Often times I’m struck with the mind boggling power of inspiration. The inspiration to create something tremendous that will shake the world up and have people talking for years. The problem is, it’s often at night before I go to bed. In the morning the motivation is gone and I’m left dealing with all the other routine crap (like e-mails, bills, and inquiries from annoying monetization companies) that you have to take care of before getting to real work. If only there was a way to harness that inspirational energy and mold it into a tool that could be brandished at any moment. If you had this power you’d be unstoppable. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to do that with 100% efficiency yet. I’m still searching for the magic bullet, but there might not really be one.
A big part of motivation simply comes from energy levels.
Fortunately a few things might help with keeping energy levels up, but they have drawbacks:
- Caffeine – Sometimes pounding a cup of strong coffee will give decent results, but it doesn’t always work and there’s a good chance the jitters will take over. Plus, being dependent on a substance isn’t healthy.
- Milestones – Sometimes having a big milestone can trigger huge bursts of performance, but that can also create burnout due to all the stress.
- Laziness – Yes, this has happened to me quite often. Sometimes sleeping in until 1pm will have me busting out of bed with a big fat slab of guilt hanging over my head which propels me into a very productive day. This usually blows my sleeping schedule out of the water which leads to lower performance days later.
Fortunately again, there are quite a few small things that can lead to big improvements in energy and motivation:
- Exercise regularly – The days I go on a hard run are often my best work days too. Maybe it’s all the extra oxygen being pumped through my body, or lack thereof, or the endorphins, or sweating out toxins, or seeing the sun, or a hundred other things, but one thing’s for sure: regular exercise keeps your body working on a higher level.
- Sleep well – Keeping a regular sleep schedule that includes plenty of sleep might be my number 1 setback. It’s very apparent when I haven’t had enough sleep. My work performance, inspiration, and overall motivation to do anything at all are driven straight into the ground. I wouldn’t doubt if this is the most prevalent problem people face when dealing with motivation.
- Keep a schedule – There’s a much higher chance you’ll do something you don’t want to do if you have to be somewhere and do the task at a certain time. Creating video games isn’t always a glorious walk in the park. There will be tasks you need to deal with that you don’t necessarily want to do so it’s easy to get sidetracked and browse your twitter feed, then check your e-mail, then browse your twitter feed again. You get the idea. If you keep a regular schedule for when you’re supposed to be working you can reward yourself with 20 minutes of watching game trailers or replying to @MisfitsAttic‘s never-ending tweets about A Virus Named Tom.
- Be around people – If you work by yourself it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important, and even to fall into insanity. Having another human being around to bounce ideas off of, laugh at cat videos, or share stories of when you weren’t in the war can be a huge boon to your mental and physical well being. Humans are social animals and need that connection to stay healthy. It’s called a social SKILL for a reason.
- Move around – Don’t sit in the same position staring at a monitor for 8+ hours a day. Get up at least every hour to keep your blood moving, your joints limber, and to give your eyes and wrists a break. Go outside! We weren’t meant to sit indoors and stare at pixels all day long.
There are literally hundreds of specific things I could list out. If you’re having energy or motivational issues just focusing on a few of the big issues (exercise, sleep, schedule) will generate big results. I haven’t quite mastered these yet, but I’m making strides in the right direction.
Here’s to taking on the world!