How to get out of the funk – my top motivation tips
Right, I know this is a little off-topic, but it’s something that affects so many of us women, so I felt it worth sharing.
I’m talking about the funk. Which is a marginally nicer way to describe being stuck in a rut. You know, that feeling when you just can’t be arsed.
You may be stuck in a rut at work, or when it comes to sticking to a diet, or even finding the one. It’s when you’re between a rock and a hard place, and you feel there’s nothing you can do. So you do… nothing.
Motivation slips, you second guess yourself, and your productivity dwindles.
As an ambitious Mrs who’s used to doing and achieving, it’s not a nice place to find myself. But it happens. Every so often. Negativity creeps in and that monkey on my shoulder makes an appearance. The feeling is crap, and something I’m trying to avoid before it takes over again.
Let me explain…
It was about a month ago, when something didn’t materialise how I’d wanted for work. It was a big project, so it mattered. Worse still, I was made to believe it would go my way. You know that false hope somebody gives you when they throw a golden bone? Yeah, after a few years of being my own boss, I should know better by now. But still, I got excited.
Anyway, it didn’t pan out and I was left hanging. And while my former, child-free self, who worked full time on my consultancy, read all the self-motivation books and was generally conditioned for the often flaky world of business, would have given myself a day to brood before moving on, this time was different.
Why? Because this time I’m not working full time and juggling lots of projects. I don’t have many irons in the fire. And this is my own choice. Every project I take on is at the opportunity cost of spending time with my daughter, so as a result, I take on fewer gigs. But this means that the ones I do accept really matter.
So when something doesn’t work out, the frustration is greater, and unfortunately, it has a knock on effect on other areas of my life. For example, I neglected my blog for a couple of weeks. I just didn’t see the point in it. And when you’re under a metaphorical cloud, it’s hard to see the silver lining and remain rational.
But with help from some great friends, and a little win – which reminded me that I’ve still got it – I managed to get my motivation back. But it took a good while. I’m talking a few weeks.
Sh*t will happen
And the reality is, in the world we live in, disappointments, whether in work or life, will happen. It’s just one of those things. But it’s how you deal with it that makes the difference. My reaction will determine how much of an effect these little road-bumps will have on me. So for next time, I’m arming myself with positive ammunition. I’ve put steps in place to make my escape from under the cloud quicker, or ideally, avoid the funk full stop.
When I speak to girlfriends and other mums, I find that this situation is all too common. Which is why I’m writing all about this.
So if you find yourself in a funk, here are my top tips, and those of others, to help you get out of the rut:
Get out of the funk with these top motivation tips
It was only after I read The Miracle Morning that I learned about the importance of keeping a journal. Basically, writing a few snippets every day detailing what you’re grateful for, what would make today great, and then highlighting three amazing things that have happened in your day really does help improve your life. Yes, I know that sounds a bit woo woo, but it really works! There is something about writing down what you hope to achieve for posterity, which sends out a signal to the universe to make it happen. It can be as simple as hoping you’re meeting goes well, or even your wish to get a good night’s sleep (as a mum, this is basically my main life goal right now).
The great thing about keeping a journal is that you can look back at weeks and months gone by to see how far you’ve come. I used to do this religiously when I first set up my business, and it made the world of difference. But sadly it’s an area I’ve neglected after motherhood took over. But it’s something I’ve started picking up again so I’m excited to see where my journaling leads!
No matter how crap things may seem, there is always, always, something to be grateful for (this is not a typo, I have to really emphasise the always).
This is another one I learned through reading The Miracle Morning (I promise I don’t have shares in this book, but it’s something that worked for me). Basically, the book asks you a series of questions about all aspects your life, from your health, to your relationships, family, work, wealth, etc. Just going through them made me realise that there’s so much in my life that is positive, which I take for granted. And most of us humans are the same.
Keep an achievement corner / box
The picture above is my feature in Vuelio, where I talk about running a successful blog. It’s something I’m pretty proud of, but as I often secure media coverage, I forget that it’s an achievement in itself.
When I was a little girl, I used to keep a scrapbook of my achievements. I covered an A4 book in gold gift wrap, and proudly taped all my certificates into its pages. Heck, that scrapbook served me well, as I continued to paste in the pages of my college newspaper when I became editor (don’t tell the cool kids). But then I… stopped. I guess I figured it was for kids, so I stopped charting my achievements. I think every child kept a scrapbook, but as adults it’s something we stopped doing.
Why did we stop? When did we decide that our small wins aren’t worth celebrating? You see, sometimes the smallest thing, like a positive email from a client, or a great testimonial, is enough to remind us of our awesome-ness, and might just help us.
Joe Wicks has an achievement corner in his house where he holds all his awards. I think we should all do the same, no matter how seemingly small our accolades are.
For me, just reminding myself that I’ve still ‘got it’ when it comes to creativity was enough to get me out of the funk.
Make a to-do list, and be ready to tick it off
You see there’s probably a theme running here – writing. But honestly, jotting things down is bloody therapeutic.
Having an achievable to-do list is a massive motivator, especially when you get to mark things off with a big, juicy tick.
And the clue is in the ‘achievable’ bit. There’s no need for big, lofty ambitions on your to-do list. If you’re running an Etsy business from home making modest sums of money, there’s little point in aiming for a six-figure salary by the end of the week. You’re just setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, stick to manageable goals, like sending out that e-newsletter you’ve been neglecting.
Making a list and crossing it off twice will serve as a reminder that no matter how much of a funk you’re in, or how seemingly deep your rut feels, you can get shit done.
Your top tips to get out of the funk
- Nazma Noor, who runs the blog Nazmaknows, says:
If you’re inevitably going to put off what you need to do, then at least spend your procrastination time doing something productive!
I use the EventBrite app and search for events in my local area, from talks at museums, to training seminars, social events, walking tours and workshops! There’s usually a mix of free and paid for events and I usually come away feeling inspired and having had a good chat with some new people.
- Twitter user @Nelgumford says:
Make tiny, and fundamentally insignificant, changes to your routine.
so those are my tips (and yours) to get out of the funk. I promise my next post will be light-hearted. I’ll write about makeup or something.
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About the Author
I’m not a makeup artist, chef, lifestyle guru or stylist. I’m just me. And like you, I’m trying to make the best of most things, only I’m sharing my warts-and-all thoughts along the way.