Freelancers, side-hustlers, start-up folks — I hear you. As I scroll through Twitter, I too relate to the common concerns of working toward goals without the motivational pressure of punching a time clock or appeasing a boss.
Working for yourself is tough.
Once you have the time and tools, coming up with the ideas, direction and workflow for whatever task you’re tackling falls on your shoulders. The weight, well, can be surprising to newcomers.
Then, motivation wanes. Feelings of overwhelm or doubt creep in and we don’t make as much progress as we anticipated. Self-guided work is hard.
If you find yourself stuck in the swirl of apathy and creative paralysis, try shifting your mindset. Start by taking a deep breath, then ask yourself these questions.
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How did you make time to be at your desk?
Did you leave an employer that blocks your creative energy or stifles your progress? Or, are you logging hours before or after work? If so, view your time at your desk as an opportunity to finally make progress with your ideas. You are in control!
Why are you doing what you do?
At some point, you enjoyed an a-ha moment when you realized you love what you do. You stayed up at night thinking about it. You mentally filed away ideas. You smiled a lot. Go back to those feelings and let them fuel your next sit-down session.
Are you purposely scheduling creative time?
When you plan time to be at your desk, remember you’re consequently choosing to not spend time elsewhere. You’re purposely giving up time with friends, family, hobbies and responsibilities. Honor your choice to schedule creative time and make those desk moments count.
Can you recall a creative win?
Think about that time you received a positive comment on your work. Or, when your best friend praised what you do. Did you make money from your efforts? Did you get recognized publicly? Those things feel good! Draw on those memories.
Your creativity and inspiration are magical. Your deep thinking and output help you process your own feelings and ultimately bring ideas to the world. Whatever it is you make, create or do, it’s speaking to someone — maybe your inner self.
Staying motivated is tough, but sometimes all it takes is a little reminder about why you do what you do and what you’ve done to make it happen. Stick it out.
Now, go create!
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Note: This post was last updated on November 7, 2022.