By: Sara Ochs
We’ve all been there: hour two of staring at our computer screens, with nothing to show for it other than an impressive number of YouTube videos watched (or exes Facebook stalked). Sometimes, no matter how badly we want to be productive, it’s just not an option. Productivity hits an all time low, creativity disappears, and you just cannot capture that motivation. Welcome to the motivational slump.
It’s impossible to work 14-hour days every day and to constantly accomplish everything on your to-do list. We’re not superheroes (except for you, Amal Clooney). Whether it’s a by-product of burnout, boredom, or just a general lack of passion, motivational slumps are inevitable. But that doesn’t mean your only option is to wait it out. As frequent survivors of motivational slumps, we’ve compiled the five best ways to beat the laziness and regain your productivity once and for all.
1. Take a Break
The number one cause of motivational slumps is burnout. And while it may sound counterintuitive, the best, and sometimes only, way to break out of it is to stop ignoring your brain and body and take some much needed “me time.” Trying to force creativity or productivity often has the opposite effect, driving you further into the slump. So, step away from your desk, turn off your computer, and take time to reset. Do something to treat yourself, whether it’s a nice meal with friends, an hour-long massage, or even a weekend road trip. Time to yourself without any thoughts of work, stress, or responsibilities will allow you to come back refreshed and recharged, ready to conquer whatever tasks seemed so daunting before.
2. Remember Your Goals
Use this time to remember what goals led you to your current position. What originally drove you to start your current job, venture, or project? Even if journal writing is not for you, take a minute to write down where you want to be in the future, and how the work you are doing now is helping to get you there. Revisiting the initial motivations that led you to this work in the first place may remind you of your true aspirations and reignite the passion you’ve temporarily lost. Consider how far you’ve come on your path to your original goal, and how far you have yet to go. Sometimes realizing the progress you’ve made (but have not previously acknowledged) will provide you with positive reinforcement you need to help you get your head back in the game. Because really, you deserve a pat on the back every now and then.
3. Reflect and Evaluate
Oftentimes, motivational slumps are a direct result of a loss of passion. If, after remembering your goals, you don’t feel the same spark of passion you did when you originally created them, it’s time to reevaluate. If your goal no longer matches your passion, research and explore other potential options that match your current skills and aspirations. Strategize how to restructure your current plans to fit these amended goals. If you realize that you’re no longer happy in your current position, and that it no longer holds a place on your five-year plan, now is the time to make a change. Start exploring your options – is it time for a new job or even a new city? Start attending networking events in your field, reach out to your current contacts, and hey, use this as an excuse to buy a sassy new interview outfit. Just the process of realizing that other opportunities are out there for you can spark your motivation and get your booty in action.
4. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Sometimes, all we need is a new perspective to re-ignite our passion and drive. And what better way to obtain this than by doing something that pushes us out of our comfort zone? Book yourself a trip to a new destination and embrace an unfamiliar culture. If you don’t have the time or funds for travel, explore a new section or neighborhood of your city you’ve never been to before, make plans to spend time with an acquaintance you don’t know very well, strike up a conversation with a stranger, or simply try a new hobby. However big or small, new experiences and new viewpoints never fail to spark creativity, and its possible that these experiences and relationships could even create opportunities you may have never expected.
5. Get Outside
And, finally, if all else fails, get your booty outside. Lace up your sneakers, turn the upbeat tunes on full blast and hit the pavement. It’s unbelievable how much better you’ll feel after a half an hour outside. Use this time to clear your head, enjoy the sunshine, and re-energize your mind and body. If running isn’t necessarily for you, take a walk around your neighborhood. Because, seriously, a change of scenery and endorphins never hurt anybody!
What tricks do you rely on to the beat the slumps and get your motivation back?
Sara Ochs is an associate attorney at Simon, Peragine, Smith & Redfearn, LLP in downtown New Orleans, where she specializes in the litigation and alternative dispute resolution of general civil defense cases. A native of Albany, New York, Sara attended Loyola University Maryland for her undergraduate degree. Sara then decided to escape the snow and moved to New Orleans to attend law school at Loyola New Orleans College of Law. As soon as she set foot in New Orleans, she knew she wouldn’t be leaving for a while. She is an avid runner, writer, and travel addict. When she’s not working or planning trips to new destinations, Sara spends her time trying out all the new restaurants and bars New Orleans has to offer.