Finding motivation aka why my library books are overdue

Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

I’ve listened and re-taught myself this lesson many times, and it just so happens I remembered it again this morning.

It’s not that I’m not learning the truth behind it, but that I’m struggling to apply it to different contexts. I am a procrastinator in the way that I put off starting things I do not fully understand, appreciate or feel enthused about.

This is because I’m neurodivergent, among other reasons, and I seek the thrill and enthusiasm to get things done. If there is an unclear start point, or an unclear reward, I will continue to put it off. My subconscious spends a lot of time mulling these things over, and when they finally surface I tend to have a lot of work to do.

reading is supposed to be fun!

For example, I have three books that are a month over due to the library. I’ve been in a rut, haven’t felt motivated to read them, they didn’t feel intriguing to me and I tend to prefer to sit and finish a book in one reading and simply didn’t have the time.

But yesterday I allowed myself permission to pick up a different book, one that’s not overdue, and read it cover to cover. I stayed up until 2am, it was a wild thriller, and I loved it. I felt my reading block recede when I realized I was choosing to create circumstances around my reading habits that didn’t feel good.

Why are these books overdue? I had to check them out from the library, because they’re part of a challenge I’ve set this year to read more books outside my typical genres. My problem then is that I seem to have restructured my reading habits, and it’s not fun anymore.

I’d rather re-read the same fan fiction stories than attempt to pick up a new book, and I feel guilty because it’s overdue and I’d just be reading it to get it done rather than enjoy the process. That sounds more like a college class and less like a fun hobby.

Not finishing is also an option

A few years ago one of my reading friends reminded me that reading is supposed to be enjoyable, and that the satisfaction of finishing a book isn’t worth the mental duress it may take to read through something uninteresting, triggering, or upsetting. We can choose what to consume, and in many cases, the time isn’t right.

There are books that have not resonated with me, and then a few months or years later, I give it another go, and this time I am ready. I enjoy those moments of growth, because they don’t halt my progress as a reader, my goals to read more, and at my innermost self — I love stories.

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

motivation and context clues

My struggle with reading, and finding the motivation is often less about doing and more about identifying context clues.

This morning in the shower I asked myself these questions while mulling over the book I so thoroughly enjoyed last night:

How long have I been procrastinating?

What happened in that span of time?

Have I been able to read other things, or have I been too busy?

Why do I have to read this book next?

The answers came simply, I felt I had to, so I didn’t. I have found that my brain, which relies on external dopamine as its reward, does not like being told what to do. I prefer to write the instructions rather than follow them. I prefer to do things differently than how I’m told because I want to find a new, better way.

And when that doesn’t work, I’ll quickly move onto something else to try and solve the situation in a new light. And because I spent the last month telling myself I had to read these books, and then berating myself because they were late, I took all the reward out of the book — which is the whole dang point.

I learned this lesson while hiring an accountant, something I wasn’t sure where to start, but knew I needed. And because I knew I had to do it, I continued to put it off until it became a much bigger hassle. As an entrepreneur, my staff meetings with myself often result in a lot of groaning and frustration over these kinds of situations.

But…I’m still motivated af

The middle ground here is that I still get things done. I am a highly motivated individual, and find ways to work around my reward system to still entice myself to do things that may not be immediately rewarding. And it’s okay if my brain has to do a little dance to get there.

As I’m writing this post, I’m procrastinating starting a project because I know it’s going to be time consuming. But I’ve also decided to reward myself with recording a podcast episode and some video game time. I’m going to write down those rewards somewhere I can see them, turn on some good tunes and jump right into it.

why being an entrepreneur rules

This is a big reason I love doing business coaching, because I help people understand the barriers in their own goal setting — it’s something I’ve been working on in myself every day. I have a lot of ideas, and love to troubleshoot ways to help folks get things done in the non-traditional sense.

If this post resonates with you, we may be a good fit for business coaching :)

Come work with me here!

I started my business because i know there’s a huge gap in knowledge for transgender and nonbinary entrepreneurs, and queer creatives. I’m a nonbinary and transgender business coach, writer, entrepreneur and I’d love to work with you.

Visit my website here

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Liz Brinks

Liz Brinks

Hey, I’m Liz Brinks (they/them) I’m a queer gender-non-conforming writer, business coach & cat-parent (@itsjuustliz everywhere) based out of Wisconsin!