How to Stay Motivated
The question on the title of this article is how to stay productive, but to stay productive, we need to stay motivated to be productive. So, in a time when our personal lives and work lives are intertwined like they’ve never been before for most of us (sorry people who worked from home before this,) how do we keep the fire alive in our every day lives? Well, for the most part, motivation is a lie. It’s a bit like waiting on divine intervention just to get something done, isn’t it? It’s pretty simple to stay motivated, you have to just start doing it. Once you start doing it, is when the motivation kicks in. Motivation is really the drive to be successful. Once we’ve completed that project that we dreaded starting, it’s feels nice, right? You suddenly want to relive that feeling? THAT is motivation. Below are a few methods I use to make it easier to get over that initial hump and start feeling that motivation coursing through my veins.
Now, I know that’s easier said than done to just “start” doing something, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it probably shouldn’t be perfect. I use a method called the FBW method. FBW stands for “Fast, Bad, and Wrong.” Which is exactly how the first draft of any project you’re working on should be. The idea is to just simply get anything on the page. You’ve done this before too. Think back to when you had to write an essay for school and your teacher was droning on about writing a first draft, or maybe even submitting that first draft. That’s this principle in action. This will lead to a domino effect of editing and re-writing and correcting yourself, and before you know it, the project that you dreaded starting, is suddenly coming to form and easier to finish. So remember, when you’re first starting something new, it doesn’t have to be perfect right away. It’s okay for it to be bad and wrong. Just make sure you fix it later.
2. A Place for Everything, and Everything in its Place
As I touched on in the opening, our work and personal lives are so intertwined now that most of us are working from home for the first time in our lives. This was something I struggled with when I had to lug cold and dry work material from its cold and dry home in an office, and bring into the warm and colorful and creative space I’d made myself at home. How do we reconcile those often incompatible bits of ours lives? Organize them. “A place for everything, and everything in its place,” the adage goes. And it’s good advice. Most of us have turned our dining tables into makeshift offices, or taken over our home office into a work-from-home office. Make sure that everything has a place, and everything is in its place.
3. Keep a Schedule
Just as our desk spaces should be organized, so should our lives. In the before times, it was easy, our days were regimented: Get up at 6 a.m., make coffee and breakfast, feed the dogs, get dressed, go to work, come home, cook, relax, wash, rinse, repeat. But now? Now all of those can be done in less time and in our pajamas. Which sounds great on paper, but suddenly it becomes messy and hard to tell when work ends and life begins. It’s important to keep a schedule similar to when it was safe to go into an office. Make sure you’re not just rolling out of bed and onto your desk. Granted, we are still going through a global pandemic, so allowing yourself to sleep in a little as you’re saving time on commuting is okay. But make sure you’re still setting an alarm, making that coffe, and sitting down and planning your day.
4. Use an App
To help keep things nice and neat, I use an app called “Notion” (not sponsored, but feel free to send me money anyways Notion.) There are others of its ilk that I haven’t played around with, but I do encourage you to do so. Notion was intuitive and quick to learn and was exactly what I needed when I needed it. The idea is to set a daily task list, set a daily journal, and set a space in the app that you can offload your thoughts so they don’t take up useful and limited brain space. For instance, I use Notion to write scripts and articles, write study guides and notes for certifications in my field, and keep a daily journal. The most life changing for me? The Journal. I never kept one, but it’s a good idea to reflect on the day behind you and keep track of things you’re grateful for. Another free tip? Keep this app, whichever one you choose, on both your laptop/computer and your cell phone. Use it as a journal that you keep with you at all times to make sure you capture whatever useful thought or idea rolls into your head when you least expect it.
5. Stay Productive
And finally we’re at the crux of the subject. Staying motivated and productive is all about keeping yourself in check, and setting yourself up for success. It’s not about waiting on that motivation to strike you. If you wait, it will never happen. But if you build it yourself, the motivation will come.