I don't know if anyone has noticed, but January is the slowest month of the year. Post lots of vacation time, post family fun, post presents and yummy food, all that remains is the unending darkness of January. I love the snow, I love the rain, but I also miss the sun.
Despite January being the slowest month of the year, it is also (as it turns out) the one that has the potential to be the most productive for me. Painfully productive, perhaps, but still productive nonetheless.
I think being motivated is a struggle for anyone. When a project is new and fresh and exciting, motivation is easy, but once it gets into the second mile, it becomes drudgerous. Menial. Dull.
I have a few strategies that I use to keep myself moving forward, but there is one concept that I play on repeat in my brain:
It might sound lame, but I have dozens of variations to keep myself engaged:
- Just keep trudging
- One step at a time
- One thing at a time
- Every thing you did is one thing you don't have to do now; every thing you do now is one thing you don't have to do later
- One foot in front of the other
- and the ever polite, KEEP GOING YOU LAZY GOOD-FOR-NOTHING BUM
I also sometimes use sticker charts, or guilt myself into working, or starve myself into working. Calendars with blocks of time designed for writing or marketing help. I listen to the songs my brother writes, I read work by someone who inspires me, I even sometimes read the pieces I've written that I love. At my worst I recruit my friends and family to help. "Refuse to talk to me until I finish X. Can I have a treat if I do Y? Please berate me until I start working again."
When I'm feeling like being kind to myself, I give myself the quiet reminder that I actually like the work I am procrastinating on, and the fact that I don't want to do it is silly and wrong. This works surprisingly often.
And it seems, that despite January being a dark, lonely, depressing month (with exciting moments filled with beautiful snow and interesting weather), I manage to get the cupcake.
Let me know in the comments if you have any other strategies for getting the cupcake, moving forward, and not giving up! I'm always looking to add to my sleeve of tricks.