It’s a rare person who’s always ready to get up and go every minute of the day. It doesn’t matter if you’re introvert or extrovert, a detail-focused list maker or an easygoing purveyor of spontaneity. Everyone has moments where you just can’t find the motivation to break through that wall.
I’ve discussed my take on motivation and writer’s block here and there, but I’m the first to say I don’t have any new advice on why it happens or how to approach it. I have my way of pushing myself forward to complete the tasks on my to do list, but I’ll admit they don’t always work.
That’s when I think of that great (de)motivational poster from the cult-favorite US TV series Futurama. In the pilot episode, newly reluctant time traveler Philip J. Fry arrives in the year 3000, where he goes through the standard tests and procedures to get him acclimated to bustling New New York. After the tests, he’s scheduled to be assigned a new job via embedded computer chip by administrator Turanga Leela.
When Fry balks at the prospect of having the same job he had back in his old life in 1999, Leela points to a poster on the wall of a sad sack construction worker giving a half-hearted thumbs up. The poster’s only words: “YOU GOTTA DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO.”
It’s meant jokingly, but there’s a bit of honesty there too. If you’re a part-time freelancer, your day job may take priority over your schedule at some of the most inconvenient times. If you’re a full-timer, finding the energy to send out those LOIs, call a source about a research lead, or pen a new blog post can feel like a distraction from your creative process.
Add in family, a busy household, volunteer work, religious ceremonies, and social events, it’s no wonder so many of us feel we can’t function without caffeine. But we keep trudging along because sometimes “you gotta do what you gotta do.” Sure, we’ll feel exhausted or guilty because we didn’t tackle all that we hoped. We forget to pat ourselves on the back for accomplishing what we have that day, because the calendar for tomorrow seems to be just as full.
The silver lining in all of this? We’re not alone. Freelancer or no. Hobbiest or pro. Regardless of country, generation, creed or ethnicity, work doesn’t wait for motivation. If we’re honest, we all procrastinate sometimes. But if we hope to move from surviving to thriving, we have to make the effort to sit down and do the work we don’t want to do.
Some see it as a sign of maturity and others view it as an example of all that is wrong with the world. I don’t know which is right, but I can tell you I’ve felt both ways on any random day of the week. So don’t feel bad about throwing that tantrum when your alarm clock goes off for the third time on that oh-so-difficult morning. Be mad. Be grumpy. But get your booty out of bed and do what you gotta do. The frustration will pass. And trust me, you’ll feel better when you’re on the other side of it looking back.
Do you have any tricks to help you handle a lack of motivation?
What are some of your favorite demotivational posters?