How To Stay Motivated When Life Is Less Than Motivating



Posting frequency has been a bit erratic here lately (obvs). With the folding of the New York Sun, I lost my main source of income, causing me to rethink my goals and my ideal work situation. In addition, as I wait on several checks, I’m terrified of the money running out before I can pay all of my bills. Though such instability can be a common occurrence for the freelancer, the situation has left me feeling depressed and unfocused.

I still can’t deny, however, that it’s a definite treat to be able to spend so much time writing from home. So how do I keep myself motivated?

Don’t Oversleep:

Those suffering from depression often lose the energy and motivation to complete even the smallest tasks. Those of us merely cursed with a creative block can similarly lose the momentum to get things done. A tempting alternative? Sleep.

Don’t give in. Don’t oversleep. Don’t pass out in front of the latest ANTM marathon. Just the act of maintaining a regular sleep schedule can be beneficial, while those who seek solace in oversleep just become more groggy and unproductive. Getting out of bed in the morning can be a superhuman act during the tough times, but taking the step will get you that much closer to the end of your funk.

Remember To Shower:

These first two steps are identical to the ones I mentioned way back at the beginning of this blog, when I was talking about being a disciplined freelancer. That’s because you need to maintain that discipline even when the road is rough, and the work is less than forthcoming. Especially when the work is less than forthcoming. But this step is about more than putting you into a professional state of mind. I don’t know about you guys, but I can barely function if my hair is dirty. After doing up my early morning blog posts, I hop in the shower to give myself a second wind, letting the hot water wake me up and put me into a get-up-and-go mood.

Get Some Fresh Air:

If getting anything done remains akin to pulling teeth, step away from the work. Take a walk, even. You could use some fresh air and physical activity. Taking that break will energize you, uplift your spirits, and allow you to look at your project with new eyes upon your return.


Is it nutso of me to consider endings so exciting because of the new beginnings they promise? If I dig down deep into the depression I’m feeling right now, I can find the thrill of possibility that I initially felt when I lost my main gig. You don’t require something so final, however, in order to reevaluate the way you’re doing things. Revisit this post I did last month as a means of guiding your own reevaluation. It could serve to breathe new life into the work you’re doing now, thereby ending your motivational slump.

Mastermind New Ideas:

Naturally following this reevaluation is the masterminding of new ideas. Perhaps your inability to get things done is a sign that you’re no longer being challenged by the work you do. Is it time for your business to grow? How can you bring something new to your business in a way that is synergistic with what you are already doing?

When I first began exploring non-personal blogging, I created a self-help blog, which fit in nicely with the work I was doing in publishing (marketing behavioral science books) and my obsession with the self-help genre. When it occurred to me that most of my later posts were focusing on career how-tos, I decided to shift focus and create Freelancedom. Now, I’m trying to pull together the money for a career coaching certification, an area that I feel will tie in nicely with the work I’m doing on this blog. Thinking of new ways to manipulate my work as life in general shifts is a fun exercise in creative thinking.

Plow On Through:

When all else fails, just keep on pushing yourself to work. You never know when your day-to-day tasks might lead you to a career epiphany. As a writer, I learned that it’s best to force myself to write every day, even when facing a creative block. Train-of-thought writing exercises and personal blogging keep me in practice, and sometimes lead to aha! moments and new ideas.

Take Inspiration From Life:

I’ve worried lately that — with posts like this, this, this, and this — I’ve become a bit of a downer. The thing is, it’s hard to ignore the things I’ve been struggling with lately and, what’s more, I feel it would be disingenuous. I assume, though, that I’m not the only one who’s ever felt this way, or experienced what I’m experiencing. That’s the case with most every life experience, no matter how personal it may seem at the time, and you should be using such experiences to your advantage — and to others. You have much to teach others just by making it through a tough time.


  1. Most things in there are so very true! I function much better and my work is better by far when I get out of bed early, go for some fresh air and then shower. It just puts me in a productive mood and provides focus for my day. You need the mindset that ‘I’m going to work jut like everyone else’ (albeit i work 20 yards from my bed). Those days where i’ve worked too late the night before and I oversleep, it’s so hard to get going that I find it easy to write off my day and just flit around online.

    Thanks for the security that i’m not the only one! I’m sure something new and exciting is just around the corner for you.

  2. @Lee: Thanks for the optimism, Lee. 🙂 The hardest part is always listening to your own advice.


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