Ever had that moment where you look at the house you have to clean or the report you have to write or the manuscript you have to edit and say “Why am I even doing this?” (Parents of young kids who try to keep their house clean can really relate)
There are plenty of things in this life that seem pointless. Even tasks that seem so important one day may seem trivial the next. And if you’re anything like me, you probably find it pretty hard to get motivated to do something that seems to have no purpose. So here are some ways to find that sense of purpose:
#1 Ask yourself if it’s really important
You might be feeling something is trivial because it is. Maybe you’ve been imposing a needless task on yourself out of some misplaced sense of obligation or anxiety. Consider letting it go. Your time is too important to do things that don’t matter.
#2 Go back to the beginning
Try and recapture the frame of mind you were in when you started the project. Remember how nice it feels to have a clean house, to hand in that project, to wrap up a work in progress. Use whatever kind of motivation works for you. Funny as it seems, after watching Downton Abbey I have this great surge of pride in keeping my house clean. So whenever I start to lose interest in maintaining my house, that’s where I go.
#3 Look for the greater meaning
There are some tasks in life that are equally necessary and thankless. What do you do then? How do you keep on helping a neighbour in need when they keep taking advantage of you? How do you fold yet another load of laundry when you know there’s another one waiting to be washed? If you look for a reason in the everyday, you won’t find it. But look beyond – to the long term, or even eternal goal – and you’ll find the purpose you’re looking for. Ask yourself: how is this going to impact this person’s life down the road? How is it going to change me for the better? For me, the ultimate meaning is found in I Corinthians 10: 31 “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” If I’m constantly focused on bringing glory to God’s name no matter what I do, then I can know that what I’m doing has purpose, whether I ever find out what it is or not.
So hopefully this helps you find some sense of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Feel free to share what works for you.