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Capacity Building and Motivation

In the chaos of everyday life, many people, and mums in particular, find themselves struggling to keep up with the household duties.  Whether it's due to the demands of work, family responsibilities, or battling inner demons like ADHD, depression, or anxiety, the feeling of being overwhelmed can be all too familiar.  Tasks that seem simple to others can feel insurmountable, leaving us drained and defeated before we even begin.  Inevitably, the growing list of household tasks that we can’t seem to complete, lead to negative self-talk and feelings of failure.  Why do we so closely align our self-worth with the completion of household tasks? 

Understanding Capacity

Capacity, in this context, refers to our ability to tackle tasks effectively.  It encompasses both the physical and mental energy required to start and complete a task.  For many, especially those with poor mental health, this capacity can feel completely depleted.  Just the thought of the pile of dirty dishes in the kitchen can become overwhelming, preventing you from even getting up out of the chair.


Motivation vs Momentum 

I’m sure we have all heard somewhere that the problem in these situations is a lack of motivation.  The brilliant KC Davis in her book How to Keep House While Drowning, which I highly recommend by the way, explains that the problem isn’t motivation, but momentum.  When every task feels like an uphill battle, finding the drive to even start can seem impossible.  If you feel like this, try doing one small thing.

For example;

  • Instead of cleaning the pile of dishes, just clean 1 cup.  If that is all you are capable of in the moment, then celebrate your win.  Afterall, you set out to clean a cup and you did it!  However, you will often find that by setting out to wash 1 cup, you find you have gained the momentum and before you know it, the dishes are near done.

  • If just getting up off the couch is a mammoth effort, start by wriggling your toes, then your legs, and so on.  Put on your favourite song and dance your way to the kitchen.  By starting with a small win, you will gain momentum.  And as we now know, momentum is the key.


Top 5 tips


1. Break tasks into smaller steps: Rather than viewing tasks as daunting monoliths, break them down into smaller, more manageable components.  This not only makes the task seem less intimidating but also provides a sense of accomplishment as each step is completed.  Think about washing those dishes, 1 dish at a time or maybe just the cutlery for now.


2. Set realistic goals: Aim for progress, not perfection.  Set achievable goals for yourself, acknowledging that some days will be more challenging than others.  Life is a rollercoaster.  Some days you will have more capacity than others, and that is okay.  And be sure to celebrate even the smallest victories, as they are evidence of your capability. Try setting a timer for 10 minutes and see how much folding you can do in that time. It can be fun to try and race the clock, but it is also helpful to know that a task has an end point. 10 minutes may not complete the pile, but it is progress and that's what we are aiming for.


3. Follow the Dopamine: Just briefly, Dopamine is a substance in your body that works on your brain to give you feelings of pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation.  Interestingly, it also plays a role in memory, mood, sleep, concentration, and motivation, among others.  So, by follow the Dopamine, I mean do things that make you feel good.  You can often find me bopping along to my Spotify playlist while I’m cleaning or watching Netflix while I fold the washing.  What makes you feel good?


4. Create a supportive environment: Surround yourself with positive influences and eliminate those things that drag you down.  This might involve unfollowing that influencer who always has a perfect home and leaves you feeling inadequate.  Instead, concentrate on those things and people in your life, that lift you up.


5. Practice self-compassion: Be gentle with yourself on days when tasks seem insurmountable and take note of your inner monologue.  While visiting a friend, you wouldn’t chastise them about a pile of unfolded laundry, would you?  Show yourself the same level of compassion and understanding.  It is also important to remind yourself that your worth is not tied to your productivity and that it's okay to ask for help when needed.


Your Call to Action 

If you find yourself overwhelmed by the demands of household duties, know that you're not alone.  There are resources available to help you reclaim your capacity and create a more harmonious living environment.  Consider reaching out to professionals who specialise in organising spaces tailored to your individual needs, such as myself.


At Organised with KLC, I offer personalised solutions to transform even the most chaotic spaces into calm, functional sanctuaries.  Together, we can design environments that not only support your physical needs but also nurture your mental well-being.  Take the first step towards boosting your capacity and book a free, no obligation discovery call with me today.


In conclusion, while the journey towards overcoming overwhelm may seem daunting, remember that you possess the capacity to thrive. By nurturing motivation, practicing self-compassion, and seeking support when needed, you can unlock your full potential and create the balanced life you deserve.

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