On motivation

I’m really struggling to motivate myself at the moment, despite having a lot of reasons to get myself working.

Generally, I tend to work best when I have a stack of things to do, and I’ve got external deadlines – not that I’m a last minute worker at all! If someone else asks me to do something, I’ll knuckle down and get it done…but I know my own deadlines can be shifted, and I don’t have to explain to anyone else. So now, when I’m way ahead of where I need to be and I have a lot of work that’s a “some point” deadline…I’m finding it hard to actually get off my ass and work.

I tend to struggle with motivation anyway. I tend to see my failures more clearly than the successes (thanks, brain) and remember all the things I haven’t done. I don’t see how far I’ve come; I just see all the things I missed or didn’t do. I want to do a whole load of things, I mean to do them, and then I get home and I’m tired and I just get distracted. And I’m also struggling with future success at the moment, as it feels like everything I do right (finish a book, get published) is piling more work and more pressure on.

This is partly a facet of the anxiety-brain – I know a lot of people are going to be reading the above paragraph and nodding! It’s hard to convince yourself that you’re doing ok when you really feel like you’re not. It’s hard to see how far you’ve come when you’re feeling overwhelmed with how far you’ve got to go. I struggle against the “you’re not good enough” thoughts every day, and when they’re shouting that loudly, it’s really hard to add in the motivation to get that piece of work finished. (I’m not after sympathy, by the way. I deal with my brain, I know when it’s talking crap – it’s just getting it to shut up that’s the problem!)

So, a trial solution: I’m trying to think small. I’m trying to do little things each week (like #2bitTues and #1lineWeds on Twitter) and schedule them into my calendar, just so I keep myself up to date. I’m trying to do individual projects, to get myself excited about them so I’ll want to work on them rather than seeing them as a chore and another thing on the pile. I have to remind myself that I can change things, and if I’m not interested in something then I can stop working on it. I need to have the passion for my work!

So, my personal challenge for the next six months; I’m going to knuckle down. I’m going to get stuff done because I want to, and I know I can. Take that, brain!