I am a writer with writers block. A sorry place to be. Nothing I write feels good enough to do anything with and because of that I havent been writing anything. I go to bed each night telling myself that tomorrow will be the day I get back on the path, tomorrow inspiration will strike, tomorrow I have to make myself write no matter what. Tomorrow arrives and I stare blankly at the empty page for an hour before deciding that I have more urgent pressing matters to attend to. The kitchen needs a clean, I could really do with baking some brownies, I havent called my grandma this week, I must watch that Facebook video ‘Can your cat do this?!’. The list goes on. Before I know it, another day has passed me by and I am left feeling guilty, depleted and wondering what it is that will restore my mojo.
I know that many of us are feeling this way in all aspects of our lives at the moment and I have been wondering why, at a time when we have more time than ever, aren’t we using it more wisely? Locking down in our homes feels like a great place to start when it comes to self improvement because realisticly, what else is there? It is a time for home workouts, long walks in the countryside, big clear outs or sproosing up of our homes, studying online or learning a new skill. For those of us who work creatively, it is an ideal opportunity to get stuff done. So it begs the question, what have we spent our time doing? Aside from knowing a lot of good series on Netflix do we all have enough to show for ourselves during this period?
How can we motivate ourselves to get stuff done this time around?
You won’t get anything done until you know exactly what needs to be done and when. Invest in a planner or an app on your phone which you can use to keep track of individual assignments or important due dates. I find it really useful to physically write things down in a list form or a diary but do what works well for you.
SET A DEADLINE
It is important to set a specific date or time that something needs to be accomplished. If you are someone who struggles with getting things done on time, give yourself an extra couple of days leeway which makes it more manageable. If you don’t set deadlines you can easily get caught in the cycle of thinking ‘eventually’ I will get round to it, and that is where you find yourself falling behind.
Make sure you take regular breaks from work or assignments. Give yourself, 10 minutes, a lunch hour, a coffee break, as and when you need it. It is useful to do something during this time that completely takes your mind off your work, maybe you could go for a walk, listen to some music, read a book? This will give you a fresh mindset when you get back to it and make it much easier to concentrate.
Everyone loves a reward. Give yourselves incentives, no matter how small or silly they might seem, it is important when it comes to motivating yourself to get going. Offer me a cup of tea and some Hobnobs and I’ll get whatever you need finished on time.
DITCH THE PHONE
Unless you really need your phone for the work you are doing, leave it in another room to avoid being distracted. I find myself scrolling mindlessly through Instagram, reading blog posts or watching pointless videos far too often when I should be working. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to waste time on your device.
Set yourself a regular routine which you have to stick to throughout each day. Routine is an important tool when it comes to motivation because you know what you SHOULD be doing throughout the day.
LOSE THE PRESSURE
Ditch the guilt. This might sound counter-productive but it is vital to stop being so hard on yourself. We are in an unusual time to say the least so if you haven’t been feeling your usual dynamic self, you’re not alone. Be kinder to you. You will get there.
I am going to try and take my own advice, spur myself on and get out of my writing slump over the next few weeks of lockdown. Hopefully they can help you regain your drive and stamina too.