I've been having a lot of trouble with motivation and procrastination lately, more than usual. This is an issue I had second thoughts about posting in case I give the impression that I'm lazy or not dedicated enough. Those are definite fears of mine. But I figure that most people have these issues, and they're not going to go away by ignoring them.
I'll give you a run down of my morning.
I got to sleep in (for me that's getting up at 8am), I stayed in my pyjamas and got right to work making Yoki tees while listening to Triple J's Hack podcast. I made two tees and then ran out of episodes of Hack to listen to. I made some food and ate it while looking for other podcasts to listen to.
For two hours. I didn't want to get back to work and the distraction was a relief.
One genre of podcast I came across was the motivation variety, and I listened to a few, mostly unimpressed. I started searching out articles on motivation and time management. Some time during the search I realised that none of them would help me. None of the authors know me. They don't know which unique combination of things works for me. They don't know the cause of my problem.
I realised that if I wanted answers, the only place I'd find them was in my own head. I guess it helps to know which techniques are out there. But the techniques I've found most useful are the ones I've come up with myself because I saw a problem and took the time to think about how to fix it in a way that works for me.
I opened a blank text file and started writing about what my bad work habits are, what my thought process is when they occur, why they happen and some ideas on how to alter them. Writing my thoughts down always helps to shed light on them.
I think I figured out what my problem is. Problems are.
I'm a bully to myself. I can't shake the thought that success and productivity are about control, that I need to push myself hard, harder, and force myself to fit into schedules, deadlines, I "should" do this and I "can't" do this.
I feel defeated every time I should be working and I'm not. I feel like I've given in, and even if it's only been ten minutes, my motivation declines to zero because I haven't had the willpower to stay productive. And if I don't have the willpower, how on earth do I expect to be successful? And if I can't be successful, what's the point? I'm procrastinating and lazy and I might as well give up now because it's too hard. I try to escape and distract myself with anything but work. I write off that hour or the rest of that day, thinking that tomorrow will be a new day and it'll be different and I'll definitely work harder then.
With all that written down I could try to work out solutions.
I think the root of my issue is feeling defeated. So I wrote, "What will help me to not feel defeated?" and rambled whatever came to mind. What sprang from that was the idea that I need to disregard thoughts of later or tomorrow, and how overwhelming the work I have to do between now and then is. I need to focus on now. And I need to make a choice, right now. I need to choose defeat or strength. Every minute is another minute that I have a choice about.
When I feel strong and capable I work best. When I feel defeated it doesn't matter which amazing time management techniques I try to enforce, my productivity still suffers.
It sounds a bit New-Agey, but I wrote down the positive ideas that address the root of my problem on Post-Its and stuck them around the place. It immediately made me feel energised again.
I don't want to have to bully myself into working. It's helpful to remember that I have a choice, that I can do this and that I want to do this. It's helpful to remember that these are things I enjoy. Instead of feeling backed into a corner and looking for an escape, I want to feel confident enough to be able to focus on what's important to me.
If you don't relate to this issue, it might sound ridiculous and obvious. If you sum it up in a sentence it seems simple, but I think it's pretty complex. For me, it is by far the most challenging aspect of running a business.
I'm going to spend a little time regularly to think and write journal-style about how to improve it. I can work it out.