It is the scourge of freelancers everywhere. Because we often work alone, we are reliant on ourselves to keep our motivation levels up and keep going. But for all sorts of reasons, it’s tough to keep your chin up all the time.
I know this feeling well. You get up, get the laptop out and stare at it blankly. Everything that might have been going on in your brain seems to evaporate. So you try and motivate yourself with a quick look at Twitter. An hour later and you are still procrastinating and you start to realise that you have fallen into a great big rut.
If you’ve found yourself reading this and thinking that sounds familiar then the first thing that I will say is that you’re in good company. There are millions of freelancers and people who work for themselves doing exactly that right now. Looking for any way possible to escape from having to get on with it.
But I bet it hasn’t always been like this. You started off so well, didn’t you? Full of passion and dreams and motivation. Well we need to help you get back to that feeling.
1. Find your sense of place
When I started KindredHQ, it was because I was procrastinating on a piece of client work looking out over a grey London skyline and thinking how much I wanted to be around other people.
Where are you working right now? Does it feel like a productive space or somewhere that you normally flop in front of the TV? Do you need buzz around you? Sometimes I have the TV on in the background on mute so that I feel somehow connected to the world. Bizarrely it doesn’t distract me, it helps me concentrate.
Perhaps you just don’t like working at home. You might want to consider a co-working space, where you can pop in and be around other people. We often get groups of freelancers together at our pop-up coworking events and they are fantastic for giving you a sense of team.
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. –Pablo Picasso
2. Keeping a eye on the prize
It is very easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of every day. This is a motivation killer, because somehow, just getting through the administration and the dealing with the awkward clients can distract you from what you originally set out to achieve.
But you have to remember that none of us can see into the future, and you have to trust your own instincts. I can’t guarantee you a rosy future, but I can say that on balance, if you want it badly enough, you will get much closer to your goal and the desire for that will keep you going and motivated.
3. Don’t force it
Our brains have an incredible ability to send us signals that all is not right. If you find yourself in a rut and you can’t see any way out, it may be a sign that your brain is telling you to slow down, refocus and start again.
The more you force it, the worse it gets.
Trust your instincts and give yourself a break. Inspiration will come back. Don’t beat yourself up about it and allow yourself to draw motivation from inside and out (see this article about internal and external motivation from a few months back) and guide yourself towards reaching your dreams.