People always ask me how I manage to stay so motivated and disciplined in terms of my work. Honestly, I think people often overestimate the amount of motivation that I have, but in the last year or so I’ve definitely picked up some useful tips to help me focus on the task at hand.
It’s important to realise that you can’t always fulfil your expectations, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to do so. When it comes to expectations, I like to take the approach of treating myself like a co-worker. If I have a good excuse for not fulfilling something then I don’t get annoyed about it but if I’m consistently making stupid excuses, then I have to discipline myself to get back on track. I’m aware that I quite often expect too much from myself which means I have to make sure I’m not constantly getting frustrated internally.
Set your own deadlines.
Deadlines are so important. If you don’t know when you’re planning to finish a task, how are you going to know when to work on it? I always give myself a deadline when I begin a task. It doesn’t bother me if I have to push it back a bit when other things come up but I couldn’t imagine being focused without one.
Be your own boss.
Being your own boss goes two ways. If you’re managing yourself and your productivity, you should be doing it from an outsider’s point of view (well as best as you can anyway). Be kind to yourself when you need it. Try to make doing that task seem as appealing as you can. Don’t be a bitch of a boss, even to yourself. It will just make your morale plummet.
Keep a notebook with you.
Ideas come at the weirdest times. I often find myself on a bus or on the toilet or somewhere else weird when inspiration strikes. Of course, I can never remember my notebook so I often find myself with scraps of paper at the bottom of my bag or stuff that’s half typed out on my phone. At the end of the month, I always sit down and transcribe those notes into my notebook to keep it all together. I honestly don’t think I could have completed half of the tasks that I did without doing this.
Don’t wait for a perfect time.
Don’t put off doing something because you’re young or busy or shy or scared of what people think. Delaying things for stupid reasons like that makes absolutely no sense. If you think you would enjoy doing something, do it. The most common thing I hear from people around me is excuses as to why they can’t create. I always smile and nod but inside my head I don’t understand at all. The only way to get the confidence to do something is to do it. No excuses.
Don’t be fussy.
Don’t avoid writing because your desk is full of crap, write in bed instead. Don’t avoid creating something until you have a substantial budget, or the best equipment. Don’t turn down an opportunity to work out of mere fussiness. Get over yourself and work with what you have.
There are still days where I struggle to sit myself down at my desk and write. There are still days where I can’t stop clicking the next episode even though my to-do list is immensely long. There are still days where I toss my phone into the bottom of my bag and agree to see my friends even though I have a ton of messages and emails to get back to. But the majority of the time, I can go to bed on a Sunday night happy with all that I’ve achieved during the week. And as pathetic as this may sound, that’s extremely important to me.
Read about how important it is for me to love myself here.
In this video I discuss my journey with my mental health: