Motivation is easy when you work for an employer and have an assigned manager who is tasked with the job of keeping the production flowing. This type of management allows you the luxury of doing your assigned job and go home. However, if you are a self-employed individual, you are responsible for your own motivation.
There are many self-employed people who have offices or retail shops to go to everyday where their motivation comes from clients or shoppers. If you are a creative who works at home with relatively little interaction with clients or shoppers, motivation can become an elusive thing.
Artists, designers, writers and other creatives thrive on the isolation needed in order to keep their creativity flowing, but that same isolation can become a detriment when motivation wanes.
How do you stay motivated while isolated?
It is fairly easy for motivation to escape a creative. Unless they are working with a specific deadline or with a client, they are left to their own devices to create, and that can become a problem. In most cases, a creative stays motivated by the challenge of creating, but when that challenge is lost, it is time to find something that will trigger the desire to continue.
1 – Expand Your Skills
Someone who designs jewelry may have a set of techniques and materials that they work with on a regular basis, but at some point, those designs and skills may become stale to them and their customers. When they are no longer interested in creating those designs, their work starts to suffer, and they become uninterested in continuing with their jewelry designs. This is true of any skill that loses its appeal.
If you find yourself tired of doing the same thing over and over again, then maybe it is time to change it up by learning a new skill set in your creative field. Grab a technique book or take an online course or local class that adds to your skills. Even if you never incorporate the technique into your repertoire, you will have given your creativity a boost.
2 – Explore Your Counterparts
Regardless of what type of creativity you engage in, there are contemporaries in your field in your area, so it is fairly easy to connect with them. Whether you interact with them or not is completely up to you, but you can gain a lot of motivation by talking with someone who understands your medium.
If you paint, then visit a local gallery. If you are a photographer, you may find local photos hanging in the halls of your city’s government buildings. You can stop by a local photography studio or camera shop and talk new equipment with the owner. A writer can drop in on a local book signing or a jewelry designer can visit area boutiques or small businesses for inspiration.
There are always places you can go where you can meet up with others who share your passion for your art. Not to mention the fact that social interactions are a benefit to your overall good health and well-being.
3 – Take a Break
Creativity is a fickle master and the harder you try, the more elusive it can become, so it is very beneficial to take breaks away from your creations. This is very effective if you know what motivates you. If you are a fan of music, find a place to listen to some live music. If you like sports, go to a sporting event, even if it is a kid’s baseball game in the middle of the afternoon.
Since you work for yourself, you are not constrained by a boss that expects you to churn out a product. Breaks help you detach from the task and regroup your thought process. As a creative, you know that often times your greatest flashes of inspiration are when you are operating subconsciously.
4 – Puzzles and Challenges
The mind is a muscle just like your heart, and like your heart, it needs to be exercised. Studies have indicated that doing puzzles or challenges help to stave off some signs of an aging brain. While most of the studies are still in their infancy and have not compiled reliable data, it should come as no surprise to a creative that brain stimulation is a key component in creative health. After all, creatives thrive on puzzles and challenges.
Even a few minutes of penciling in the answers to an easy crossword puzzle or a half hour spent filling in the boxes on a Sudoku puzzle can give the brain a place to play and allow it to reset its creative ability. If you find yourself stalled on a project, then grab a word search puzzle book and start searching for words that will help unlock your subconscious.
5 – Physical Activity
A creative may spend hours and hours in one spot as they work on a painting or a specific jewelry design, and all of that time in one place can take a toll on the body and the mind. A tired mind can no longer find the motivation needed to finish a project or start a new one. It needs to be refreshed.
While not everyone enjoys going to the gym, that is a place that allows you to work your body out while letting your brain rest and recoup its energy. The Alzheimer’s Association suggests that by staying physically fit, you reduce the risk of developing cognitive diseases. Besides, what better way to jump-start your creativity than doing mindless activities like a few miles on a treadmill or a stationary bicycle?
If you are not a gym person, then take a walk around your yard and admire the plants or jump on your bicycle and ride around the block and admire other people’s plants. The point is to get the body moving and let the brain rest.
When you find yourself stuck in the middle of a project, your brain may just need a diversion to get it to return to its original course. These suggestions will help you get back to your creative self and may even help your overall physical and mental health. If you find yourself staring at your project in disinterest, try doing one of these exercises and give your brain a break.