We all have our own little bi-polar ups and downs to one degree or another. During the manic phase everything is interesting and motivation and energy are abundant. The trick during these high points is to focus on one thing for more than a few minutes. But for every mountain, there is a valley. The valleys are dark and seem endless. Gathering up the gumption to do anything productive can seem like a major feat.
This article is for those low points. Here, I want to give you five self-motivation techniques to help you get out of a web development slump.
1. Set yourself up for some quick wins.
Nothing motivates you better than a win! You may even be in this slump because it seems like you haven’t had any wins for a while. The way to overcome this losing streak is to set yourself up for some quick and easy wins.
Rather than tackling that huge website project in front of you, maybe take an hour to create some marketing copy. Create a postcard to reach out to some potential clients, or make a goal of following up with five clients in the next hour. You may get some more business out of it, down the line, but you will also a add tick mark to your win column for accomplishing something worthwhile.
2. Break big goals into smaller more quickly attainable goals
Usually, we set goals that are too big or too far off. While lofty goals are important, there are many steps along the way. The mountain may be a long way off, but as long as you are making progress each day, you will eventually get there. So, set small goals that are along the path to the big goal.
Again, this will give you some more quick wins, but you will also make progress on your larger projects at the same time.
3. Set a timer and commit to work for just 5 minutes
Often, just getting started is 80% of the problem. Set a timer for just five minutes and commit to work on whatever you are dreading. Many times, when the timer goes off, you will realize it wasn’t so bad and now you are in a groove, so you will keep working. But here is the key: If you don’t feel that way, it is okay. You met your commitment, and cha-ching, you can scratch another tally in the win column. Don’t feel bad that you didn’t work for longer, you only promised to do five minutes and you did it.
Next time you come back to the project, do the same thing. Commit to five more minutes to work on it. But this time you have the added bonus of already having the last five minutes worth of work done. That is worth double for your motivation.
4. Reward yourself
By now, you have been working hard. You have a few more wins, and you have made some progress toward some larger goals.
Now, it is time to reward yourself. It doesn’t have to be something big or decadent. It can be as simple as giving yourself 15 minutes on your favorite first-person-shooter game, or maybe you would like a run to Starbucks for a caramel latte, or maybe 10 minutes on Facebook, or reading the news — you get the idea. Anything that isn’t work and is something you enjoy, something that makes you feel just a little bit extravagant or rich.
When you start to feel rundown, just tell yourself “I will keep at this for just one more hour, and then I will ____________ (fill in the blank).” Having something to look forward to can make a big difference.
5. Go outside!
Push your chair out, stand up, and walk away. Get away from the computer. Put on some sunglasses and sunblock and get your pale pasty skin out of your bat cave.
Take a walk, go for a bike ride, soak in the sunshine. (Yes, I know, it seems very bright compared to the luminescent glow you are used to back in the cave, but I promise in moderation it can be quite good for you.) Sit under the shade of a tree, shoot some hoops, or try some Tai Chi if you are into that sort of thing.
Getting outdoors is a great way to energize yourself, clear your mind, and get your blood flowing. I try to take a walk around a pond next to my office at least once a day.
Just remember that work begets work. In other words, the more you invest in a project and push through the difficult times, the easier it will get. Accomplishing goals, giving yourself wins, and seeing progress being made, all of these encourage you to do more. Eventually, after fighting your uphill battle long enough, you will find yourself back on top of that mountain; and no matter which direction you move on top of the mountain, it is all downhill from there.
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