Ok, I’m back from playing Words With Friends. 34 Points for “ZED”, ha!
What were we doing? Oh, right.
See, I don’t really want to write this article…which is strange, because I actually enjoy writing and think I’m decent at it, and I like having articles finished. It’s not this topic necessarily, either, which leads me to think that I’m just not motivated in general right now. Life marches on, though, and what I do for money literally puts food on the table…so how to get out of a funk, fast? How to remind myself that the benefits to my family – and to myself, both professionally and personally – of me working from home far outweigh the drawbacks?
On the one hand, clearly I don’t have this all figured out, or don’t yet have the iron discipline to apply it consistently. I get into unmotivated funks, and so do you. On the other hand, I think I have some ideas for getting better.
1. Maintain certain tasks – be they daily, weekly, whatever – that “must” be done.
I’m not talking about “brush my teeth” or “pick the kids up from school”…I’m talking about things that don’t actually HAVE to be done. Huh? What I find is that the things that actually, truly MUST be done are plentiful enough that they crowd out the tasks we’d ordinarily like – even love? – to do, if only we had the time or energy or could justify the value of our own sanity or intellectual pursuits or spiritual growth or whatever to actually make and maintain space for them. So pick a small handful of things – maybe they directly pertain to your business, maybe they don’t – and decide that you’re committed. They have to get done. For some people, this creates a push on its own…a regimen that frankly at first relies in some measure on the let-down you may feel if you DON’T accomplish them, but pretty quickly evolves to run on the thrill of doing them.
The paradox of this is that for some people, the concept of “HAVE TO” is a mega-turn-off all by itself. We’re the captains of our own destinies, dammit!…we don’t bend to “have to”! Fine. Play with the semantics until you find something you won’t bristle at, like “My day is not complete until/unless I…” or “Ah, 1 pm! Time for my opportunity to…”
2. Use the activities you enjoy most as rewards for completing the tasks you don’t.
Piles of psychology about the effects of rewards aside, I did this today: I saved some of the tasks that I most looked forward to until AFTER I’d done some less savory ones. This is of course tempered by what resources are required for the tasks and which of those are available when, and which job is “hotter” than the others and all that…but when all is basically equal, holding a carrot out for yourself can move you right along.
3. Change Something.
Well, duh. We’re trying to get out of an unmotivated funk here, right? If you’re sitting while you work, stand up. Walk around. Go outside. (I stand while I work, so actually sitting down for a few minutes is a great treat!) Play with the dog. Move some furniture around. Do some jumping jacks, seriously.
Not only is this about shaking up your so-familiar-they’re-boring surroundings, but any activity at all gets your blood flowing. This is generally considered in many disciplines to be a good thing.
4. Tap into a support group that’ll hold your feet to the fire in a loving way.
Maybe that just means asking your kids to keep you on deadline by reminding you an hour before dinner, or scheduling a call with a friend at 5pm, knowing that your work day’d better be done by then. Maybe it means having awesome business bloggers with whom you’re interdependent for great wisdom and humor, who want to hear from you as much as you do from them. The point is to find or activate those people in your life who can say “You’re doing great!” as easily as “You need to get this done. I know you can!”.
I feel better already, because I’ve just finished this article in time to leave for a men’s group that I know I’ll feel supported at. Taking my own advice makes me look so smart.
I’m eager to hear yours! What do you do to get your motivation back?
This post is part of the January 2013 Word Carnival. Every month, the members of our group write about some democratically agreed-upon topic. This month’s topic is about beating the motivation blues and learning to love your business again. Check out all of the excellent articles on this topic HERE.