This happens to me all the time. Especially since I work from home, and I have no one really telling me that I need to get to work, or I need to get shit done. In fact, I could spend my entire day contemplating the length of my fingernails, and no one would be the wiser.
That’s one of the dilemmas of people like me, who work from home, who are creative, who need to get in the mood to create shit, and who sometimes are just not in the mood to do anything.
Just today, as I psyched myself up to write this blog post, I spent 3 hours procrastinating in the following manner. I read manga on a couch that got more and more comfortable as time went on, took a 15 minute nap, cut my fingernails, ate my lunch, drank some coconut water, read some more manga, browsed Facebook for something (anything, please God).
Finally, I sat down on my computer, after I could delay it no further, and I am writing this absurd post on procrastination after procrastinating. How original!
No One Is Going To Fire You If You Don’t Do Your Work
Now that I don’t work in the corporate world, I realize the importance of superiors. They are not there because they are necessarily smarter than us, or that they know more than us. Some of them might, most of them probably don’t.
But they are there for a more profound reason. Yes, indeed. They are there to ensure that we actually get our work done.
No, I’m not joking about this. Many times, it is extremely (read impossible) difficult to motivate oneself to do the work that is necessary. I know. I have been working on this problem of mine for years now.
Having tried everything to motivate myself to do my work, now I have several strategies that I use in order to get my shit done.
The biggest problem, of course, is that no one is going to come after you if you don’t get your work done. You won’t make any money and you might be destitute begging on the streets, if you don’t work. But at least no one will fire you.
Dieting And Working At Home Are Very Similar In Many Ways
I think dieting is a good analogy to use when thinking about working at home. When you first go on a diet, you are doing it entirely for you. The same thing applies to you when you are working at home. Every single thing you are working on, you are working on for yourself. If you binge eat that entire pizza at midnight, no one is going to care (especially if you live alone). If you don’t finish your projects, no one will blink an eye.
But, eventually, you are going to notice that you are gaining weight, and your clothes don’t fit anymore. And similarly, you are going to start noticing that you are not bringing any cash in, and at this rate, you are going to have to think about selling a kidney or two, to stay afloat.
Just like staying fit is an inside job, working at home, especially creative work, is an inside job. It has to come from within you. The motivation, I mean. You are the only one who can get yourself from scarfing down an entire family-sized tub of Haagen Daz icecream. And you are the only one who can motivate yourself to do the work every single day that will bring you closer to your goals.
Keeping Your Goals Close At Hand Works Beautifully In This Scenario
One of my girlfriends recounts a story of how she decided to go from chubby to fit. She used Victoria Secret models’ pictures as motivation. She pasted as many as she could all over her refrigerator, bathroom mirrors, and bedroom walls. Every single time, she felt like eating unhealthily, or breaking her diet rules, she was reminded of her motivation through the pictures literally stuck everywhere.
The same thing applies to us when we are doing creative work from home. What is our goal with regards to the work we are doing? Why do I need to post one blog every single week on a Monday, even though most Mondays I don’t feel like doing it? Seriously, why do I need to post a YouTube video every single morning? Why do I need to put out one podcast every single week?
It is all related to the vision and mission that I have clearly pasted inside of my head. It’s related to my ‘Why.’ I check off all of the items on my to-do every single day, even though some days I feel like killing myself rather than doing work, because it is all moving me closer to that goal post. That goal that is stuck stealthily to my head. Just like the pictures that were stuck on the wall for my friend.
Even Today, I Would Rather Die Than Work, But I Still Did It
I woke up today and realized that it was going to be one of those days, where I had to write a blog post. Instantly, my skin started crawling from fear. Procrastination, my old enemy, reared its head once again.
Oh no, I don’t think I can do it. I have nothing to write about. I have nothing interesting to say. No one reads my shit anyways, so why bother? Why am I doing this to myself?
All of this self-doubt started pouring down my back like a cold sweat, so that by the time, I decided to write out my blog post, I was in a state of panic. No, I didn’t want to write. I didn’t want to do anything. All I wanted to do was laze around, and self-sabotage my future self, by reading manga.
Strategies To Counteract This Procrastination Problem
Thankfully, I have encountered this situation several hundred times before. I know how to deal with it. First of all, I let myself be distracted for a few hours. I know I am going to do it anyways, so I do it with intention. I give myself a couple of hours in which I just laze around, fart around, and do nothing important. The thing about lazing about is that eventually it gets boring. At least for me, I get bored of it very fast, and then I am hankering to do some real work.
Secondly, I will allow myself days where I get nothing productive done. I have had some days where I will wake up and know that I am not going to do anything useful today. On those days, I will allow myself to get into absolute lazy mode, and do nothing. Because the day after that, I am so excited and motivated to work, that I get so much more shit done than normal.
Lastly, I always remind myself that I am lucky to be able to do the work that I do. I get up every morning, and I get to work on stuff I really care about. This isn’t some reality TV. This is my real life, and I get to live it everyday. I’m lucky enough to live this life, and I am not going to throw it away, because I didn’t ‘feel’ like working one or two days.