me a lot with my chosen work.  I have my ups and downs as well as anybody but I always hope for more up days. And motivation can really be like that.  One day we are feeling on top of the world and we can feel like we can handle anything and another day we just want to hit the couch, watch Netflix and eat popcorn.  It is important to honour yourself and how you are feeling.  

How often have you heard these statements before? “Just get started”, “just do it” or just get it done” ? What if you really just can’t seem to get started? You can have the best intentions but other things get in the way. You may have other priorities, you are tired, or other people’s problems seem more important than your own. Maybe you don’t know where to start or how to do it. There could also be some fears that come up. For example: What if I get started, then what – I will have to continue with this process and I might have to let go of some things.  I might fail. When you think back to other times when you have worked on your clutter and uncomfortable emotions came up, it can be scary to think of going back there again.

It can be important to think about what the obstacles might be for you.  

Would you like more inspiration on Getting Motivated (to declutter)? Check out this post……

Three Tips to help you to get motivated and to get past the overwhelm

The most popular response to “What helps me to be more organized?” (from the Declutter Your Life and Mind Group) is ta da:

1. The “To Do” List

Sounds pretty simple and it is and very effective too.  Just writing it down, gets it out of your head and onto paper.  It becomes more than just an idea.  It becomes more real and it then helps you to be accountable to yourself.  A lot of group members will post their goals or challenges in the FB group and that is a great way to be accountable as well, but not necessary.  Just be accountable to yourself for now.  Write a list for the day or the week, five items, prioritize them and see what you can do.  Then there is the satisfaction of crossing that item off the list.  You can also have a “ta done” list which means that when you find yourself doing a chore that wasn’t on your list, write it down and cross it off.  Yeah!  Feels good. Right? 

2. What are your reasons for “needing or wanting” to do this work?  

What is your why?  Why do you need or want to do this work?  What is your motivation for doing this work?. Do you want to sleep in your bed, cook in your kitchen or have some friends or family over?  Having a goal for yourself can be really helpful in getting going and pushing through even when the going gets tough.  Another way to look at your why is to think about how do I want to feel at the end of the day?  Do I want to feel like I was productive during the day so now I can relax, feel calm and at peace, feel happy to be in my clutter-free space.  What are your reasons for doing this work.  

3. How to Tame the Overwhelm

Do you find yourself saying “it’s all just too much”. “I feel so overwhelmed” or “I can’t even seem to get started.”? I would suggest starting with easier tasks or easier areas. That way there is that immediate successful thing you have done.  Remember “Small is Huge” which just means that we need to look at what we did do and not what still needs to be done.  Being consistent, scheduling time every day whether it’s 5, 10 or 15 minutes – just do what you can. You will start to see some progress. Start to create a new habit.  Reward yourself for a job well done. 

Are you having difficulty getting motivated to declutter? Would you like to dive a little deeper? Sign up to receive my FREE Get Motivated to Declutter Webinar? I will add you to the list.

And always remember to be kind to yourself.  This is intense work, this is your journey and you get to decide how much or how little you want to do.

Would love to hear from you……….. How do you get motivated and what helps you to get past the overwhelm?

About Kim

Kim Tremblay is a Master Organizer and a Clutter Coach. She has worked with individuals helping them clear the physical and emotional clutter from their lives since 2008. Kim founded and co-facilitated a Clearing Clutter Support Group which has helped hundreds of individuals to make positive changes in their lives. Kim is currently working virtually with clients helping them to clear the emotional and/or physical clutter from their lives. Kim is available to speak to your group about all things organizing.
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12 Responses to Motivation and Getting Past the Overwhelm

  1. Motivation has been a real challenge this year for sure! Having a to do list is essential for me, but I have to be careful not to put too much on it or to beat myself up if not everything gets checked off. I think the key, when that happens, is to figure out WHY something didn’t get done, which you touched on here. Is it a lack of time, skills, or information, or am I just avoiding it? If I’m avoiding it, why? Does it really need to be done? And so on… Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts!

    • Kim says:

      Great thoughts Janet
      I can relate to putting too much on the list. My list is often in my head and I know what I want/need to do and its usually a lot. I can be quite hard on myself at times. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. I like the way you tell your readers to do what they can and to honor how they are feeling. It’s important to recognize that every day doesn’t need to be packed with accomplishments.

    • Kim says:

      Thank You Diane,
      Yes, I really think its important to honour wherever you are at with your journey. We all have different paths and speeds.

  3. Seana Turner says:

    Motivation – tricky one! I have one client who really struggles with getting herself to do things. I think repetition has been helpful, taking the same steps over and over is helping to tame some of that overwhelm. I know for myself that sometimes I just finally feel “in the mood” to tackle a project, and then I have to strike while the iron is hot and get going before I lose interest!

    • Kim says:

      Hi Seana
      Thats is a great tip. Strike while in the mood otherwise it might just not get done. Thanks so much for your reply.

  4. All of your suggestions to help with the “ebbs and flow” of motivation are excellent. Particularly during the pandemic, many of us have struggled with being consistent, productive, and motivated. I’m impressed that your Netflix days are accompanied by popcorn (a healthy choice.) I’m thinking chocolate frozen yogurt, but that’s just me. 🙂

    The overwhelm can be one of the biggest obstacles for motivation. As described, going small, doing that one tiny thing, and feeling progress helps immensely. And as you also said, be kind to yourself. I don’t think we’re designed as humans to go-go-go all the time. Sometimes are waning motivation might be an indicator that it’s time to rest and pause.

    • Kim says:

      Hi Linda,
      Great points. And yes I do have a guilty pleasure of chips and chocolate for sure. Mac and Cheese is another comfort food for a rainy Netflix kind of day. MMMM Chocolate frozen yogurt – need to check that out. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Melanie says:

    Having a simple yet clear reason why is so important for sparking that desire to get started. I’ve trained myself to say “remember your why” whenever I start to drag my feet. Sometimes I have to repeat this mantra every day, but it works!

    Great post, thank you!

  6. Ronni says:

    When I’m overwhelmed, I will break it down. I think it’s easier to deal with parts of a project when the whole seems insurmountable.It’s really hard to get motivated when you don’t want to do something and they’re different tactics that work for different people.
    My son came right out and told me that he will embrace a difficult challenge when he’s ready to and not before. Sometimes it’s about being ready, sometimes it’s when you’re in the mood. Some really need to be motivated and for others, it’s getting ready to get ready!😀

    • Kim says:

      Hi Ronni,
      Yes, sometimes we just know when we are ready to tackle that task. Breaking things down is a great starting point when you are feeling overwhelmed. Thank you

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