I’m sure you know the feeling all too well: after all of your hours of hard work, you feel drained, exhausted, and ready to throw in the towel. You’re not alone in this feeling; many people start with a fire under their butt and an unstoppable enthusiasm for their project, but lose interest once they hit a snag or plateau. Motivation can be hard to come by when you’re working on something that doesn’t fully interest you but it shouldn’t be! Here are ten tips from Noodletalk that will help keep you motivated and productive:
1) Take care of yourself – The first thing to do is make sure you take care of your body. Make sure you eat well, get enough sleep and exercise regularly. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll be relying on willpower to get through your workday – and willpower doesn’t last long. If you’re running on empty all the time, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it.
2) Set your own deadlines – Just as important as making sure to take care of yourself is setting realistic deadlines and following them. If something’s due in a week and you know that it takes you two weeks to complete something like it, don’t tell yourself that you can get it done in one week. You’ll just end up stressed, tired and still with no work done.
3) Know when to ask for help – Someone once told me that the fastest way to learn something is to ask someone who already knows how to do it. If you’re working on a project and you get stuck, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Chances are, there are people out there who have been in your position before and can help you get back on track. It’s better to spend an hour asking someone questions and learning than it is spending five hours wandering around in a haze of frustration!
4) Be active – One thing that helps me when I’m getting bored or feeling distracted is moving around. When I’m working on something, I try to do a little bit of something else every once in a while. For example, if I’m researching, I’ll take a five minute break to go throw my laundry in the dryer and come back. This gives me a chance to refresh myself and my brain before diving back into the research.
5) Try new things – If your project is getting stale or boring, try taking a break from it. Instead of forcing yourself to work when you’d rather be spacing out or listening to music, work on a different project or start doing something new. Trying something else can be fun and will give you fresh ideas when you come back to the project.
6) Set goals – Having goals can be motivating because it gives you something to work towards. Something like: by the end of this month, I want to have [x] done. This kind of goal is different from a deadline because you’re giving yourself a goal even if it’s later than a deadline and you’re not worrying about stressing yourself out or not hitting the deadline.
7) Have fun – Finally, remember that what you are working on should be fun for you! If something is too stressful or boring, look at it in a different way or take a break and try again later.
8) Remind yourself of your goals – A great way to keep yourself motivated is to write down all of your personal goals and project goals on a piece of paper. You can even make a little chart or outline with it. Then, every time you get an idea in your head that will get you closer to one of those goals, go through the chart and remind yourself why this is so important to you.
9) Choose something that’s motivating – There’s always a good reason why someone does something, even if they don’t think they have one. If you’re working on something because it has nothing to do with your life or interests, it’s going to be hard for you to stay motivated. If your project doesn’t interest you, try picking something else to work on.
10) Have something you’re working towards – As simple as it sounds, having a goal in mind inspires people. When I was little, I used to ask my mom what we were going to do at the end of each day. It didn’t matter if it was the end of the week or the end of a month – hearing her say “we’re going to go home” after we’d spent hours at the park was enough for me to keep playing. Don’t underestimate the power of that kind of motivation!