I grew up in a family that had so many mixed messages about to do lists. It took until I realized a few things for me to be happy with my achievements in a day. Also, to do what I put on my to do list.
I had wildly ridiculous expectations of myself. I learned that’s everyone had to be taken care of and all things on the to do list done before I could focus on me.
All the chores should be done before I could have fun. I should grocery shop at numerous stores because these were better at this one and that was better at the other. Also… if something was nice don’t let it get worn (like pots and pans) which meant hand washing a lot of things. Pots are replaceable. I am not.
So… over time I’ve figured out something that works fairly well for me.
First: only three semi-mandatory tasks for a day. I say semi mandatory because days don’t always go as planned. Sometimes things take longer than expected. Sometimes something comes up. I do not want to “fail” over things I can’t control.
Second: the thing that is hardest or least fun to do is the first thing if possible. I have more ability to do something I don’t like when fresh.
Third: I build in lots of self-care time. Reading. Playing games. Taking a nap. Taking care of me is priority number one.
Fourth: I work on what causes the hard things to be hard. (Dislike of phone calls, whatever).
For me if motivation is that hard to have it’s a sign that something isn’t right. I can’t motivate myself to jog. I can’t motivate myself to go to the gym. That’s because I don’t like those. I can motivate myself to walk, because I enjoy it.
Find what works for you and motivation becomes less a “force myself to…” thing.