On Tuesday, I posted on a somewhat dreary picture on my Instragram of some flowers on my back porch covered in rain (see below), with a caption stating how unmotivated I felt that day. I'm honestly not sure why I had such a hard time concentrating or feeling inspired. Robbie is off the road this week and was taking care of Essley, so the opportunity to fully focus on work was there. And Essley had slept for a record number of hours in a row the two nights before, so my lack of motivation wasn't because I was tired. I wasn't in a bad mood either. Maybe it was the rain (my energy level is notoriously affected by the weather), or a delayed come-down after a weekend peppered with activity, or the moon cycle (it was the last day before the full moon). Or maybe it was just one of those random days where you don't feel like doing anything. But I couldn't shake it. I did get my work done for the day, but only the bare minimum, and each task on my 'to do' list took me much longer than it should have taken. My heart wasn't into it; I was just going through the motions. At the end of the day, I felt guilty. The days where Robbie is able to take care of the baby - thus giving me the ability to focus completely on work - are precious, and I felt like I wasted a whole day. It was honestly kind of a bummer.
Several people posted comments under my Instagram picture along the lines of "I'm feeling unmotivated today too!" and it made me think. Clearly, we all have days now and then where it's especially hard to find motivation. We're all busy, and I have a feeling that most of us do end up feeling some level of guilt or disappointment at the ends of days like I had on Tuesday, where we don't accomplish much. So how do we avoid this? I should state that I'm of the mindset (thanks to learning the hard way) that forcing yourself to complete projects or overworking yourself when you're really not up to it can seriously backfire. But we all have jobs and/or school and/or kids/pets to take of and we can't just remove ourselves from reality because we're not feeling it on a given day. So how do we power through? How do we give ourselves a boost to avoid just going through the motions?
I'll admit that I didn't try very hard to break out of my rut on Tuesday. I kind of just went with it. And sometimes that's okay. But next time I have one of those days where I find myself incessantly staring out the window daydreaming about the weekend, I'd like to be a little more prepared.
One thing that has proven very successful for me on unmotivated days (less rainy ones than Tuesday, anyway) is to take a 30 minute walk outside. Our bodies like to stay moving, and when you combine movement with fresh air, it creates a serious mental pick me up with benefits that can continue into the rest of your day. Another thing that helps is to run out and grab a coffee or tea. The simple act of changing environments for a few minutes (even if it involves a car and a drive-through) and treating myself to my favorite beverage can help turn a lazy day into a productive one. Something else I do on a daily basis that especially helps on the days where I need a productivity boost is to create a reward system. "When I finish returning unanswered emails, I can have a snack." Or "after I work for two hours straight, I can play on Pinterest for 20 minutes." Or "the sooner I finish today's work, the sooner I get to play with Essley." Knowing that there is a reward at the end is a great incentive to get just stuff done.
So help me out you guys. What do you do to find motivation and/or inspiration when you're having days like I had on Tuesday? I'd love for you to leave your tips for me (and fellow Bubby and Bean readers) in the comments!
FILED UNDER: random thoughts/life