Maintaining Motivation

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I've been facing an uphill battle to keep motivation and interest in my day-to-day. My office project has been a bit of a slog to get launched, and by the end of the day, I don't have the drive to come home and try to play with things at home.

How are people combating scenarios like this, and what things do you do to keep excited / refreshed about the things you're working on?

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I go through phases of this, and I also go back and forth between being excited about stuff at work versus being excited about side projects.

Sometimes things just aren't going well at work and that really drains your energy. When that happens to me, I try to tell myself that I need to relax and not feel guilty about it. After all, doing stuff on the side is meant to be something that you enjoy doing. By stepping away for a bit and getting what I need to get resolved either at work or with other things in life, everything is able to fall back into place and you remember why you enjoy working on side projects or just playing around with new frameworks/tools.

 

Def. been there, done that.

My advice from experience is:

  • Sometimes you just need to not code at all for a few weeks
  • Try to start investing into other people - whether by promoting them online, creating a newsletter that helps people, or building a small tool that you know will help people. Helping real people and interacting with the community is something I've found just never get's tired.

But building side-projects and coding def. can burn me out. I've had to take a number of breaks (still kinda on one right now...)

I'd super-duper highly recommended this article that gives a plan for you to figure out "what you should be working on". It's really life-changing...really...seriously - if you do it.

 
  1. Learning at work is more useful than learning at homeβ€”more realistic, more practical, better constraints, often more support (codewithoutrules.com/2017/09/09/le...). So there's nothing wrong with just coding on the job.

  2. Day to day work... a lot of it comes from understanding your goals, and caring about your goals, and trying to line up multiple goals. So like you'll feel more motivated if it's not just a paycheck, but a project you think is worthwhile, and you're learning something, and you don't want to let your teammates down. If it's boring and you don't care about the outcome, might be time for a new job. (Long version: codewithoutrules.com/2017/08/03/st...).

 

Building the habit to be consistent like working on 30 mins - 1 hour daily on only just 1 task.

Reducing time spent on entertainment like watching Netflix or YouTube.

It is useful if you install time tracking software like RescueTime to know where your hours is spend on a daily basis.

 

I feel you. Here's a couple things that I try to do:

Set small goals for yourself. If you can cross a few of them off your list, you'll feel better when your momentum eventually fades later in the day.

Like Sunny said, don't feel bad about being passionate about other things. If you can dive into something else you care about for a couple hours at night without guilt, it might help recharge you for the stuff you don't really want to be doing.

Find a way to create some accountability for yourself, maybe a colleague who can keep you in check. Knowing someone impartial is going to ask you about how things are going can do wonders for your productivity.

My motivation comes and goes. Honestly, the best thing for myself is to harness it and kick as much as as I can when it's there, and not be too hard on myself when it isn't.

 

I think everyone goes through phases like this. What helps me the most in situations like this are:

  1. Remembering what made me excited about my main/side project in the first place.
  2. Setting small goals each day.
  3. Reviewing what I've already achieved just to assess my progress.
  4. Doing things outside of work to relax and remind myself that my job is just one of the things I'm passionate about.
 

I feel you, as sometime I'm experiencing the same lack of motivation.
I'm still proud of the product I make, and some part of my daily job I still love, but I often find myself doing boring stuff and it is hard to being motivated.
Let me start by saying that if you reached the point when you don't care about your daily job you should start looking for a new one. I'm getting close to that point, I still give 100% to my job but keep asking myself why am I still here?
Anyway, that's what I suggest to try being motivated at work:

1) start the day with a small, easy task so you can get an achievement
2) learn something new, and not just read an article or listen to an online course, that's ok but you need to implement something, even simple
3) find the time to go to a place that makes you happy and relaxed. Although my office isn't close to home it is in the middle of two parks, so I always have a nice walk in one of them during lunch break and enjoy the quietness. When it rains I don't go to the park and it impacts my productivity in the afternoon.
4) try to take pride in everything you do. Even if a task is dumb, try to come up with a smart solution. Maybe take the time to learn something new even in a language you don't like and forced to use for that task.
5) go help a team mate. Similar to 1), you can get a sense of achievement.
6) if you don't like one of your project try not to think about it outside work, it would make you feel bad.
7) spend time with your family and friends, they're more important to your life in the long run than the project you're working on.

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Christopher Kruse profile image
AWS Engineer, Puzzle addict, Choral tenor, and teller of terrible puns. ζ™‚γ€…ζ‚ͺいζ—₯本θͺžγ‚’する