How to Overcome Lack of Motivation
How many times have you started a project enthusiastically, only to find that initial motivation evaporate over time? Dealing with these highs and lows as a designer are common and most of the time, are out of our control. If we begin to understand the inner workings of our mind, we can gain better insights into where this lack of creative energy is stemming from. A lack of motivation may come from working on the same project for several months or in-house designers that have to work on the same brand everyday. The more creative satisfaction we have with our job, the more motivation we have to continue working.
I like using the example of going to the gym. If you’re unmotivated to go to the gym, sometimes all you have to do is pick up your gym bag and get out of the house. Once you’re out, you’ll feel more motivated to make good use of your time at the gym. Even if you don’t feel like it, force yourself to start and you’ll surprise yourself with how much you get done. Same goes for your actual work. If you sit down and focus for just 30 minutes you might get on a roll. If not, don’t force it and take a break.
Reward Yourself for Progress
Exerting large quantities of energy will eventually wear you down. The combination of fatigue and lack of interest can sometimes make us want to give up. Rewarding yourself for progress is a good way to realize that you are making progress, no matter how slow. If you just wrapped up a project with a client, treat yourself to dinner or whatever will help you relax. If you give yourself small gifts at the end of each accomplishment, it will help motivate you to keep going. Focus on the feeling you achieve when you reach your goals.
Take a Day to Refresh
Taking time off as a designer is key to recharging our creative batteries. When you feel unprepared or untrained for a certain event, it can lead to lack of motivation. If you need a day off, take it. Sometimes no matter what you do, you don’t seem to be accomplishing anything or getting anything done. This happens to everyone, and sometimes, it’s best to succumb to these feelings for just one day. Take a personal day to do whatever you like – preferably get out of the house to recharge your motivation.
With inspiration comes better emotional satisfaction, in turn, helping you get stuff done. At the end of the day, work is work and even though you may love your job, it won’t be fun all the time. Work in an environment that makes you feel happy and positive. When you’re feeling unmotivated, actively search for inspiration. This could range from taking a day off like we discussed above, talking a walk in the park or meeting up with designers in your area. Surround yourself with successful, positive people – their inspiration will be a source of encouragement.
Work in Sprints
I usually like to work in sprints of 45 mins with a 10-15 min break. I find this has worked best for me, even though there are many different methods that work for others. Whatever you choose, it’s also important to take breaks. Design is a very thinking-intensive, tedious job. Sometimes my mind enjoys a few minutes to think about nothing. Take this time to go to the bathroom, grab a cup of coffee, or talk with a co-worker.
Setting realistic goals is also important. For example, if you know you can’t lose 20 pounds in a month, you’ll be able to accept losing only 5 much easier. If you have a big project with deadlines, set smaller, incremental goals that will help you work in sprints. Small accomplishments seem much more attainable at the time.
Re-Evaluate Your Job
If you’ve had a loss of motivation for a long period of time (month or more), it may be time to re-evaluate your job situation. A drop in motivation has its normal cycles, but it shouldn’t be inhibiting you from performing your best. Next time you’re feeling unmotivated, take a step back and reflect. Can you pinpoint why you are feeling this way? If it’s consistently a disinterest with your work, maybe you need to initiate a change in your career.