Motivation: 3 Months In

Tomorrow is the lovely three-month anniversary of the last time that we were on land. If you’d rather count days, today is lucky number 91. I don’t know if there is anything particularly lucky about it but maybe if I put it out in the universe it will be.

I want to preface all of this by saying that life onboard here is pretty good. We have a pool to swim in, our meals are pretty nice, we’re currently staying in a suite, I am writing this from our balcony, we aren’t in constant quarantine, (albeit we practice social distancing, have daily temperature checks, and whatnot) and lastly, we’re here together. This post isn’t about any of those things. It’s all about keeping yourself motivated, and well, the current struggle I am having with that.

I’ve always worked better with deadlines. That’s why for this blog I gave myself the Tuesday and Thursday deadline. I have to get it done. Think about how pathetic that would be that after 91 days onboard of not having to work I managed to not get something as simple as a blog post done? It’s safe to say that this blog has kept me more on track, accountable for my time, and by way of having a task to get done, happier, than I would have been without it.

When time is a factor, when there is something that truly needs to get done, lack of motivation is not a problem. Give me a week to get it done and there will be more done in that week than you ever thought I could have done. Give me a month to get it done and it might be a little further along than it would have been in that week – or maybe not. Give me 91 days to get an undefined “something” done within the confines of a ship, especially when there is, at this point, no end in sight to those days? There is always a tomorrow that you could get it done. The tomorrows sometimes feel endless. The motivation to get something done disappears as you realize you are going to be in this situation for somewhere between the three months that have already gone and who-the-hell-knows-how-long?

Need-less-to-say this week – a week where I actually have gotten into somewhat of a routine and have more to do than normal – has kind of been kicking my be-hind for motivation.

Right now my ambition level is the same of an office worker that found out they have to come to work every day – even though they’ve gotten all their work done – from now until some undefined time. Oh! And, as easy as it would be to binge-watch The Office, Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Parks & Recreation, and Sex and the City, or binge-read all seven Harry Potter books you need to get something done. It doesn’t matter what you get done and no one will be checking whether or not you did – but alas, you need to get something done. How else, when so much of life is defined by our accomplishments, will you be able to look back at three months and think anything but “wow, I wasted so much time that I will never get back?”

It’s been a bit of a challenge for me to find my motivation. I’m confident for the crew that are on and still working well past their contract dates until some unknown date that their motivation is also likely lacking.

The feeling of “we’re all in the same boat” has never been so real.

Alas, in light of this I have been trying to go back to the motivational tricks I used to use when I worked at my office job! I always knew they would come in handy again, just never in this particular way.

  • Decide what needs to get done that day.
    • Note: In this case read as, What can you do that will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment for the day?
    • Make to do lists!
    • Do this daily or weekly. If you aren’t working “per hour” you can also make a larger weekly to do list and when you have completed all of the items you can have a guilt-free day off.
    • If you have one task that you’ve been perpetually avoiding, try breaking it down into smaller more manageable tasks. For this blog for instance the big task could be, “get your next posts ready”, that could be broken down into, “pick topics for the next 4 posts”, “write a first draft of one post”, “create cover photos for one post”, etc.
    • Plus, when you break down tasks, you get the extra satisfaction of crossing more things off your to-do list!
  • Set designated working times, and then reward yourself with a break after.
    • For instance, commit to working from 9:00-9:30, after which you give yourself a five-minute coffee/tea break.
  • When you really can’t focus:
    • Go for a short walk
      • In general, make a point to do some exercise every day.
        • It helps clear your mind.
        • If you exercise at the very minimum you will have accomplished that for the day.
  • Stand up and stretch
    • Make yourself a cup of tea
  • Commit to finishing something before you can do something else.
    • For instance: You have to finish a blog post before you can go swimming in the pool.

What tricks do you use to keep your motivation up? As things start to open back up at home are you finding an increase in your motivation?

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