No matter how much I love my work, there are still moments when I’m highly unmotivated to keep moving. Sometimes it’s just a short-lived feeling, and other times my to-do lists feel insurmountable. But it’s all in the mindset. If you’re anything like me, then you can understand the feeling of losing motivation.
As much as it sucks, it does happen. And when it does, I like to have some motivational tools that give me the kick I need to get excited again. So I’ve put together this list of tips to help you beat that lack of motivation and to give you the push you need to keep going.
1. Use Visual Cues
Are you a visual person? I am. Visual cues like color-coded lists or tables can help here. Sometimes a plain to-do list is enough to turn me off of working altogether. But incorporating visuals in my agenda helps to get my creativity back on track — plus it just looks nice. Even on my handwritten notes, I use highlighters and different colored ink to distinguish my progress on certain tasks.
Apps and software for task batching are also good for visual stimulation. Notion is one of my favorites for getting visual with project management. You can use icons and emojis to better group projects and tasks together. Toggling the different board views gives me a different perspective for each project, which also helps kick in the motivation I need to stay on target.
The bottom line is this: using visuals to stimulate your brain can be extremely effective at influencing your motivation. So try to pretty-up your to-do lists, project dashboards, and notes. You’d be amazed by how well something so simple works for reinvigorating your excitement about work.
2. Set a System for Breaks
Yes, breaks. The science behind breaks is clear and highlights the importance of taking these moments during the day, whether you work remotely or not. Breaks make up an important factor when I schedule my daily flow because I know how my brain works. I know I’ll lose steam if I work longer than a couple of hours without stepping away. And burnout is a very real thing that has very real effects on how motivated we are at work.
It’s absolutely necessary to set break times for yourself. Especially with digital marketing — and digital work in general — too much time glued to the screens can negatively impact brain function, eye health, and yes, our physical health if we’re sitting in one spot for too long. So set a system for taking breaks throughout your workday.
I like to set timers to pace myself and to alert me when it’s time to step away for a few. I find that setting specific times for breaks to pick up around the house, make lunch, or just get outside help to keep me motivated.
3. Schedule Time for Creativity
Some projects I work on are anything but “creative.” Some consist of just the data, which can get boring from time to time. Moments like these make scheduling in time for creativity essential to staying motivated. At least for me. If you find yourself in a creative slump or taking on more mundane tasks than fun ones, make a schedule to allow yourself freedom to roam in your creativity.
Even though I organize my projects and workflow in digital agendas and project management apps, I still keep two paper planners. Writing is a powerful tactile tool, and one we shouldn’t let become obsolete just because we’re operating digitally. So I use these physical planners to schedule time on the weekends to remind myself to cater to my creativity. They also make excellent spaces for sketching and jotting down snippets of poetry.
And this creativity time can be for anything. So paint, garden, rearrange the furniture, or dance on your roof. Whatever gets you to wake up the right side of your brain. Don’t think about work during these times, either. This should be time for you to do the hobbies you’re passionate about.
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4. Get in Touch With Nature
Plenty of research has shown that even just viewing pictures of nature does wonders to reduce stress and symptoms of depression. But how does this relate to staying motivated as a digital marketer? Simple.
If you’re feeling less productive, energized, or burned out during your day, get outside if you can. Take a quick walk in an area with trees and plants, or just step outside the door for a few minutes of fresh air.
Green and growing things also combat the effects that electronics and wireless technology can have on our bodies. So getting in nature goes far in refreshing the mind, boosting energy, and supporting health—all good things when it comes to staying motivated in a digital role.
5. Reward Yourself
Reward systems have been popular strategies for motivation since forever, and with good reason. Rewards work. So another trick is to make a system to reward yourself as an extra push to get you through the day. Looking forward to Netflix and chilling on the couch? Nope. Can’t do that until you’ve done XYZ first.
So, speaking to my inner child and creating a reward system for myself does a lot for motivation. I combine both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators and use these tactics to stay on track with some of the more tedious work I do. This lets me form a nice mix of feel-good and tangible rewards, which I definitely give myself when I cross the more challenging items off my to-do list.
6. Make Reading Lists
I have a huge reading list, both fiction and nonfiction. I’m making my way through it slowly, but the ideas I get from reading often lead to new creative projects and work that ignites my soul. And fulfilling work is a huge factor in motivation in digital marketing– and in any career.
So make a reading list on the topics that interest you most. Do you enjoy eBooks? Prefer print? Either way, add new titles to your library. And visit your local library. As you get through your reading list, take the time to play with inspiration. Write down new ideas and then read even more to stay motivated to build on them.
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7. Document the Journey
Journal, write, take notes. Even if you write a single sentence about how unmotivated you are in the moment. Document your journey. Introspection can lead to some interesting insights. Write down your thoughts, feelings, and ideas on the projects you’re completing.
I like mind maps and brainstorming techniques like the infamous brain dump. The more I just document the zany ideas I have, the more I find the good ones that stick. And this is often enough to stir my excitement and keep me motivated in achieving my goals.
8. Create Your Own Space
If you don’t have a space where you can spread out and work, make one. An office space, a corner of the living room, a desk in the spare room–wherever–a workspace is paramount. Especially at home, a specific area just for working in helps me keep my career and personal life separate.
So create your own space and designate it for your work. Keep everything you need for your job in one spot. Hook up the tech stack, make all your writing tools accessible, and set the boundary that this space is only for work.
Having this set environment where you can exercise your creativity and work is essential to staying motivated in a digital career and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. If you bring your work with you wherever you go, it can end up sneaking into your personal life and steal your motivation.
9. Play With New Tools
This strategy is a fun one and one we’re likely to do on a regular basis as digital marketers anyway. So dig into new tools and resources now. Play with new design tools. Try a new writing app. Or learn a new software program.
Shiny new toys are exciting. And learning and using new skills can keep us driven to explore more. So add some new digital marketing resources to your stack and run wild. Trying out new tools just might be the kick you need to stay motivated.
10. Collaborate and Connect
Nothing motivates inspiration quite like collaboration with other creatives. Even though I work remotely, I’m still very much involved in collaborative processes with my colleagues. I find that even just bouncing ideas around with my team leads to some amazing “ah-ha” moments.
And it’s in these moments that my motivation is at an all-time high. Diverse perspectives, new insights, and creative feedback are some of the benefits of connecting with other professionals in the field. You never know. These combined ideas might just lead to your next successful breakthrough.
Excitement is contagious. Working through challenges and creating innovative outcomes with others supports shared success. And this shared success can be exactly what we need to stay driven and achieve our goals.
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