How to stay Motivated

by - Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How to stay motivated.

Or lack of… I guess everyone has the occasional slump in motivation and I’m definitely feeling it now so to try and spur myself on, I wanted to read a bit and try and kick myself back into gear. I found some pretty interesting stuff but life's too short to post it all here. My 2 second summary is that we all have basic motivation like hunger/thirst, safety, etc. which then moves onto a more complex level where each individual has different motivational triggers, some of which are listed below.

  • intrinsic motivators:  Achievement, responsibility and competence. motivators that come from the actual performance of the task or job -- the intrinsic interest of the work.
  • extrinsic:  pay, promotion, feedback, working conditions -- things that come from a person's environment, controlled by others.
The first particularly struck me because I think this is where a lot of creative people fit, we focus on the work and its quality and the achievement is in getting it right. The problem, maybe, is that working on something by yourself means that you don’t get the extrinsic motivators, there’s no hope of promotion or praise from the boss! Within that context, I guess it’s easy enough to lose heart sometimes :)
So where does an isolated crafter or blogger find inspiration and motivation?
In the case of craft work, sales can help spur you on. I love to do craft fairs where I can interact with customers and ask their opinion and get feedback. Good reviews are also brilliant, they give you that mental ‘pat on the back’ that says you’re doing something right. Don't be afraid to ask people to do a review if possible - I have a little request to review which goes with my shipping notification on my Etsy shop.

Sometimes just having a new idea is motivation enough.  It carries you through until you get it right and are happy with the result.  This applies to both writing and craft work for me, I can become completely engrossed (and somewhat obsessive sometimes!) when I have an idea.  The journey to that point can be where I lose momentum.  From a writing perspective, sharing my work and getting feedback, whether online or in person, can give me that little boost I need.
Procrastination is the enemy, everybody does it and I seem to be doing it a lot lately :) The worst thing about procrastination, though,  is that it drains your motivation because you’re so busy feeling guilty about putting things off, that there’s very little room in your head for new ideas and positivity. I’m going to attempt to follow my own advice after writing all this down, honestly!
I think also that most owners of small craft businesses end up tackling so many tasks that it can be overwhelming. I might wake up thinking that I’ll try a new scent blend and then I’ll remember that I haven’t updated Facebook or sent out a newsletter in ages. My brain tends to struggle with prioritising and basically just grinds to a halt sometimes.
I found this site on how to motivate yourself anytime which gives lots of tips for this situation, I particularly loved the dopamine tip outlined below which is from the site:
Get your dopamine firing
To help you finish a particularly boring task, you need to get your dopamine firing. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with the expectation of pleasurable experiences.
Now typically when your brain thinks of doing a boring project, dopamine isn’t released. The gates to your dopamine are firmly closed.
So how can you open up your dopamine floodgates?
By simply combining the task with some upbeat music that you really enjoy, people who you enjoy spending time with or your favourite café (go and order your favourite drink).
Triggering dopamine can help you to get tasks done and dusted. It helps the process be less painful too.”
Definitely worth a try I think.

My final observation is that, to be motivated most of the time, you need to stop and rest at least some of the time. Being constantly on the go and trying to produce quantity rather than quality can be draining and disheartening so don't be afraid to down tools, take a clean break and come back when you feel refreshed and invigorated.
Do you have any motivational tips or comments?  I'd love to hear them.

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  1. Ah Cliona, I completely empathise with the procrastination. I love too the idea of associating something you love with a task you are finding hard to start... thanks for that :-)

    1. Thanks Michelle, it's good to know I'm not the only one with this problem! :)

  2. Corporately I work remotely only going to an office once a month, it took me over 6 months to settle into this way of work and keep my motivation up. I like the sound of the article you have mentioned and will be checking it out. It must be hard for you and others in a similar position. Generally my understanding is that people are either motivated by one of two very basic feelings greed or fear if you can identify yours i.e. greed for financial rewards or fear of not succeeding (as an example) then it can help you to find motivational strategies that work for you. Good luck and I hope you have a great New Year xx

  3. Oh my - procrastination is literally my middle name! I over think, over faff and end up losing motivation! My aim for 2016 is to plan, get moving, and DO more! Great post. Happy New Year. Kaz x

  4. Thank you for this! I think the brain is fascinating and would love to know more about how it works. Combining menial tasks with something rewarding is a great idea. Sometimes I set up little rewards for myself, like a coffee break, social media break or a small snack after I've finished a certain amount of a task.

  5. I love hearing about where a blogger's motivation comes from. As so many of our blogs differ so much, what motivates us differs too. great post x

  6. I am a self motivated person but I am also a procrastinator so this does not always sit well together but somehow I make it work for me. Finding motivation by getting appreciation from others is always great but again just knowing you've done something you love without asking anyone to appraise it is nice too.

  7. I am definitely feeling the lack of motivation at the moment. I haven't slept yet because I was out for NYE's and I have so much work to do but it is taking me much longer today.

  8. I find having a to-do list keeps me motivated because I am competitive enough with myself to have wanted to do everything on it x

  9. I'm dreadful with procrastination. Though sometimes it's more that I start something and then get distracted and do something else. Sometimes it feels as though I'm doing half a job.

  10. Procrastination has always been one of my problems in life. The older I get the more I seem to think "ah I can do it tomorrow" too. I really need to work harder on it this year and associating something you love with a task you have to do is such a great tip.