Yesterday I was struggling to get my “happy plane” off the ground to do some writing, but I just couldn’t get my mindset into a creative mood.
I knew what I wanted to write, but the sentences were clumsy. Then I did what any smart creative person does…
I picked up one of my super rubber duckies and just looked at it and squeezed it.
I give presentations and throw these superhero duckies out into the crowd to help remind people that they have superpowers. Funny how I forget the simple reminders that I know are useful to my clients.
Toys can have a calming effect on even the grumpiest adults.
I said to myself, “Why not have a little more fun with your work?”
Then I picked up my Spiderman golf putter that my brother gave me for Christmas, grabbed a golf ball, dropped it on my carpet, picked a little opening between the wall and the couch, and hit the ball toward the opening. Another smile came over me.
After sixteen tries, I got the ball in the opening, and I smiled for the third time.
Then a thought of what I wanted to say in my blog post popped into my head. I put my putter aside and the writing started to come a little easier.
And I remembered that being playful in my work truly does matter in order for me to be creative. Taking a break can be more productive than going through the motions, and that rubber duckies and indoor golf can actually help me regain focus, clarity and forward momentum.
Although hugs, handshakes, high fives, and other experiences that bring us in contact with other people can motivate us to maintain forward momentum, we can also choose a physical object to remind us to be playful or to refocus when we’re stuck and no one else is around. Think of it as an emotional trigger to bring a little happiness back into your workday.
Step 1 – Find your motivation object.
Look around your workspace and see if you notice an object that you might not have been aware of before that helps quiet your thoughts..
It could be a…
- Photo of a loved one
- Action figure
- Stress ball
- Golf putter
The key here is to use this object to trigger the next step.
Step 2 – Use a phrase to help you relax and shift the focus of your thoughts.
If you noticed in the example above, I used a phrase that helps me let go of my stress and helps me focus on what I want to happen next.
I said to myself, “Why not have a little more fun with my work?”
I don’t force it, and you shouldn’t either.
And don’t just repeat your phrase once and try to get right back to work.
Use your phrase and allow yourself the time and emotional space to take a break and then start to get your mindset back on track.
Step 3 – Bring yourself back to taking action.
When you try to get yourself back on track, think of one thing you can do to improve your motivation, and then think of the next little step to make that a reality, so you can start taking action again, but this time in a little more focused direction.
In my case, I wanted to do some writing. So I gave myself the space to allow the creativity back into my mind by being playful.
You shouldn’t force the issue of what you want your mind and body to do next. Just plant the seed and allow yourself to relax. Then let your brain and body do what it wants to do naturally.
I suggest not to make your motivation object anything like your phone because it can be more of a distraction than a object to help you get back on track. You don’t want to get lost in a game and lose our on valuable work time if you can get your motivation back on track in 10 or 20 minutes.
The same thing goes for food. You don’t probably don’t want to rely on a donut every time you need an motivation boost.
How do you get your motivation back on track when you