How To Deal With Lack of Motivation

I admit it. I haven’t had much motivation lately for blogging. Life events have crowded blogging into a corner of my mind and are threatening to beat it up and take its lunch money.

Sometimes when you open your eyes and look around you, all you can see are the mountains that surround you. The many little foothills and gentle ridges that are far closer are beneath the level of your vision and thus, out of your field of view. All you are seeing are those towering, threatening mountains. Every once in a while you get a flash of those sharp, lofty peaks as the clean white teeth in the jaws of life, about to snap shut and devour you completely.

I know I’m not alone in getting these feelings occasionally. People I talk to often admit in private that they feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by all the pressures of life. This paralysis is the most dangerous thing. It allows your fears and doubts to rule your life. It can sap your motivation until your confidence and optimism are on life support, barely breathing.

Here are a few brief tips that help me and I think will help you to get back that spark that’s been so dim lately:

  • Take a time out. A little breather away from the pressures of work and life can help you to restore some sense of balance. Take a mental health day from work and make a concerted effort to not even think about work or other pressing concerns. Don’t take too long, though, as things will pile up in your absence.
  • Organize. Clear out some of the clutter in your life. Yes, I mean the physical crap that piles up around you. While you’re taking your mental health day, clean up your house or apartment. Just pick up a few things or do the dishes or throw out those old magazines and newspapers you’ll never read. When you get back to work, start clearing the papers off your desk.
  • Deal with one thing at a time. If you have trouble with it already, you’ll have to learn to just say no. For your sanity’s sake, focus on one thing at a time. Ignore the phone and email until you’ve completed at least one task. You’ll feel better that you’ve accomplished something. You may want to break down larger projects into microtasks.
  • Change. Make some changes in your daily routine for starters. Even small changes will inject some much-needed variety into your life. Small changes can lead to big changes after they become habits.
  • Develop a personal mission statement. This step is important. I posted recently about the importance of having a personal mission statement and my own work on developing one for myself. Take your time with this one, though. You’ll want to really think about what’s important to you and how you want to live your life.

I hope you’ll find these ideas useful. That lack of motivation you’re feeling isn’t a good feeling, is it? Remember that your discomfort is a call to action. There’s no better time than right now to start building a better future.

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12 Responses to How To Deal With Lack of Motivation

  1. I would add a couple of things to that list:

    Be Grateful – sit and think about what you have right now that you can be grateful. Whatever it is that you are demotivated about (in this case your blog), be grateful that you have it, be grateful that youhave the opportunity to blog at all, that you have readers, that you live in a society that has access to this technology.

    Rethink The Future – I often find that demotivation creeps in when I am stuck in the here and now and seeminly not getting anywhere. The easiest way for me to get motivated is to get myself excited about what is still ahead. Revisit goals, dream big, look how far you have come and get excited.

  2. Matt Keegan says:

    Ray, I go through this from time to time. Just yesterday I attempted to handle a variety of tasks and wasn’t able to finish one. Today, I wrote three articles of 500 words or more and I have plenty left in me for the day.

    Prioritizing, refocusing, and reordering are some of my favorite words. Plus, pulling back from what you are doing to find something else to do (as mentioned by you) can be very helpful too.

  3. Blackwater says:

    Thanks for some very thoughtful tips Ray.

    I find myself in this spot from time to time, and making sure to deal with things one at a time always helps me.

    What I usually do is to take some time to really think through what I want/need to have done. Then I put it down on a checklist, prioritize it, and check it off one item at a time.

  4. Pingback: How do you overcome blogger's block? | Interesting Observations

  5. Music Terms says:

    We would not be human if we did not have these moments. To recognize downs you must have the experience of ups and vice versa. An attitude of gratitude for what we have and are, helps a great deal too.

  6. Leather Recliners says:

    This feeling sounds so familiar. very now and then I just cannot get myself to work and end up wasting time. That makes me feel guilty and takes me to an even lower level. I need to work on point 5, set up a goal for myself and drive myself towards it.

  7. ray says:

    @Caroline: That’s great advice and a great insight about being stuck in the here and now. The present is gone so quickly that we should squeeze as much joy out of it as we can while keeping our hopes alive for the future.

    @Matt: I suppose the lesson in this is that we should accept the fact that we will have bad days and unproductive ones and that we just have to roll with the punches.

    @Blackwater: That’s a great idea and one that I use sometimes, too. There is something very satisfying about crossing off accomplishments from a list, however minor they may be.

    @Music Terms: So true. You and Caroline both mentioned gratitude and it’s something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. We are all fortunate to be alive and engaging in this conversation from our various parts of the world.

    Thanks everyone for the great comments. You are helping me to get back on track!

  8. Good *helpful* advice from your post and all the comments. Really good, and I need it at the moment.

    I’ve had a couple of days when my checklist of things to do devolved into a boondoggle of fresh problems, or I simply could not focus enough for the follow through. Every day like that enlarges the feeling of demotivation or discouragement.

    Besides the advice, it’s good to remember these experiences can quickly be replaced by days of fresh and focused productivity.

  9. ray says:

    Hey Essie. That’s so true. Sometimes we just need to give ourselves a little break and accept the fact that not every day is going to be one in which we give our top performance or accomplish the most. I think really accepting that helps to get us back on track as quickly as possible. Thanks for commenting!

  10. olivier says:

    I like to do a paid post or 2 per month. Anything to have some money for my statistics :-).
    I also find that keeping a dairy gives me lots of inspiration. I note down every idea I have for a new post. I now have some 50 posts pending because I do not have sufficient time to write them all 🙂

  11. Stopping to take short breaks can do your business some good. Once in a while you should treat yourself, after all you deserve it for all the hard work you do put up on a daily basis.

  12. Like the others say here: This sounds uncanny familiar.

    Procrastination is very common among people who work from home, and why not kick your own butt from time to time?

    You do this for a living (well, at least I do) and sometimes work isn’t all fun and games.

    Try to spice up a dull day with bottled water (#1 reason to feel tired and uninspired), lot of apples and some nice music.

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