Friday, January 25, 2013

Not About Yarn: Maintaining Motivation

Sweetshoppers, I got nothin'.

This has been me, all week.

If motivation was air, I'd have suffocated somewhere back around Tuesday.This week has been crazy rough, and I find myself dragging behind all of the many challenges and disappointments life has brought my way in 7 short days. I'm a little depressed and grumpy, and the last thing I want to do is pick up a ball of yarn, let alone grind away at any of my other jobs. 

Life is full of ups and downs, of course, and I've lived enough of it to know that things will get better, usually quicker and better than I think. As a result, I find myself thinking of strategies to motivate myself so that I don't lose any ground gained while I'm in a bit of a slump. 

That said, SweetShoppers, here are my 5 tips on how to maintain motivation;

1. Don't stay in the same state that is draining you. In other words, don't stay mad/sad/disappointed/tired. Get some sleep, blow off some steam, cry, yell, do whatever you need to do to get past the emotional state that is draining your mojo. For me, resolving things emotionally is the first step in being able to reach a logical resolution for a situation or state of being that is causing me to drag.   
For example, I've had to deal with a VERY frustrating professional situation this week. Without giving too many details, I was unexpectedly put in a situation that resulted in major loss of expected income and I'm going to have to really scramble to make up the gap over the next month or so.
Things like this happen in business all of the time, but I think what infuriated me is that I didn't do anything wrong.  I crossed all of my t's, dotted all of my i's, and as a result of someone else's poor ethics, was left holding the (very expensive) bag.
So how to deal in a way that keeps me going, rather than drags me down?
First I did this; 

Then I did this;  

And then I kept it moving. The last step is the most crucial one. Do whatever you have to do to get past the emotions of the moment or that time and move on.
Which brings us to...

2. Do something else. If you're not motivated to do something, don't force yourself to do it--but do force yourself to do something else. By that I don't mean talk yourself into sitting on the couch watching reruns of Maury, either. I mean do something, something productive, whether it's clean out that junk drawer, take a job, call a friend, write a letter--do something. Make yourself do something productive, even if it's not your highest priority item, and then return to what it was that you were supposed to do. Sometimes you need the distraction of another accomplishment to pump you up and bring you back to your original goal. 

3. Don't be afraid to relax a little bit. Sometimes, a lack of motivation is how our brain and body tell us that it's time to crank things into a lower gear for a little while. So, if doing something different isn't helping, go ahead and kick back for a bit. Set a timer or an alarm and do a whole lot of nothing for an hour, or longer if you can. Take a day and drive to the mountains or the lake. Watch that Netflix movie that's been gathering dust on top of your TV. Learn that new random thing you've always been meaning to. Go out for coffee. Sit around in your pajamas and play a video game. Do whatever it is you want to do, and don't feel guilty. Your batteries might need recharging and that's okay. But once they've recharged...

4.Do the hustle!

Okay, maybe not THAT hustle. You've let off steam, reorganized all your kitchen cabinets and watched three seasons of Mad Men without a break, but you STILL can't pick up your hooks, needles, or laptop without wanting to disintegrate into a puddle of sloth. Maybe this means it's time to be creative. Do what I learned from a particularly talented older relative and hustle.  Get creative. If you're used to doing all of your selling from behind a laptop, get up and walk your product into shops. If you usually type out sixteen invoices and solicit four new clients every day like clockwork--change it up. Add something new, go somewhere new, get your face into a place it's never been before and bring your business with it. Don't forget that you are awesome, you are professional, and you are worth being paid for your work--but only IF you do it! So instead of holding to the pressures of your regular schedule, feel free to add in all of those new ideas that you've been holding back on because of routine and see if you can redevelop that routine in new and different ways. You have nothing to lose, everything to gain, and you can always accomplish more if you are able to allow yourself to do so.
And if, at the end of the day, none of this helps...

5. Just do it anyway. Sometimes, beautiful people, there's nothing to it but to do it. All of the motivational tactics and techniques in the world won't pull you out of a slump so you simply have to get up, put on your big girl panties, and just do it. Some of my best work has come out of periods where I was just grinding through, making myself work even though my heart wasn't in it, let alone my mind or body. Some of my WORST work has come out of those periods too, but if life is a race, the winners are the ones who keep running, not the ones who run the best but quit two feet from the finish line because it got hard. Sometimes things will be difficult, but you have to keep going if you ever want them to be better. Work hard with what you have, live to the fullest of your ability, and don't give up. You'll look back on these days and feel good that you made it through some day.

At least, that's what I tell myself, anyway. :-)

Peace, beautiful people!! 

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