It happens over and over again.
I sit down to write and…I can’t.
I can’t think of anything to ask, I can’t think of anything to say–sheesh, I can’t even think about anything to think about.
No, it’s not writer’s block. It’s lack of motivation.
So very often in my life this sort of thing occurs. Whether it’s about writing, about cleaning, about running errands, even about having fun, I come up against a wall of deadly apathy which kills any germs of interest or effort which might have manifested themselves.
It may be the depression. It probably is the depression. But I know a lot of people without depression feel this too.
And we’ve got to do something about it.
I’ve come up with a few tricks to ignite the motivation candle when I’m feeling absolutely dead inside, and I’d like to share them with you. It can take a little kick to get the process going, but once it starts, it really works.
1. Write down the goal.
It doesn’t matter what it is: write a blog post, do the dishes, fold the laundry, read a book. Just write it down. If you spell out what you are aiming for, it’s almost like starting to do it.
2. Think about what it takes to reach the goal.
What do you have to do to finish whatever it is you are setting out to accomplish? Try to think of every detail.
At first, doing this may seem like you are making the task look even bigger. But don’t worry; it’s not actually making it bigger. Don’t let this step overwhelm you, because we are going to turn any size of task into one easily within your reach.
3. Break down all the steps into mini-steps.
And when I say mini, I mean mini. Every little thing you have to do consider a step. The beauty of doing this is that when you complete even a little thing, you have a sense of accomplishment.
It may be a small and faint sense, but it’s there nevertheless. You can check something off the list, which gives you the momentum to go on to check something else off the list.
4. Add something pleasant to enjoy while you are performing the mini-steps.
Maybe it’s listening to a book or some music. Maybe it’s a hot cup of tea or coffee. I don’t know. But think of something you enjoy that is compatible with what you are doing, and make that thing part of the process.
5. Take the first step.
That’s it. Just take the first step. If you need to write, sit down at your desk. You can do that. It’s easy to do. And look at you! You got the process started.
6. Focusing only on the next step, do one step at a time.
You sat down at your desk. Now open your computer. Great! Step two accomplished. Now for step three….
When you focus on tiny little steps like this, something that seems obstructively unpleasant, uninteresting, or unattractive suddenly becomes doable.
7. Repeat until you have accomplished what you wrote down at the beginning of the process.
What you are doing is essentially holding your own hand and babying yourself through the process. And there’s nothing shameful or wrong about that; it’s a responsible way of taking charge of your life and overcoming your problems.
The biggest difficulty for me is making myself start this process. However, if I have something I need to get done no matter what, I can usually force myself to muster the energy to get the ball rolling. As I said before, it takes a little kick to get the process started, but it really does work.
What about you? What do you do when you are feeling unmotivated? Do you have any tricks you can share? Tell me about them in the comments, because I want to know!