by Rachel Smith
04 September 2019
The past few weeks, I’ve been feeling – for want of a better phrase – like dog poo. I’m not motivated to write or do anything constructive, so, being the responsible adult I am, I went to the GP. She scribbled ‘TATT’ down, which I know means Tired All The Time thanks to my medically-knowledgeable friend Lisa. One speedy blood test later, I’m waiting to hear if iron tablets are in my future (I reckon those sad desk lunches are to blame for all my nutritional deficiencies).
Unsurprisingly, it can be really hard to write when you’re not firing on all cylinders. You end up dragging yourself through a day without much to show for it. And as a freelancer, if you’re suffering from burnout, a lack of motivation, a break-up, a health issue or a traumatic life event, it can be tough to keep the wheels turning on your business.
So getting back to feeling motivated, I’ve found, all about choosing tasks that a) won’t tax you further and b) help you jettison all that mental clutter. It’s amazing how much more you feel like working when you’ve got your life a bit sorted. Here are 6 worthwhile tasks to try.
Sorry to start on a downer, but this one’s important: apparently over 50 percent of Aussies don’t have a legal will. I’m one of them; mine was done over a decade ago with a will kit from the newsagent and doesn’t take into account my marriage, child, property or anything else that might be useful for my next of kin in the event of my sudden death. But it’s really easy to make a phone call and get that sorted with a solicitor.
Been two years since your last eye check? Can’t remember the last skin check you had? Got medical referrals lost under piles of paper that you really should’ve actioned three months ago? Use this blah time to make all those appointments and GO. You’ll be so glad you did, especially if you need new glasses in order to actually see the screen and work more effectively.
Update your pitch tracker, client tracker and expert tracker. Set up interviews. Do your tax. Funnel some $$$ into your super. Clear your inbox. Delete stuff you don’t need or store it in the cloud (bonus: your computer will be faster!). Send invoices. Research story ideas. Tidy your desk. Ring around all your utility companies and demand a better deal. Make a list of things around the house that need fixing. Do some meal-planning. Chop veggies and freeze marinated meats so dinner is sorted for the week.
If you’ve got enough motivation to watch Netflix, you may as well put this time to good use and upskill or learn something new. This is passive learning at its best; you can just relax on the couch with a cuppa and your laptop. This upcoming webinar is worth checking out (shameless plug). Book into an online course or read that UX copywriting book that’s been sitting on your bedside table for the last six months. When you emerge from the funk, you’ll at least be a helluva lot smarter. Winning!
I just had a ramen date with Lucy Kippist from Flying Solo – a fantastic site for freelancers and ‘solopreneurs’ like all of us, if you haven’t checked it out already. And this is a big one: talking to a colleague who moves in similar circles to you can invigorate you and motivate you no end. Similarly, meeting a freelance pal at a co-working space or setting up a working bee at a cafe or local library – especially an overachieving friend who gets a lot done during the day – can be just the kick up the bum you need.
Last but definitely not least is, you guessed it, self-care. You probably already know how good you feel when you get out of the home office and hit the gym, or even just take a walk around the park or on the beach (if you’re lucky enough to live near the beach). So when you’re not motivated to write, move instead. Studies show it reduces stress, focuses the mind and improves productivity. Obviously, getting enough sleep is also a no-brainer. It’s rare that my Fitbit app tells me I’ve smashed my sleep goal so hitting the hay earlier is going to have to become a new habit.
What do you do when you’re not motivated to write or do other work-related tasks? Have you tried any of these strategies or do you have others that have worked for you?