Writing my morning pages this morning I was pondering over the motivation for getting done all the things I’d like to achieve. I was wondering where I should be looking for motivation. Does it come from Pinterest and social media? Is it something internal an engine you have to keep feeding? It struck me that it is something more simple than that. Dedication over motivation.
When I started to dream about running my own business, making things I love and sharing them with the world I was full of motivation for getting all the things done. However, that motivation never stays at a steady stream, because that is simply not how motivation works. Some days I wake and feel less than inspired to paint or write, some days I long to stay in my pyjamas all day and watch Netflix. I would google things such as ‘how to feel motivated’ and ‘motivation to get lots done’. Sure these google searches would churn up thousands of ideas for getting motivated but again that motivation wouldn’t stay with me for days on end as I had hoped.
Then it dawned on me, it wasn’t motivation that I needed. It was dedication. I needed to be dedicated to working hard on my dreams, even when I wasn’t feeling motivated. I needed to ask myself every day if what I had planned to do was going to help me achieve my goals. Sure some days I do lounge in my pyjamas but not all day every day, because I know that that simply isn’t going to help me achieve my goals. Being dedicated and disciplined is what is going to help me achieve my goals.
Tips For Being Disciplined
Here are a few tips and tools I have been using to stay disciplined and dedicated. I try and use these tips every week to help me achieve my yearly/monthly/weekly/daily goals.
Have a schedule
I use google calendar as my schedule. I sit down every week and look at the calendar to see what I have upcoming and then schedule in my work time and tasks around my family and day job commitments. I have different sections set in different colours for example;
Pink – My tasks
Blue – Kids things like school, extra-curricular activities and doctor appointments
Purple – Blog Posts
Lilac – YouTube posts
Turquoise – Business related tasks
Colour coding everything helps me maintain a healthy work/family balance and I can see easily where my time is going. I make sure that the tasks that I have written on my to-do list also get put into my schedule so that they get done and not forgotten about on a piece of paper in the kitchen.
Have a to-do list
This for me is another really important tool in staying disciplined and organised because if it’s not written down then it is probably not going to happen as I will forget about it. I use Evernote to write out my daily to-do lists as they are then accessible on my PC and my phone and I can look at them wherever I am. I try not to overload my daily to-do lists and if I know I won’t be able to do something on a particular day then I will put it on a separate list to be scheduled in another day.
Keep track of your goals
I have 10 year, 5 year, yearly, monthly and weekly goals all written down in Evernote so that I can easily refer to them when I need to sort my schedule and to-do list and when I’m feeling uninspired. It helps me to look at my goal lists and remind myself what I’m working towards. I have some really big goals that can’t be achieved overnight and some goals that if I work hard can be achieved by the end of next year. On days when I can barely turn the lights on in the studio, it really helps me to look at my goals and remember why I want to work so hard.
Take breaks and rest days
Nobody can work all the time. I used to be the kind of person who would be over ambitious and schedule all of my time on every day of the week leaving me with absolutely no breathing room. This was a recipe for disaster. I felt like I couldn’t achieve everything because if I spent too long doing one task it would run into the next tasks time and then I would be perpetually behind my schedule leaving me feeling like a failure at the end of the day for not getting everything done. It was exhausting, to say the least.
These days I take a much better approach. I ensure to leave gaps in my daily schedule so that I have room to move things around or spend more time on a project if I get really engrossed in it. I also schedule in break times and meal time because otherwise, I forget to eat which is never good. Allowing rest days has also been a great way of not feeling burnt out through the week. I make sure I take at least one day where I’m not in the studio working. To decide when to take this rest day I look at my schedule and see when I’m going to have my busiest day(s) and then schedule a rest day in for the day after so that I can recharge. I also try not to do any work on a Sunday as I like to keep that as a family day but if I need to then I can work for an hour or two in the morning.
These are my tips for staying dedicated to my work and they work really well for me. I hope that they may be also useful for you too, even if you simply implement one or two of them. It’s impossible to be motivated 100 per cent of the time, it’s far more realistic to be dedicated to your goals 80 per cent of the time and rest for the other 20 per cent of the time. Now that I’ve written this post I’m going for a laydown, see it is all about balance. Remember dedication over motivation.
Love & Light to you all