Monday, November 28, 2011

{what i've learned}:: staying motivated & being productive

I keep telling you guys that I'm no expert at these things when I share {what i've learned} about blogging, starting a handmade shop, etc. Well, I really mean it this time.

 I learned a long time ago that I am not an intrinsically motivated person. I need treats, rewards, threats, er, goals I mean, to really get myself to focus and be productive. There are some people that are great self-motivators and they just get it done.

 Not me.

There are days when I had all the intentions in the world of finishing x paintings and getting orders shipped out, but I end up dilly-dallying the whole day and basically got nothing done. That being said, here's what I've learned about what personally motivates me and helps keep me productive. Hopefully these tips will resonate with you, whether you are a small business owner, blogger, stay-at-home wife/mom, or whatever.

shut it down.

I'm such a social person and while I love working from home, I miss talking to people. So, I end up chatting all day on Twitter and Facebook to get that people time I need. That's okay in small doses, but it often gets to the point where it's distracting me from my work.

If this sounds familiar to you, you need to simply shut it down. Turn off your laptop, throw your phone under your bedroom pillow and ignore them. I've heard people say to give yourself five minute increments to play online, but I end up getting sucked in if I sit down for "just 5 minutes", so I need to just shut myself off from social media for the afternoon. I don't actually shut down social media every day. But on the days I do, I notice that I get a lot more work done.

The only thing that I don't shut down while I work is my music. I usually always have Pandora playing to keep my energy up. My favorite stations are The Civil Wars, The Beach Boys, and Priscilla Ahn, depending on my mood.

treat yourself.

My love language is gifts ( hint, hint), so maybe this motivator has something to do with that. I love using rewards for myself. Sometimes those rewards are a day off if I get x number of paintings done in a week, or maybe even purchasing something I've been eyeing on Etsy after finishing a particularly challenging piece. A day off reward usually consists of shutting myself out of my studio and doing things like working on my tan, reading a library book and catching up on my shows-- "frivolous" things that seem like a waste on a work day. So, that's a pretty good motivator for me!

Sometimes I even use food as a reward. I'll give myself a few minutes for a yummy snack once I hit a certain daily goal. I know that might not be the healthiest reward system for some people, but it works for me. If I know I'll get to chow down on some Oreos when I'm finished with the Cuties I'm painting, I'm more likely to keep my nose to the grindstone than to let myself get distracted.

write down your goals.

I'm externally motivated, a "gifts" kind of girl, and I'm also a visual person. So it really helps me to write down my goals. I've neglected to do this lately, I'm realizing that I need to get better at it. I'm working on a little project to help me be better at writing down my goals-- I'll be sure to share with you guys when I'm finished! Writing down my goals for the day, week and month gives me a visual for what I want to accomplish and that feeling of crossing it off the list is sooo rewarding!

Another thing that helps is making my goals public. Sometimes I'll tweet a few daily goals in the morning. Usually one or two of my handmade buddies will pick up on the tweet and hold me accountable.

{what they've learned}

Here are a few tips and thoughts from my twitter buddies and facebook fans for staying motivated!

Kim says:: CREATING something that's 100% a reflection of YOUR creativity, style, and passion. I think a lot of times people see something and think "I can make this or that, so I'll start an etsy shop selling the same things," when in reality, that will not motivate you for long. Actually putting the time, energy, and effort into coming up with new things (I am a firm believer that there IS something new under the sun) and designs, you will enjoy every bit of the process - from sketching to packaging it to send to a loyal customer.

Karen says:: staying motivated = a pot of coffee :) It's liquid motivation...all joking aside... to do lists getting 'scratched' off, help motivate me to keep on going!

Kassi and Kayli say:: Loving what you are doing to start with!!! There's NO way you're going to stay motivated if it was something you just kinda liked... ;)

Laura says:: Knowing that there's no job I'd rather be doing! As crazy as it gets, it's my dream job!

Let's continue the discussion in the comments below! What have you learned about staying motivated and being productive while working at home (or at the office!)? Do you use any of the tips above?



  1. Love this post. I get so distracted once I jump on the computer. I'm exactly the same way. I have to set rules for myself or I get nothing done.

    Making lists help me stay focused. It keeps me on top of everything. I agree about being creative. I think experimenting with your own personal style can keep it true to you and fresh. Avoid looking around too much.

  2. Ah! Glad you posted this! I read your tweet earlier when you asked how people stay motivated and was going to ask what people were saying.

    I'm not a motivated person either. I'm actually really unmotivated. Its horrible. What motivates me most? An iced mocha or two. =) This morning I didn't want to do a thing, but I had my iced mocha and then actually moved... lol. I definitely need to be more motivated, but hey its a start!

  3. you hit the nail on the head, girl. i also loved what kim had to say. both of you girls are so wise - muwah!

  4. I am a halfway motivated kind of gal, if that makes any sense. I have enough motivation to get started on some ideas... but I don't always have the motivation to KEEP doing whatever it is. I LOVE making things, which is why I have recently downloaded a lot of crochet patterns for different things I could try to make. I think being here in Afghanistan is part of my problem because there is not a whole lot to do around here... so I have a LOT of "free time" [I say it like that because sometimes things come up or get in the way of my free time]. Maybe when I get back home and have things to do like bills, hanging out with friends, plans with my fiance, and house stuff, maybe I will have more motivation to get stuff done. Does that even make sense?

    Writing down things on a To-Do list helps, as well as keeping a calender. :) Music is a must have 90% of my day

    <3 Jenn

  5. All of these are great!! Love this post! I feel like I am constantly having to hide my phone so I won't play on it when I should be getting stuff done! love language is gifts too! Or at least that's what I tell my husband. :) Keep up the good work're such an inspiration! I hope you know that!

  6. Great list of tips! I like "Shut it Down" personally. It's often what I have to do for myself because I get so wrapped up in the computer. Thanks girl. <3

  7. Shut it down is probably why it takes me SO LONG to get my homework done lol.

  8. thanks for the post! i totally know what you mean! i justify reading blogs/tweeting/etc. with a lot of different reasons but if I focus on the tasks at hand, I get more done and can actually work on extra stuff because I'm not sitting here always trying to catch up. thanks for the pointers, friend! have a lovely day!

  9. Love this post--It's so easy for me to get run down while working. For me, the hardest thing can be to come home from my day job and then put in more work for my shop! I love the pointers and have done them all!

    I have also made shop working hours "fun hours"...put on a fun movie, have a fun coffee, it's work time, but it's also fun!

  10. These tips are great! I really need to do better about turning off social media when working on projects. I'm the same way, i get sucked in!!! Seems silly that it's so hard to pull myself away, but it's a black hole!

  11. I totally agree with you on shutting it down. It's impossible for me to just stay on the web for 5 mins. I personally can't.
    Rewards are great. Keeps your eye on the prize :]
    Keeping a list of things to get done is what helps me the most. I love crossing things off my lists..sooo rewarding!


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