How Do You Motivate Yourself?

Today's topic is motivation. Whether it's to finish painting your bedroom or to lose a few pounds, kicking your own butt is often the hardest thing to do. As I look at my "To Do" list today, I feel majorly overwhelmed because I have so much to accomplish between now and August 7th. Eek! Though with every task I cross off comes this awesome feeling of accomplishment that can often make my entire day and directly influences my mood. When I hop into bed at night, I often review what I accomplished (or didn't) and I notice how much better I sleep when my day was productive.

Bedroom of Leanne, poster from
SFgirlByBay for sale in her shop in a ton of colors.

Ah, motivation. Easy to say and hard to do! Whether you work for the man, or for yourself, it can be a challenge to press forward at times. Working for myself and having a measure of success in the freelance world takes a great deal more motivation than I ever imagined. When I went into work back in the day, seeing others around me in the office motivated me whether I interacted with them or not. Taking the T each day to Boston's Financial District energized me, I felt motivated being packed on a train with a million others knowing we all were heading towards the same goal: to get to our jobs on time and hopefully make a difference. Hearing phone conversations over cube walls, walking by a jam-packed conference room, meeting colleagues for lunch, daily meetings with my boss -- all of these things kept me fueled.

Working mostly from home, my challenge is that motivation must continuously come from within, along with creative ideas and solutions to any challenges that may arise during the day. In my past life, I could run across the hall to my colleagues desk to 'tap' her brain. Sometimes I just don't have the energy to drive myself forward. Fuel can run low, especially on days when the tasks at hand aren't necessarily ones I enjoy doing (billing, taxes, coding, etc.).

How do I motivate myself? I often email someone that I know will reply that day and simply ask them how they are. I'll arrange a call with a client or friend. Sometimes I'll run to a local cafe for an iced chai just to get out of my environment for 15 minutes and socialize with the cashier (who knows me). Sometimes I take an afternoon time out to play this nutty game called Diner Dash for a 10-15 minutes. I make it a daily practice to shut down my computer and take a full 30-60 minutes off each day where I am completely unavailable to the world. During this time I read, enjoy lunch at my kitchen table (not at my desk!), stretch, play music, and if it's cold or rainy, I'll even light a few candles. Changing the environment for a short period of time helps. You know, KEEP CALM and then CARRY ON. :)

What about you, how do you motivate yourself?

(image from leanne)