Okay let’s try this again. More of a general post today. Incidentally, I found this post just now about the truth about what it takes to be a writer and how sometimes you have to do the work even when you don’t want to. It seemed applicable (and there’s a contest, but I wouldn’t share it if I didn’t actually think it was good), so I thought I’d share it here. In fact, the whole blog looks great and I definitely want to keep my eye on it in the future. Okay, on to the main post!
I have a lot of problems with motivation. (I’m not sure, but it’s possible you may have noticed this about me.) There are various reasons for this, from mental health to more common human faults, but the bigger question is: What should I do about it?
I’ve tried all sorts of things. I’m very good at organizing things, and even enjoy it, but I’m at heart a very chaotic person. This translates to me liking things like lists and schedules in theory, but in practice they quickly fall apart, because those sorts of things start to feel like obligations and gee I’m feeling very inspired to do something else today that would also be productive, but I really should do that other thing on the list. Outside of work, I don’t do well with obligations and putting them off quickly leads to guilt. The more I feel like something is an obligation the more guilty I feel about not doing it and the longer it takes to get it done. It’s a very powerful shame spiral and it happens every time I try to be more productive by being more organized.
So I’m trying something new. I’m trying every day to be productive for 4 hours. Not as a number I have to reach, but as a goal to shoot for. I’ve actually only hit 4 hours once since I started this about a week ago. A wide variety of things count as productive, but some things that are technically productive but that aren’t really priority goals right now or easily become time sinks (networking on forums and other social media, anyone?) don’t count. I can take days off, but never more than one in a row unless I’m sick or there is another extenuating circumstance (I was feeling unwell yesterday, which is why this post is on Friday instead of Thursday). I keep deadlines to a minimum.
And you know what? It’s a little early to tell, but so far it’s working! I’ve gotten so much done in the last week. I did hours of cleaning, which my house really needed; quite a bit of studying things that will help me with my goals in the future, such as SEO or photography; some brainstorming and fleshing out of ideas for writing projects I’m working on; and I even worked on some projects relating to visual art, which I tend to put off the most because it is hardest for me. I’ve gotten so much done that I haven’t felt bad at all that I usually do more like 2-2.5 hours than 4 or that I decided to take a day off after only 2 days of doing this. I’m really hoping that this method will be the key for me, because I have a lot of great and exciting projects planned, if only I’d actually get to work on them!
What do you find helps the most when it comes to your productivity?