Fourteen days have passed since the last time that I posted anything on the old blog. Some of you might have been thinking, “What’s up, Strange? Is everything okay?” That’s half a month without any new content or material. Well, let me tell you. Four straight weeks of 56 hours of work ad this guy has had trouble fitting anything else in. But, that could just be an excuse, I guess. I mean, I still have useable hours where I am neither sleeping or working.
I sat down at the computer a few times in the past couple of weeks and just stared at a blank screen. Most of the time, a person finds themselves with nothing to say. That’s what they would call writer’s block. This hasn’t really been my problem as of late. I always have something to say.
My problem, as of late, has been a lack of motivation. When I get home from working a sixteen-hour shift, all I can focus on is getting clean and going to bed. This is especially true if I have to turn around four hours later and head right back to work. In this case, it’s probably more of a lack of time than it is a lack of motivation. However, even during my eight hour days, I have found it hard to motivate myself towards anything other than relaxation.
Motivation is what gets things done. Well, I guess that’s not necessarily true. Action is what gets things done but motivation moves us to action. But, what about those days when you cannot find the motivation to act on anything.
1. Plan in the fun things first.
One of the simplest but also most powerful habits I use to find and increase the motivation for my Monday and week is to plan in the fun things first into my daily and weekly schedule.
Like, for example:
- Going out for lunch at one of my favorite places.
- Meeting up with friends for a beer or two at the pub.
- Taking a long walk in the woods and going mushroom hunting during this late summer/fall season.
Getting this into my schedule right away at the start of the week boosts my enthusiasm and energy and having something to look forward to sparks my motivation.
Then I plan in the important work I want and need to get done.
Planning this way does, in my experience, make the day and week lighter and more fun compared to if you start focusing on only the work right away on Monday morning.
Plus, planning the fun and light parts in first makes it a lot more likely that you’ll actually do them and not just push them away to “someday” because you think your schedule is too full and busy.
2. Get motivation, energy, and enthusiasm from others.
When I find it difficult to up my motivation at the start of my week – or any time during the week – I like to tap into the energy, enthusiasm, and motivation of others.
Because that stuff is really contagious and can quickly change my mood and outlook in a big way.
Be creative about this and explore what gets you personally motivated and moving in the most powerful way.
But these things often change and in a month or three, there will likely be other things that bring me the most motivation.
3. Reduce those daily distractions that drag you away (or down).
It can be hard to find that motivation you need – and to keep it up – if you let yourself get distracted into procrastinating. Or dragged down into pessimism by websites or social media channels that you visit too often.
So, reduce those common daily distractions. Here’s how to do that:
Put your smartphone away.
I put it at the other end of our home when I work. Another good way to do this – in for example an office – is to put the phone in silent mode and then in the bottom drawer of the desk in your workspace (at least for 30-60 minutes as you focus on one of your most important tasks).
Close the door.
This will reduce interruptions from colleagues.
If you don’t have a door then consider using headphones while you work for a similar effect (you don’t really have to listen to anything if you find that distracting).
Use addon programs in your browser like StayFocusd to block yourself from visiting the websites you know will drag you down or away from staying focused and motivated.
Unsubscribe to email newsletters and social media accounts if necessary.
If they distract you or drag you down into negativity too often then simply unsubscribe. At least try it out for a week and see how being unsubscribed affects your motivation, mindset, and results.
4. Go small – or super-small – if you still feel unmotivated or like procrastinating.
If you still feel like procrastinating or not start moving forward with one of your most important tasks then take as much pressure off yourself as you can.
Because, in my experience, that’s what tends to work the best to actually get started and to get things done when you’re in that headspace (rather than beating yourself up or putting more pressure on yourself).
So break your important task down into smaller steps. Then find the first small step you can take to move forward and get started. For me, it is usually a step that only takes 5-10 minutes to complete.
If that doesn’t get you moving then go even smaller.
Find a tiny step you can take like writing on your school essay for 2 minutes or simply putting on your jogging shoes.
5. Be kind to yourself when you stumble (or when things don’t go exactly as planned).
If you beat yourself up when you make a mistake or when things don’t go as planned then that can quickly deflate your motivation for the day or whole week and make you feel like giving up.
But if you are kind to yourself then you can quickly bounce back on track.
One of my favorite ways to be kind to myself after a setback is to ask myself:
How would my friend/parent support me and help me in this situation?
Then I do things and talk to myself like he or she would.
That tends to put me on the healthy, self-kind and effective path of taking small steps forward once again.
Instead of getting me stuck in a downward spiral.
Life is Strange. Live it Well.