5 Ways to Get into Gear

Whether you’re a student, a teacher, a writer, or otherwise, getting into the mood to do something is an obstacle we must overcome. The first draft of my novel was completed in November, and here it is, the middle of April, and I am still editing on it. I also have to catch up on my book challenge and do lesson plans.

Here are a few things I’ve learned in the past few days about overcoming that, ‘I just don’t feel like it’ mood.

1. Remind yourself why

When I get home, I want to unwind, watch some good ole American TV shows and talk about how my day went. I don’t usually feel like cleaning, doing laundry, editing my novel, or even reading. I just want a passive activity that can help me chill out. When this happens, if it goes on for too long and I end up doing nothing all day, I know I will feel bad for being unproductive. So I remind myself why I want the task done. With cleaning, doing dishes, etc., I know that while it might be time consuming now, I will feel so much better when I have a clean workspace. With editing, I know that no one else is going to be able to edit my book for me. I have to be the one to get to work. Giving myself a reason helps me resolve to get it done.

2. Move around

Location really makes a difference. I watch TV on my laptop, so if I don’t change up where I sit to write and read and where I sit to watch TV, my brain will resist going into work mode. Another part to this is exercise. I feel so much better after I exercise, and it gets my productive juices flowing. Go for a walk and come back to your work if the zombie infection is taking over.

3. Stay hydrated

I usually drink tea or water and I keep snacks handy when I know I am going to be at something for a few hours. Not drinking enough water gives you headaches, and staring a a computer screen for too long without sustinence is not a good idea.

4. Crank some tunes

I usually can’t listen to music when I am trying to concentrate. Some people can, but I need silence when I need to think. That said, if I am feeling uninsipired, I usually get up, turn on some music, and concentrate on something else for a few minutes. If I am writing or editing a scene and I know what mood I am trying to create, I will put on a song with a similar feel. I usually feel more relaxed, refreshed, and inspired after singing along to something I love.

5. Set a timer

I did this for NaNoWriMo, but was recently reminded of this by a reader. Set a timer for 30 minutes and turn off your internet if you can. Keep the timer close to you (I do this on my phone) and don’t let yourself think of anything else until it goes off. Especially for writing and studying, this sets a good pace for on and off. You need to devote all your energy to being on, and when you are off, set a timer for your break so that you don’t get too distracted that you abandon your pursuit.

All of us deal with procrastination. Lately I have been so busy but so unwilling to do anything that I want to do. I feel bad about going home to relax when I know I have a ton of work to do. I hope following some of my own advice will keep me productive but still motivated.

Just remember that you are allowed to rest. Just don’t let your rest take up your work time.