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Q: “All the Joy Is in Planning. Then My Motivation Evaporates.”

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planning stage.Research shows that meaning is needed to carry out the early stages of a project1. A lack of meaning at the inception or planning stage of a task makes the task aversive and hinders engagement.

However, if a project is meaningful and enjoyable, it will not be a chore to brainstorm and plan it.In contrast, once we get to the action phase of a project, meaning is no longer the main driver of forward momentum or the defining feature of task aversion.

Structure is. Uncertainty around structure and how to carry out the project fuels procrastination. Could it be, then, that you feel immobilized when you get to a project’s action phase because you’re not sure of its next steps?[Quiz: How Seriously Do You Procrastinate?]If you do have a sense of structure for the project, your loss of motivation might instead be related to overwhelm and negative feelings around seeing it through.

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