Motivating the motivator

I’ve written a couple of posts about finding motivation for my teenager. I’ll update on that particular task shortly, but in the course of writing most recently about finding my focus again, I mentioned to classic To Do list.

The page pictured above is from the notebook that I started using when Eve & I began working together. That’s my page of tasks for last week. Check marks everywhere indicate that I did a pretty good job of completing it. The last item was added later in the week and I suspected it might roll into today at least to complete.

In addition to making sure I don’t forget anything these lists help to motivate me as well as to keep my focus on the important tasks.

I keep a similar list at my day job – a place where it can be quite easy to lost focus and motivation because – hey – accounting aint always the most entertaining of tasks! Several things I do are exceptionally tedious even for my detail oriented brain and having that visual always at my side with the list of what I need to complete that day/week really helps to snap me out of any “dear god do I *really* have to keep searching these 1000’s of lines for that $5 discrepancy?” doldrums.

I know some folks can utterly ignore a To Do list, but I can’t. Must be another aspect of that mild OCD going on. but I have GOT to check items off or I can feel them dangling over my head.

For some reason, they need to be handwritten too. I’ve tried keeping task lists in my calendar program or my phone and they just don’t trigger the same “Gotta Do This!” inspiration.

Nope – I need the old fashioned hand written list. So if you are struggling to keep things inline – give it a try. Amazing how something so simple can work so well!

Now, on to the teen…….

So a few weeks ago I overheard him say to someone while he was playing Xbox that “Playing video games and football keeps me calm”

I thought that was an interesting self-assessment he had. Makes sense – teenage boys are filled with testosterone and I am sure that playing a contact sport and some interactive military style video games provides an outlet for that.

It also makes sense in that it was the prospect of losing football via bad grades that motivated him to pull up 3 D’s to C’s in the second semester of school. He also earned a 3 on his AP World History exam which, considering he did NO EXTRA STUDYING is pretty darn good. Not enough to earn college credit in most cases (needed a 4 or 5 for that), but it’s considered passing and will still look good on his transcripts. Plus, being his first AP exam and given that he could be taking 3 next year, it is was great practice.

He started summer off needing to balance his Xbox playing time with his online math class that he is taking in order to get into AP Calc in the fall. Since he is taking an entire year of Pre-Calc in just three months it is pretty fast paced and the requirement was that he finish up the 1st semester by this Friday and start the second semester on Monday. He started off fine, but then in his typical style, he fell behind. So last weekend we removed his Xbox and told him he couldn’t have it back until he was back on pace. Who knocked out a crap ton of work last week in order to get his gaming system back? 🙂  Not only did he blow through it, but he’s maintaining a 91% so far and will easily be done by Friday.

Baby steps…


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