How I Stay Inspired | 2016
When I'm studying, working on new content for the blog or just doing the weekly housekeeping, I stay motivated by consciously working towards the end goal, finding what works best for me and celebrating little wins along the way. We all need a healthy amount of routine but let's face it, some tasks just get tedious and boring (which, as we all know, ultimately leads to procrastination).
Now that I've started working from home a few days a week, alongside my part-time day job, it's become even more important for me to stay focused and get shit done. Especially when it's all too easy to do practically nothing.
I've dated this 2016 because my preferences and methods will surely change over time as I discover potentially better things or if the work itself changes but as of right now, these are the little things that inspire me to work smarter, motivate me to finish tasks and give me that sweet, sweet feeling of satisfaction when I cross off things on my to-do list.
Wake up early
This is consistently a tough one for me because boy oh boy, am I a night owl despite the fact that I love waking up early. I aim to sleep by 10pm and wake at 6am (I need my 8 hours or I'll have a horrible headache). I don't really have a choice for my day job since Kevin and I commute together and we're out of the house by 6:30am to catch the train into the city, but on my days at home, it's the only way I can have a slow, indulgent morning before diving headfirst into tasks.
If I haven't already done it the night before, I go over my day's tasks with a hot drink in hand (coffee, tea or just hot water) with music playing in the background. I like spending the early part of my day brainstorming and planning. Writing on pretty stationery is my favourite but I also use Evernote to easily refer back to my braindump.
I actually don't use social media all that much but I am deeply addicted to Pinterest and the endless spiral you don't really know how you got yourself in an hour or two later when you've clicked a few too many related pins. I'm not endorsed by Pinterest (although considering my usage, I probably should be), I just love how much you can find on there. Blog posts, recipes, cleaning hacks, organisation inspiration (my favourite) and many dog pictures.
I create secret boards for practically everything so that I can always revisit my pinning frenzies when I'm in need of inspiration. Bonus: I'm a chronic screenshotter so I just upload them straight onto a board. Bam! This probably seems time-consuming but this saves me time and stress later on when I'm running low on space, plus everything is kept in the one place.
You can find me on Pinterest here but don't say I didn't warn you — I pin an unreasonable amount at any given time. I haven't nailed the whole scheduling thing yet...
This is a bit broad because it can differ depending on the day. If I don't leave the house (you know, because I'm lazy or cold), then my offline time is 30 or 60 minutes of yoga and/or playing guitar, otherwise it's a brisk walk around my local park.
I think it's really important to make a conscious effort to 'check in' and reflect on your day (or week or month or year). Sometimes we just go, go go and we forget to breathe. I like to reflect on what I've done so far, if it aligns with my priorities and where I'd like to do next. With this blog especially, I need the time to reflect on the kind of content that I want to be putting out there. You know, do what you love and makes you happy and all.
If there was one thing I'd want everyone to do more, it would be this. Not just go offline, but check in with yourself and your body, and just reflect. Self-awareness is a beautiful thing.
I'm pretty messy but I love cleaning and decluttering. I don't know about you guys but a clean and tidy desk seriously motivates me to get work done. Immediately after I tidy, I get a sense of accomplishment and feel much more productive already (or is this just productive procrastination? Hmm).
I try to keep only the things I use often on the desk (my planner, stationery etc.), and Pinterest-inspired decor of course. The best decluttering tip I've picked up is that it's much, much easier to maintain the minimal space of your dreams if you give everything a place to reside and return to (thanks Marie Kondo).
DO IT DIFFERENTLY
Mix it up, yo! Sit somewhere different, listen to different music, use different colours or tools — if your creative process is becoming stagnate, try to do it differently. For example, I am writing the latter part of this post on the toilet (gross but not even joking) but I'm definitely not going to make this a regular thing. I've found that a bit of spontaneity or a new experience can help to spark some inspiration. I'm the fidgety gets-bored-easily type so I try to do at least one thing differently each day but other people might prefer some more structure to their days.
This is still a work in progress for me as I continue to work better and smarter but documenting the journey is one way to grow. I'd love to hear what works for you — where do you need inspiration the most? Studying? Writing? Organising? Life in general?