I don’t know about you, but every year at this time I get completely, utterly and hopelessly UNMOTIVATED to do ANYTHING. Honestly, it’s a pain in the ass. I want to do things. I want to make progress. I want to set goals, but my brain and body do NOT sync. All I want to do is eat candy, sugar cookies and suck on hot cocoa all day long. WHY? WHY does this happen to me every December? Well, I think it’s a couple things.
- End of Year Crash & Burnout It’s all done. Clients are taken care of and you just need to collapse. Phew. It’s over.
- New Year Obligations & Planning Overwhelm I gotta make a plan and set some goals, but damn I’m tired.
- Vacation “Lazies” The sure-as-hell disease that hits about 3-4 days into a vacation, leaving you nap-ridden, tv-stoned and completely unable to complete anything, let alone get out of bed. Hence, it ruins your vacation because you can’t even move enough to go have fun, let alone work.
Really, I think I’m just writing this damn article to try and feebly motivate myself, but we’ll see what happens when I’m done, K? So how does one deal with a lack of motivation? How do you jumpstart your inner entrepreneur again? Sometimes someone you love, respect and/or admire comes along and provides a chance to do something new and different. New opportunity has a way of lighting the fire. Most times though, it’s really a matter of just getting the heck out of bed and putting one foot in front of the other. It’s kind of like working out; once you get to the gym you are fine, but getting there is a whole other story! Some strategies I use?
- Indulge in the lazies for a while. Sometimes you need to just veg out for a week or so and let the un-motivation work it’s way through your being.
- Make a list; a personal to-do list and a professional one. Sometimes, just writing down all the things you want to accomplish will help get you going again, knowing there’s lots to do and you are the only now who can do it. When you make that to-do list into a “task list” then all of a sudden it becomes easier to put one-foot-in-front-of-the-other.
- Rock out to your “GAME ON” song. For me, that’s either Lorde, Taylor Swift, or the Black Eyed Peas. And do it in a place you are not supposed to, like your office, or at the gym, or in church (wink, wink). There’s nothing quite like listening to Boom Boom Pow while dancing ridiculously in front of Photoshop and your Wacom tablet while retouching an image of an overweight dad with a receding hairline.
- Exercise. Getting your blood pumping really does work. It gets your brain endorphins rolling and that does nothing but help your mojo. Even a brisk walk outside will do it. It doesn’t even have to be brisk. Just walk to your damn mailbox for Pete’s sake.
- Complete mundane creative projects. Color in a coloring book. There are some amazing “adult” coloring books out there. I just bought the Secret Garden coloring book and I love it! By going to town on a tedious, but easy and not important creative work, it inspires your brain to get moving and makes you see in a different way.
- Complete minor projects. The minor ones that are easy to do and relatively quick to complete will make you feel like you are accomplishing a lot, and that in turn will get you motivated to take on larger, more daunting tasks. Again, it comes back to that list. List EVERYTHING you need to get done, then organize the list into easy tasks and more long-term projects. By attacking the “easy” list first you’ll get motivated to take on a larger task.
- Break down your long-term projects into smaller chunks. For example, do you need to rebuild your website? UGH. I know the feeling. I’ll put THAT one off til next week, month, year. Start by making a list of everything that needs to get done to complete the big project:
- Gather Portfolio Images
- Separate Images Into Groups
- Write Bio Content
- Make Contact Form
- List Pricing & Information Content
- Write “What To Expect” Content
- Write “Our Products” Content
- Write Blog Content
- Choose Website Platform
- Choose Website Theme
- Design Pages
- Upload Content
Phew! That’s a lot and not even a complete list. So what to do? Tackle one thing at a time. For example, just make a folder on your desktop named “portfolio” and pull 2-3 images from each session that you still have on your computer. Don’t worry about digging through the archives yet. Just get a little done for now. Then separate the images into groups: Newborns, Families, and Babies. Next, write a little bio. Oooohhhhh….I know! It’s intimidating. Seriously though, just vomit words on the page. You can fix how it sounds later. Don’t even care if it’s proper grammar or not…..heck don’t even write complete sentences. At least it’s on paper and waiting, and you are GETTING shit done.
8. Keep the end goal in mind. Sometimes, knowing what a completed project will do for you long term — make you money, bring in clients, or provide creative satisfaction—is enough to kick you in the ass. If it doesn’t get done, it won’t accomplish the goal. However, in the midst of un-motivation it’s still almost impossible sometimes to get passed your “blocks.” You may KNOW it will make you money or bring in clients, but you still don’t do it. Why? Something is “blocking” you. And it may be deeper inside your head than you think. Do you fear money? Success? Are you afraid of having to do more once you do more? It’s a common fear. When small success comes, it means having to keep the balls juggling in the air so you won’t lose that success, and then you feel pressured to earn more. It’s daunting and can sometimes spur on a lack a motivation. After all, it you don’t do anything, then nothing will happen and then you don’t have to worry because nothing is happening. Make sense? Yeah, us humans are all a bit nuts. My dad always said,
“Julia, there are only two kinds of people in the world. The neurotic and the dead.”
So true, dad. So true.
9. Do the hard stuff first, knowing the easy, fun stuff is coming. Treat it like a reward system. If I do this hard project first, then I can reward myself with the easy fun project that I really DO want to do. It’s not always a “go-to” method for beating un-motivation, but sometimes it’s a great tactic. Belinda and I always edit family images first in a session. They are hard and take a long time. But then, when they are done, we get to do the easy, cute baby images and we can whip those out in no time. It gets the session edited faster and we are rewarded for a job well-completed. Done is better than perfect. Better to be a kick-ass, half-ass than a lazy perfectionist.
10. Take a cold shower. It works every time. You’ll hate it, but at least you’ll wake up a bit, right?
So, did it work for me? Did writing an article pump me up for a New Year? Yeah, I’ve got goals and plans for next year in my back pocket. Now time to break ‘em down into that task list and set some deadlines. I think I’ll go do that with a left-over, sugar cookie and a cup of hot cocoa. Cheers! -Julia