Apr 1, 2016 · 3 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

Last time we talked about avoiding time sucks. But what leads us to falling into the trap of distraction and wasting our time? Why can it be so hard sometimes to focus on the thing we love?

For me, as I’m sure for most of us, motivation ebbs and flows, so it can be an unreliable tool to keep us going through the inevitable drudgery that comes in the pursuit of any passion. And the dangerous part is when we’re in that drudgery, we question why we’re doing this, what good is all this effort, and if anyone really cares. That’s when we can convince ourselves that it’s not worth it and give up.

So inspiration is important in keeping us going when it gets tough. But like any cycle, there are ups and downs, and when you’re in the down part, getting back up takes a lot of work. Here are a few things I try to do to keep inspired and keep plugging away.

Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. If you’re a writer, remember why you love to write: to get your message out, to connect with others, to tell important stories. Some days though, the muse doesn’t show up, the words don’t flow, and the ones that do are so bad, you know they’ll all get scrapped. But if you keep going, you will get that great sentence; you will get in a state of flow; your message will be heard. The same is true for artists or practitioners of a sport or other activity. Hard work and exercise get easier if you remember why you need to do them.

Build an inspiration board

This can be a bulletin board with inspiring pictures, colors, phrases or other items that pertain to your work. It can be a notebook where you write down inspiring quotes or keep educational materials. It can be a Pinterest board with clips from around the web that will keep you going. However you choose to corral your inspiration, be sure you have someplace where you can check back and be reminded of what you’re trying to accomplish.

Find a buddy or a support group

Why go it alone when there are people that want to help you, and that would love your help in return? Find a mentor or a buddy who will encourage you, listen to your ideas and give some guidance as well.

Keep showing up

Don’t rely on motivation to get you out the door for a run or to get paint on the canvas. Motivation strikes sporadically, and if you rely on that, your work will also be sporadic and less likely to improve. Schedule a time each day to practice your art. I’ve found that scheduling it at the same time each day makes it more of a routine, and I don’t really have to think too hard about whether to do it. It just becomes automatic. Then set a timer to make sure you work for a minimum amount of time each day. If you want to keep going past that, great, but some days it’s tough just doing the bare minimum.

In the end, doing the work you love will keep you inspired to continue.

What keeps you inspired through the drudgery?


Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.