dealing with demotivation
You may have noticed that I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks, and I have to admit I’ve felt a total lack of inspiration of what to write and also no motivation to try to force anything through on top of that. I think with writing or any remotely creative process this must be the hardest part of the “job” which is to still produce things even though inspiration is low. To get over that you need to look to motivational factors to get the inspirational juices flowing again. When both are lacking, there is no output (as I have clearly demonstrated 🙂 !).
We can’t be expected to be firing on all cylinders at all times and I often find myself going through waves of productivity where sometimes I am smashing out lots of great work and sometimes it takes me a week to do a couple of simple tasks, this happens in all areas: at home, on the blog and in the office. I’ve often wondered why this is and if there is anything I can do to shorten the periods where I’m in a bit of a funk and lengthen the periods when I’m feeling mega-productive/inspired/motivated. Maybe a new word is required for this state where you are in the flow which we could call Prodmotispired or Insproductivated? 🙂
I can pin point a few obvious factors for while I’ve been feeling this but I’m also sure there some deeper psychological or brain/mood cycle type of reasons, especially on the inspiration front, that will remain (to me at least) forever unknown.
reasons excuses for being demotivated
- Tiredness – If I’m generally feeling tired and my brain is not firing on all cylinders it’s hard to get going on anything! I’ve felt very tired recently. (Poor me! 😉 )
- Too busy/lack of time – This is related to the above but if I’m busy doing other stuff and I don’t feel I have the time to give a creative process justice I often find I will just elect not to start doing it at all. I’ve been (over) training for a half marathon in the last 2 weeks in any of the spare time I’ve had, due to leaving it too late to build up at a slower pace. This is usually always a bad idea and has also contributed somewhat to #1.
- Analysis paralysis – This happens at work most often, if I have a “To Do” list that is simply overwhelmingly large and I know I need to be uber-productive to have any chance of making decent headway into it, the complete opposite happens. I will just flit between tasks not really achieving much, or worse, just find busy work and other distractions to put off even starting the list. This is for me, the worst kind of funk to be in because I know I am just wasting my own time, and as someone focused on spending our precious universal currency of time as intentionally as I can, I hate that!
- Other external factors – A catch all category that will no doubt be different from person to person but that includes for me: Trains being too busy (to sit down and write stuff for the blog), internet connections playing up, getting interrupted by other people (at work especially), watching too much TV (due to being too tired to bother doing anything else), having too many social commitments and household chores to have a decent chunk of time to bother doing anything else, and so on…
Maybe you can empathise with some of these? Also if you care to add any more of your own in the comments, then go for it 🙂
Now on to what to do about it…
ideas for getting out of your demotivated funk
- Acknowledge it – The first step in any process like this is to acknowledge there is a problem in the first place! Recognise you are in a funk and bring it to the forefront of your mind, only then will you have the chance to focus on the issue and make some positive changes.
- JFDI – If you’ve not heard this acronym before see the definition here 🙂 . It’s simple but quite effective. If you just sit down and say to yourself I’ve got to start this task then sooner or later you will find yourself chugging your way through it and making progress. The motivation should start flooding back at this point! This is especially handy for when you have analysis paralysis or a large “To Do” list, you have to start somewhere so just pick one of the tasks and JFDI!
- Eat the frog – There is a whole book 1 based off of this phrase (which I haven’t read!) but to sum up the general idea: Pick the hardest thing on your “To Do” list and do that first. This helps motivation hugely because once that is done everything else will seem progressively easier and you will feel like you are simply on fire! I really like this concept and hopefully I will eat the frog and actually get around to reading the book one day! 😀
- Remove all distractions – When you are feeling demotivated you tend to find anything to do instead of what you should be doing. With the always on internet it is very hard to removal all distractions but any attempts at removing distractions is worth it! When I start working from home more I am going to really have to keep a tab on this and it is quite a worry for me, but there are easy steps you can take such as turning off the TV/Radio. You can even user internet blocking software that can either block access to certain sites you know you go to waste time on, or even just block the internet entirely if you don’t need it for the thing you’re working on.
- Stay Healthy – We know the old adage a healthy body = a healthy mind and all that, but I think that avoiding certain foods or habits can help the brain function better even without regular exercise (not that this should be used as an excuse not to stay active of course!). This old article from brip blap has some great quick fire tips to keep everything sharp up in noggin department (as well as the physical world)
- Create your own time – I’ve whined about not having time and the trains being too busy to sit down, but I know for a fact that I can get the slow train and get a seat (and more time to write/do whatever I wanted to do) but just have not done that for ages. So I only have myself to blame here! If you can control certain aspects of your life to make extra time to be productive then, well, see point #2 I suppose!!! 🙂
- Using demotivation as inspiration – OK this is quite niche and not sure if it can be applied universally but I’ve used the fact that I am demotivated about writing the blog as inspiration to write a blog post. Clever or wot!? 🙂 . On a more general level you could just try to use the fact that you have realised you are demotivated as a source of motivation, and so turn the whole thing on it’s head!
- Let people know what you are working on – If you are trying to do something at home you must say that you are working otherwise be at constant risk of being interrupted. (I almost never do this so this is one for me to work on!!!). The corollary in the office is that you should tell your colleagues what you are working on, then you are accountable for it. This will often happen in team meetings or daily catch ups anyway, but there are periods at my work where this doesn’t happen and you can get away with drifting for a while. If this starts to happen, I need to tell other people what I’m doing and then I will simply have to do it!
- Check out this list – If all else fails check this list of 50 things to keep productive. I’ll be saving this in my favourites to skim through next time I’m feeling like this!
What do you do to keep motivated? Have you ever gone through a prolongued period of demotivation and how did you pull yourself out of it?
Cheers and have a great and motivated weekend folks! 🙂
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