The Coronavirus does suck but how can we still thrive and not just survive through all this.
Today, I want to talk about motivation. This is a really hard topic for me to talk about because I still struggle with motivation up to this point.
About two weeks ago, I found out I have ADHD. For people who do have ADHD, motivation is really critical and really important. This is because either we’re super obsessed with something and we just doubled down, focus on just that one thing and ignore everything else. Or we can’t seem to sit still and focus cause we’re taking in a lot of information and we always need that rest.
So, what I want to talk about is dopamine. It’s super critical without getting too nerdy. Basically, dopamine is a neurotransmitter that does a lot of things, which includes motivation. It’s our reward neurotransmitter.
For example, when you get that promotion and you get that excitement, that rush and you feel great, dopamine is playing a major role. Imagine, for example, a relationship starting to get really boring cause everything is repetitive. You’ve had the same conversations for millions of times and maybe your partner has told you the same jokes and it’s just not funny anymore. Dopamine plays a role because the same experiences don’t give us the same rush, and with an ADHD brain, we starve for it.
So, I’ve had addictions to scrolling through TikTok, through YouTube, avoiding emails, and even just avoiding having hard conversations. It’s hard sitting on a couch trapped on my phone for an hour and a half, three hours on the computer on YouTube. Because I need to just do 10 minutes of work I’m not looking forward to it.
The thing with people who have particularly ADHD is trying to force ourselves or having, especially someone else forced us to do something we’re not motivated. It’s like a death sentence. It’s like life is being sucked out of you. So I’ve been focusing that ADHD is a superpower and I need to just direct it. I need to learn to hack it.
So here are three things I’ve done to help me stay motivated and engaged. You can do these to hack motivation:
The first one is to break it down into microtasks. One of the things that happen to me, which also doesn’t help with motivation is I can get anxious, overwhelmed by having to tackle a major task. Because for me, all the planning that has to happen, with an ADHD brain, it gets confusing and foggy. Organizing thoughts is hard for me.
So, how would I do that? If I have to go through our website and spend two or three hours looking for bugs and problems with registration, it’s just torture for me to imagine it. So the way I do it is just in two minutes and then feel good about myself. Just two minutes. Cause I know that if I just do two minutes, I’m going to get obsessed about it. At some point, I’m going to start to lose myself to the float. So chunk it, you need to do is simplify it into micro tasks and let those little things be a reward in itself.
The second thing is to make it a game. I love games. I love video games. A video game is something that’s easy for me to get obsessed about because there’s a micro reward everywhere. Like I can be killing the same monster but if I know that they were level 20 when I was fighting them and now they’re level 28, it’s still fun because that dopamine rush is still being released. So the way I hack it, for example, is I need to drink 3.5 liters of water every day. What I do is I’ve set up 10 loonies. Every time I drink a glass of water, I slide across the counter a loonie. Each looney is 10 ounces or one cup of water. What I do is I slide the first 10 loonies to get to the silver twoonies that are the last 2. I want to get the toonies because it just feels so good for those last two loonies to slide them and that’s 120 ounces.
What I’m trying to say is I’ve hacked one motivation by creating a game, something fun and it could be anything. As basic as you think it is, it works! Now I also realize that at some point I’m going to get bored with it and I’m going to have to switch it up then I create a new game. So the second thing is to make it some kind of a game and give yourself a reward.
Three, realize that motivation can only go so far, I’m realizing that too. Discipline is the last part.
Discipline is the last part because today when I woke up in the morning at 7:00 AM, I don’t have to wake up a tone. I can set my own schedule, but I promised myself I’d wake up, work out, go make people smile, and all these things. Honestly, when I woke up at 7:00 AM I was exhausted, did not sleep well. I wanted to hit the snooze and go back to sleep and I didn’t trust myself. So I literally got out of bed and I sat on the couch and it’s 7:08 AM and I’m like about to cry how tired I am. I’m just imagining putting my head down, but at 7:23 a little bit later than I’m supposed to work out, I started to do the workout. I started to gain momentum.
Here’s what I’ve learned about discipline and the moments when you’re not motivated, discipline will help you get through it. That’s a muscle. Things that we really care about that are actually important, we commit to doing to them long after that motivation has left. Motivation is short and yet there are short term hacks, but the real thing you want to address is discipline.
Stay tuned because next week I’m going to talk about ADHD brain and discipline. I can’t wait to share that with you because this is just a small tease. I love you so much, gang. I hope this brought you some values.
So the three things you want to do is one, micro chunk your tasks. Two, make it microgames with micro coins. And three, accept that motivation, will only get you so far, discipline will fill in the majority of your days when you’re not motivated to do the things you said were important to you.
If you have a question you want me to answer, please email us. I would love to have the opportunity to hear from you so we can more thrive and less just survive.
I’ll see you soon.