I used to be a master procrastinator. Finding daily motivation was a foreign concept because I couldn’t get my butt out of bed long enough to accomplish anything. The day would pass me by, the clock would continue to tick, and none of the work would get done. It’s easy to shift to-dos over onto the next day when nothing has any real consequences, but it’s time to change that mindset. If you think about it, procrastinating the work has a significant consequence because it’s halting all of your progress. Any great stream of productivity you may have had goes down the drain when you can’t motivate yourself to continue. I’ve struggled with this for a long time, even telling myself that there will never come a day I’m productive at home. I blamed my unmotivated behavior on my environment when, in actuality, I just wasn’t driven enough to get things done. Sometimes, we have to give ourselves a reason to continue, and that’s precisely what I had to do to get myself up so I could get back to work.
Think about your reasons for beginning, any excitement you may have had when the project idea first surfaced, and channel that. You’re going to want to learn how to convince yourself that it’s time to get into work mode even when your break was extended a bit too long, or you lost track of time. The way I maintain motivation throughout my workday usually starts with how the day begins. If I start on the right foot, chances are I’m going to be more likely to continue even if I start to slow down throughout the day. So, I have a routine in place that gets me inspired, something that will kickstart my creativity and make me want to get up and write. Whether that’s settling in with a latte, reading a few inspiring articles, or catching up on some other thought-provoking content, I make sure that whatever I pick has some value to what I’m about to do later on.
You’re going to want to put yourself in a place where the ideas can find you, and instead of focusing your attention on how hard it may be right now, think about how the progress you make today will impact you later on. There have been days where no matter how hard I try, I can’t find it in me to get back to finishing my passion project, drafting my novel, or handling my expenses. On those days, I have to force myself to get up because if I don’t do something about it, everything will pile up and overwhelm me more. For example, I’m currently working on writing a new book, drafting two medium articles per day, and building a platform for my content. If I let procrastination get in the way of those goals, I’ll find it much more challenging to get back on track once inspiration does strike. Inspiration and motivation are two very different things, and you only need one of them to be productive even if you feel like you aren’t producing your best work all the time.
You have to be your own cheerleader if you want to bring these goals to fruition, and that starts by changing the way you think about what you’re working on. I’ve dealt with imposter syndrome a lot in the past as well, and I still feel like a fraud sometimes when I think about my career. Saying things to myself like, “you’re not really a writer,” but I have to acknowledge that I am. I write every day, I work freelance, and I still find difficulty being creative ever so often. The truth is finding motivation every day stems from how badly you want to succeed. You’re going to find a way to make things work if you’re settled on that idea, and you won’t let anything stand in your way. However, if you’re stuck and not sure how to begin, here are a few ways I get back into the right mindset to begin creating again:
Keep a journal and actually track your progress.
This one has helped me because I went through a period where I stopped journaling, and I legitimately found it so difficult to collect all my thoughts long enough to draft a post. We all need a place to word dump and play around with good or even bad ideas.
Plan like a maniac and follow through.
I used to plan a lot, but the planner would end up collecting dust on my desk, and I never actually checked it. Eventually, especially while picking up freelance work, I knew I’d have to revisit it to get my projects in on time. So, now I’m periodically checking my planner throughout the day and utilizing my google calendar to keep me on track.
Read, research, and consume content that continues to teach you something.
This is the most important one because not only will it keep you motivated to keep working, but it’ll also help you formulate new content ideas that you’re going to want to explore. Whenever I stop reading or watching anything that piques my interest or genuinely gets me thinking, I find it to be quite challenging to think of new ideas to write about. It’s amazing what a little reading time a day can do for us as creatives. So, don’t let it get away from you, because there are plenty of great short pieces that can pack a punch and get you motivated enough to start.
I hope these ideas help you stay motivated all day long and get you to start planning out how to achieve those dreams. It’s time we actively start working towards not only beginning but finishing the projects at hand.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post! Let’s stay in touch.
Anisa Nasir is a freelance writer and aspiring novelist. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and family. She’s the writer behind As She Writes.