I just can’t get motivated!
I love those days when my thinking is clear, I’m coming up with one great idea after another, and I’m just cranking out the work. On those high energy days, outside things such as articles and meetings about other projects offer inspiration and new ideas, and the words just seem to fly out of my fingers as I sit in front of my computer. That inspiration and momentum fuels other projects, and I feel excited and unstoppable.
But then there are the low energy days – when I’m moving slow, I’m easily distracted, and accomplishing anything is difficult. Given the creative nature of my job, having one of “those days” can really be a detriment; I don’t communicate as clearly, and I have trouble writing. And, as I sit there and think about how unmotivated I am, even more energy is sapped from my already-depleted stores. While I came up with the idea for this blog post on one of my high energy days, getting it out of my head and onto virtual paper took a little coaxing since it was a low energy day when I sat down to write it (the headline of this post came out of that frustration!).
Fortunately, I know I can control my energy level and turn those bad days around, and regain that creativity and productivity. Sometimes it takes a bit of effort, but other times I’ve turned my energy around in a matter of minutes.
Next time you’re having a low energy day, try one of these tips:
- Feed your energy. Think about what picks you up when your energy lags, and spend a few minutes focusing on that. Energy-boosters could include engaging in reflection, reading an inspirational quote, or hearing a good joke.
- Change your perspective. A new outlook can snap you out of a rut. Look at a problem from a different perspective, try a new approach to a routine assignment, or even rearrange your desk.
- Get moving. Regular physical activity keeps your mind and body healthy over the long term. Short bursts of activity help improve your health in the moment as well. Take a walk or do some stretches - anything to get the blood flowing.
- Put things in order. Focus on a brainless task to just get moving. Clean your desk, organize your to-do list, or plan your schedule for the next few days.
- List your accomplishments. Think about what you have accomplished to create momentum. Start a new to do list and include things you've recently accomplished so you can see some things crossed off - this can motivate you to work on crossing off some more.
- Practice gratitude. Focus on the things you appreciate to lift your mood. Thinking about the many great things in life distracts you from the things that are sapping your energy. Consider doing this on a daily basis to keep the positive energy flowing.
Sometimes, despite all my efforts, these just don’t cut it. That’s OK – there are times when low energy is a good thing, as it allows you to reflect, really listen, and absorb what’s going on around you. When I have a day like that, I try to focus on the things that need done but don’t require a lot of energy or thought. I also make sure I monitor my mood and focus on having positive energy so the quiet doesn’t create a negative outlook. That way I am still getting work done while building up my energy stores for later.
While there are some natural energy sappers, you can take control and take steps to boost your energy.
What have you found increases your energy level? What saps your energy? Share in the comments section and help others better manage their energy.