Where do I find it?
How do I get it back when it’s gone AWOL?
What are some strategies for those moments when I just plain NEED IT NOW and it’s not there?
I got this email from a client this morning, and it really spoke to me. I thought I'd answer her question here because this is such a common challenge, especially for those of us who work from home.
Help! I work from home. While I like my work, I don’t always feel like doing it. Once I get going, I'm OK but I'm driving myself crazy avoiding it – I really need to DO it!
I relate to this one! You’re not getting started on what needs to be done – but you can't let yourself go do anything else either!! So in the end you end up doing NOTHING, or doing something that TOTALLY wastes your time.
“Give it 15 minutes” strategy
Here's a deal you can make with yourself to start a project that needs to be done, and truly give yourself an option.
Make the deal that if you don't get into in and start flowing with it in 15 minutes, you will allow yourself to pause and do something else. Allow yourself to go take that walk and come back to this at a later time.
Most of the time, once you get started for 15 minutes, your momentum kicks in and you can actually keep going. What makes this work is that it’s often hardest to start. Once you get going, you get into it.
If you don’t, you need to be true to your deal to yourself, and not push it – or this deal won't work next time.
You can set a time that you will come back and try again…say, if you do pause after 15 minutes, make an agreement to yourself about when you will come back and give it another go…like maybe after you walk for an hour, you will give it a fresh 15 minute start.
My experience is that if you do decide to pause and take the walk, your walk becomes a time when you get some inspired ideas about the project and you're able to be even more focused and on target when you do come back.
Go to a fun coffee shop and write for awhile
Here is my list of strategies:
Make a list.
It really pays to figure out a few strategies that work for you, and have them listed out and posted prominently so you can rotate through them. Mix them up. If you are going to use the “Give it 15 minutes” strategy, have a list of 5 to 10 activities you will choose between, which you know inspire you, that you will commit to doing when you pause. Then when you need to, allow yourself to pause and go seek your inspiration. As you use this, and EXPECT to become inspired, you'll get more and more accustomed to FINDING your inspiration (because remember – we find what we look for and expect to see).
As you see this working, use your list proactively, before you find yourself stuck and frustrated. START with the walk, and begin your walk with an intention to become inspired, so when you come in and begin your work you've already increased your inspiration level.
Get up and MOVE.
Make sure your list includes a change of physiology – walk, dance, do some stretching or yoga. (Did you know that the one consistent antidote to feeling depressed, across all the studies, is 20- minutes of brisk exercise?)
Use your music.
Use positive anchors – one of the most powerful anchors is energizing music. Play music that makes you want to dance and smile. If you have inspirational recordings to listen to or an amazing book to read, do that. I've got a playlist in my iPod I call my "Personal Parade Mix" that I listen to when something really great has happened…so it's anchored to very good feelings. I listen to that when I feel flat and need a boost – it's my personal most powerful strategy.
Vibrantize Your Surroundings.
(Yes, I like to make up words) If you’re a visual person, surround yourself with vibrant color. Have things around you that connect you to your creativity. Pay attention to textures, the feel of things. Also in this category – clean up your space! Get rid of the clutter, create a good feeling space.
Note. This strategy presupposes that you do actually enjoy the work you are doing, once you get going. This is not a strategy for those times when you just plain need to power through something that you’re just never going to enjoy.
If you are in that boat, it’s time to really figure out what it is you are telling yourself that is holding you in the place of devoting your life to something you don’t enjoy. Do you really believe that’s what your precious life is for? That’s where I’d go deep with you, and find out what story you’re telling yourself about who you are, and what is possible for you. Because you can change THAT story. Helping people change that story is what I love to do.
I hope this helps…and good luck! I think this is one of the biggest challenges in working for yourself at home.