So, I’m sitting here, and I was thinking, what do I write about? I’m fresh out of ideas. But then, another thought occurred to me. No, I’m not. The truth is, motivation, rather—sometimes has to be hit over the head and dragged out from under its rock. It doesn’t always fall in your lap. Sometimes you just have to muster it up—to create it.
But how do we go about creating motivation? How do we shove off lethargy or just plain indifference to find the passion for whatever it is we’re doing…are supposed to be doing…want to do?
One of the best ways for this, is of course, to make sure you are pursuing something you love. This is easy when it’s a passion for a hobby or a calling. I’m currently writing IRON BONES, the third Wild Hunt book, and I’m madly in love with this series. It pulls me in deep. Writing’s never easy but it’s not a chore with this series. I look forward to diving in to the work, I love seeing the characters as they begin to grow and evolve. I’m committed to it, so the motivation is easy to spin out. I just ask myself, ‘what will happen today in Ember’s world?’ and ‘what do I get to learn about the characters this time?’
But what if you are faced with a task that you don’t love? Something that must get done, or that you really need to do in order to move on to other things? How do you stir up the energy and motivation to approach the kind of chores that are necessary but that aren’t exciting or fun?
- If you can, just do it. Seriously, sometimes you just have to muscle through and get the work done, whether or not you want to. It can help to promise yourself a reward. “If I clean the kitchen, I get to read for an hour.” “If I pay the bills and balance the checkbook, I get to play a video game for an hour.” Rewards are great motivators and can instill that feeling that—if you work hard, if you do what you need to, then something good happens. I’m never above bribing myself, if need be.
- If you still can’t get started, examine why. Are you feeling overwhelmed? If so, perhaps you need to prioritize your to-do list. If there are a number of overlapping tasks, figure out which one needs to be done first in order to smooth the way on the next one? Break the chores down into simpler steps. If you need to clean the counter before you can wash the dishes, then wash the counter first. Think of it like a recipe. Before you can make Thanksgiving gravy, you need to cook the turkey in order to have the drippings. So decide the order in which you need to complete the chores that are waiting, and take them one at a time.
- Remember, every day, people all over the world are having to face chores and tasks they don’t want to do. You’re not being punished, you’re not alone. We all have to face unpleasant tasks at one time or another, and usually on a regular basis. Sometimes, it helps to just acknowledge that yes, whatever we’re having to do kind of sucks, but it’s necessary and sometimes we have to be an adult and get on with it. In other words: Just do it.
- Call in a friend to help. Offer to return the favor—if they help you clean your house, you’ll help them weed their garden, or you’ll watch their kids for an afternoon. Something of that sort. Unpleasant tasks become a lot more fun when you’re working at them with a friend.
- This is perhaps the most important. Examine what will happen if you don’t get the task done. If you don’t pay your bills—you’ll lose power and perhaps be kicked out of your house. If you don’t clean the kitchen, you invite vermin to infest the place, and you risk making people sick. If you don’t do your homework, you’ll fail the class. Look at the consequences of not acting. Most people can drum up the motivation to get the work done when they actually consider what will happen if they don’t. On the days when the motivation to write isn’t there, I remember that I have to pay the mortgage and to do that, I have to sell books, and to do that, I have to write the books. And that is usually all it takes.
So tell me, what are your personal tricks to get motivated when you don’t feel like it? Bring on the constructive comments—because remember, here on Inspiration Corner, we don’t let ourselves sit and wallow. We take action. 😉