Most of our organizing clients struggle to get things done, and for many their procrastination is to an extent that impairs their life. Dishes pile up in the sink, mail goes unopened, clutter builds up in the living spaces of the home. Finding motivation to tidy up can be really daunting, but I strongly believe that with the strategies in Julie Fast’s book “Getting It Done When You’re Depressed: 50 Strategies For Keeping Your Life on Track, (2nd ed),” my clients can finally feel some hope.
Julie has struggled with bipolar disorder her whole life, and she wrote this book to provide strategies to others who struggle to remain productive while dealing with feelings of depression, inertia and lack of motivation.
I want to shout out loud that you DON’T have to have depression to get something helpful out of this book! Julie’s 50 get-it-done approaches work for ANYONE who wants to find a new way to motivate themselves.
For example, one of my favorite strategies she recommends is called “Think Like An Athlete.” “On the really tough days, close your eyes and picture what your favorite athlete would do. This can help you focus on the task …” If you feel lethargic and unable to get up (much less do something strenuous), pull up a mental image of your favorite athlete, who trains and competes no matter how motivated he or she feels. This visualization exercise helps provide a perspective shift that can shake you out of your feelings of inertia.
Another strategy I found particularly helpful is called “Just Sit Down.” How many of us have avoided answering those emails, writing that paper or paying those bills, even though we know the cost of procrastination on those tasks could be high? Julie writes, “I constantly remind myself that if I just sit down in front of something, it can kick-start my desire to do my work.” She goes on to explain that, “Sitting down when you need to often triggers a work response that helps you get things done.” It’s the perfect baby step to take when you are facing a daunting project that you would rather avoid.
One of the great things about Julie’s book is how easy she made it to quickly digest her strategies. Each chapter is devoted to a different strategy and is no more than a handful of pages, perfect for readers with short-attention spans and limited time. Every chapter also contains two short anecdotes from her and a reader, which provide some real-world perspective about how that particular approach is useful. A psychiatrist weighs in with a few sentences about the biology behind the strategy, and a paragraph called “Social Media and Technology” explains how these things might help or hinder us in employing this technique.
Finally, Julie includes a script with each strategy, which can be used to articulate the reader’s needs to a family member, friend or even co-worker or boss. This is such a helpful element for those who may need accountability or even a little bit more patience from the people around them while they learn to harness these strategies.
This is a tremendously useful book and one that I could see being helpful for all of us dealing with the doldrums — and subsequent lack of motivation — surrounding distance learning and our work-from-home lives. If you’ve been stressed out about getting work, school or home tasks done, Getting It Done When You’re Depressed, 2nd ed, will provide you with some excellent outside-the-box ideas for kicking your motivation into high gear.
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