Inspiration, Perspiration, Motivation, and Grueling it out

October 28th, 2009

How do you deal with a lack of motivation?

I know that my dreams of becoming an internet entrepreneur are going to require two things: work, and more work. Work in the morning, work at noon, work in the evening. Since I am weaving all of this work in with a busy day job, it is fairly tiring.

Motivation makes it easy to put in the 99% perspiration required. What do I do when motivation runs out?

For the last week or so, I had lost my motivation for my 101 Woodblock Series. I spent last weekend knowing I needed to crank out about 15 hours of work on this, yet I got nothing done. The motivation wasn’t there. I didn’t have that drive to get it done, and in its place was apathy towards the entire thing.

I think that it has hurt that I went cold turkey off of drinking coffee a little over one week ago. Coffee was largely my fuel, I drank a lot of it. It has been rough to get over the hump on this one. Though this talk of coffee is an extended aside from my main point, it gets to the heart of another point I will write about soon, the connection between physical well-being and emotional well being. I know deep down that I won’t make a million dollars on the internet if I am not physically healthy.

Back on track – last week, this lack of motivation caused me to miss my morning power hours. This set my whole day askew, since my day began with not following my own habits.

so when there is little chance that my motivation will kick in and take care of things, I have to rely on thing: Grueling it out.

Yesterday morning my alarm went off at 5:45, telling me to wake up and write. I had no idea what I was going to write, and this habit is new enough that I haven’t built that innate trust that the power hour will be productive, even when I don’t know how it will be productive.

So my alarm was ringing, and I was faced with a choice. I could reset my alarm for 6:45, and sleep another hour, or I could gruel it out and force myself to sit in front of the computer. Somehow, my willpower took over, and I did the latter.

I sat down with no idea what I would be writing about, and no real motivation to write about any specific topic. I started poking around my writing folder on my computer, and found a draft with just a few lines written that sparked something, and I knew what to write about. After I whipped out the first blog post in about 20 minutes, I had an idea for a second, and I whipped that one out too. I ended up with two blog posts written, edited, converted to HTML, and posted or scheduled to be posted within 45 minutes.

The main reason that I was able to get these two posts written was that I grueled it out and forced myself to sit in front of my computer. As I was sheepishly walking out of bed towards my desk, I remember thinking to myself that I had to do this, even if I just sat at my computer for 45 minutes and did nothing.

Those first 5 minutes sucked. When I was getting out of bed, cutting up a dish of fruit and pouring myself some juice, I was fighting with a part of saying that I could still go crawl in to bed for another 45 minutes. I didn’t have to be awake. Something happened once I began work, and it became a lot easier to follow through and get everything done.

Important lessons from yesterday morning:

  • If I wait until I feel like writing blog posts, copy, content, or whatever, I will never get anything done.
  • If I have a habit in place, I need to follow it, even when I don’t want to.
  • Genius may be 99% perspiration, but a lot of the time, it takes grueling it out to get to the point that you break a sweat.
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14 Responses to “Inspiration, Perspiration, Motivation, and Grueling it out”

  1. Works the same way for going to the gym. Just have to gut it out.
    .-= Dave Doolin | Website In A Weekend´s last blog post ..Learning to Blog: Finding the forest one tree at a time =-.

  2. Ugh. I hate this. I hate you. I hate myself. I’m sitting here with my 1 cuppa in a puddle of loathing and disgust (hahaha) as I punch the timer to pound out this morning’s article. Yes, it’s late. Sue me. Sure, I could close it and publish it, but it would be pap, not worthy.

    Bah.

    59:26 remaining.
    .-= Dave Doolin | Website In A Weekend´s last blog post ..WordPress Architecture – The Building Blocks of Web Publishing =-.

  3. Sean says:

    I am very familiar with the experience you describe, Dave.

    Ugh.
    .-= Sean´s last blog post ..Why Printmaking? (A Study in Polarity) =-.

  4. Walter says:

    I totally agree – habit can often overcome lack of motivation. Motivation becomes more of an issue for me as the week wears on – I’m all worn out by Friday! Fortunately, mixing fun habits like martial arts and yoga with work make the blogging and coding more motivating.
    .-= Walter´s last blog post ..In San Francisco, Composting Is The Law =-.

  5. Carlos Velez says:

    Great post on productivity. It looks like you have quite a few. You should post this on the challenge forum in the “important links” thread. I think we’re all going to need some extra motivation soon.

  6. Ricardo says:

    Keine Problem!

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