By Jayson Bronkhorst
Some people love winter, but it tends to bring out the worst in me. Winter is cold. Gray. Cars take 10 minutes to warm up before being driven in the morning, and indoor heaters are unable to keep up. But there's one other key part of this season that can often feel far too apparent: the lack of motivation.
I'd be lying if I said life has been easy lately. It has been busy, and even though I have already gone through the process of learning how to say no, I'm finding myself all too caught up in too many commitments. It all just keeps building up until I find myself overcome by all of it, and feel alone in my mind surrounded by insurmountable obligations. My mind can often feel like a wasteland.
Jealousy is one mindset that can keep me in this rut. If I ever tell you that I'm not a jealous person, that's the pride talking. It tends to begin as bitterness or just unhinged, unreasonable anger towards a person or company that I hold inside of me. It keeps up in my mind until I realize it's an issue, at which point I break it down in attempt to get to the root... and it almost always ends in jealousy.
There have been several times where I've felt the need to confront a person directly and apologize to them for the grudge I've been holding against them. 99 percent of the time, they have no idea and are more taken aback than anything, but it is an important exercise for me to keep my ego in check. Forcing myself to essentially compliment the person I am jealous of breaks down every bit of pride I had left, but it breaks down the grudge along with it. I find jealousy to be rampant in times of personal struggle or desert; it is much easier to envy someone's good situation than work through the problems of my own.
Apathy is another state of mind that can be so easy for me, especially when I'm already behind schedule on something, to just keep putting it off. It was different when I was in school, because there were deadlines. What about for my resolutions for the new year? Or designing that logo that I said I would help with in my spare time? Nobody's going to keep me accountable on that stuff. These are things that I want to better myself in, but I feel stuck.
A Need For Consistency
Before I share this last bit, I am by no means an expert or a scientist. This is just some stuff that I've found to work for me, a young adult with a scattered brain and good intentions (also I'm pretty sure there's science to some of it, I've heard a lot of it from good sources). Here are five things that might help motivate you and keep you on track towards your vague goals and obligations.
1. Drink more water.
This is one of my resolutions for the new year, and I could immediately feel the difference in my energy level after just a week of drinking the intended amount (about half your body weight in ounces... at least that's what I've been doing).
2. If you're working on something and your mind is wandering, do something else.
I'm fairly sure I have some sort of attention disorder that never got diagnosed, but hey, I've made it this far! Moving on always helps me to clear my head, even if it's just for a minute. Because once my mind starts wandering, it doesn't come back.
3. Set your own deadlines.
This is a huge helper for me, and I often will just set reminders for certain tasks on my phone. "Do laundry" at 3:00PM. "Design hoodie" at 5. It's not like I'm forgetting to do these things, I just have to put it on the schedule so I force myself to do it.
4. Do the shortest tasks first--immediately if possible.
If I make my list of reminders and some of them take a few minutes or less, like "take out the trash," "send email," and "bring package to work," I will try to do as many of those as quick as possible. Sometimes, when work gets built up, I can look at my huge list of stuff to do and become very quickly overwhelmed, causing a stalemate in my mind. If I just start to do a few things rather than think about them and let them sit in my queue, that momentum starts to snowball into bigger tasks. Even if it requires me getting out of my slippers and blanket and walking outside on my day off, I'll force myself to do it.
5. Do one thing at a time.
Most of the time, I'm the one with 37 tabs open. in my web browser. Watching the football score in one tab, Facebook open in the next, all 3 of my email accounts, the video game deals I'm watching, the form I'm filling out, the Google search I just did... it can get overwhelming. It's the same thing as staring down a long list of reminders; it can cause stagnancy. If you're filling out a form, close everything else. If you're writing an email, close everything else. It helps keep your mind clear.