Thursday, 2 April 2015

What Do You Do When Your Motivation’s Shot?

Holy shoot!  I just hit a wall.  So frustrating.  Here I was with all these wonderful plans of things to do today and now my motivation to do them is gone.  What do I do?  There’s got to be a way to get that motivation back, and procrastinating isn’t one of them.

I was sitting outside in the nice hot sun on Saturday wondering what my next blog post would be.  Then it struck me:  motivation!  It comes and goes and it never seems to be in the right place at the right time.  That was when I got thinking.  What things could I do to get back that motivation that hasn’t already been said before?

I know from experience that wallowing in your own sense of lack of motivation is a bottomless pit, and you just keep falling.  I’m pretty sure some of you would agree.  You’ve also figured out that sometimes the “just start” tip doesn’t seem to cut it.  But that’s just it, isn’t it?  If we only started, we’d get our motivation back.

While I was sitting there, my favourite green pen in my hand and notebook open to a blank new page, I began jotting down what you can do when your motivation’s completely shot.

1.  Brainstorm Ideas

It began with an idea:  “what to do when your inspiration’s shot.”  I drew a big cloud around it and then sat there for a moment, wondering what I should write first.  The first thing that came to my mind was brainstorming.  Whenever there’s planning involved, brainstorming is the first place to start.

I wrote the word down and drew a circle around it.  Then I started writing down ideas related to brainstorming.  What is it?  A bunch of ideas off the top of your head.  How does it help?  It gets your brain thinking.  Once you have one or two ideas written down, the rest will come in a flurry of neural activity.  

I use brainstorming every day, whether it’s for my blog, writing my book, or making a to do list.  It helps get you focused on the task that needs to be done without worrying about all the little distractions in there.  To do this, I use a web diagram for my blogs and a list of things to do and things done for the to do list.  Having your ideas on paper (or tablet or whatever you’re using) puts the task into perspective.

2.  Eat Something Healthy

So there I was, jotting down a list of things related to brainstorming when all of a sudden my stomach growled.  Oh, that’s right.  I hadn’t eaten lunch and it was already 3pm.  My first instinct was to go for the junky carbs, but I know what happens if I go down that road:  I feel sluggish and worse than before I lost my motivation.

I whipped up some miso soup instead and was left feeling more satisfied than before.  A nicely balanced meal will make you not only feel better, but more energized for the task you have to do.

Better yet, make that snack or meal a break from the task instead of eating while you’re working.  It’ll give your brain a rest, too.

3.  Do Something Else for a While

Be careful!  This one can backfire on you.  Just last Sunday, I played my Nintendo 3DS for “an hour” and before I knew it, the day was gone.  I don’t recommend media of any kind as a proper break from what you’re doing, nor as a way to tackle your lack of motivation.  That includes checking your cell phone for messages.  The most media will do is make you more groggy and lifeless.

Here’s my recommendation:  MOVE!  Get out of your seat, do some stretches, go for a walk, do SOMETHING that gets you up and moving.  Sitting around restricts your brain activity.  Once you get your blood pumping, you’ll find that the ideas will start coming to you, and that motivation that seemed so far away before will be in your grasp.

Even a breath of fresh air will make you feel energized and ready for anything.  You shouldn’t be staring at a computer, iPad or phone all day anyway as it’s bad for your health.  My favourite thing to do during break time is going out for a jog.  While I’m running, my brain goes crazy with activity, thinking of ideas for my blog or plot lines for my book.

4.  Hang Out With People

Sometimes you just need a break when you’re dogging through that term paper or an uninteresting scene in your book.  You’ve slaved away for hours writing useless crap, or sat on your butt staring at a blank page for the past hour with no sign of any progress.  Sounds like you need to hang out with some of your BFFs.

Extroverts have an easier time with this because they find their peace in the company of others.  Introverts like myself, however, need to put a little extra effort into this whole social thing. 

Hiding away in your room or house all day without anyone around you can actually be damaging.  Even though I’m an introvert and I treasure my alone time, I still need to balance that with social activity.  Being able to discuss things with people can refresh your mind and leave you ready for more when you get back to whatever it is you were doing.  I personally can handle about two to three hours of people before I’m ready to retreat into my cave of an apartment for individual tasks.

Now I know what you’re thinking:  “Girl, I’ve got a family.  I’m just too busy to go anywhere.”  It can be a challenge when your friends are all busy with work and their own families, too, but you can always schedule some fun time.  Having a schedule will give you enough incentive to fill in the time beforehand with as many productive things as you can.

5.  Make a Routine

I get the least done when I have lots of time on my hands.  When you make a routine, not only will you be more inclined to do something, but it’ll become such a habit that finding the motivation to do it will be second nature.

I used to hate jogging.  In fact, my mother would have to yell at me to get off my butt and get out for a twenty-minute jog.  It wasn’t until becoming an adult that I made a choice to set aside time every day to do my own exercise.  The same goes for writing my book.  I set aside at least an hour to write, and I made a blogging schedule to hold myself accountable.

Having those time frames and sticking to them gets you motivated.  It’s pretty tough to make something a habit, but once you do it over and over again, it’ll be second nature.  You’ll find that motivation is right at your doorstep when it needs to be, or not too far away for you to call over while you’re working on something.

What about you?  What do you do when your motivation’s run away from you?  Do you just start?  Do you have your own way of handling things?  Leave a comment and let me know.  In the meantime, I’ve got to go tackle the rest of my to do list!

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