When I originally started this blog, I treated it a lot like a journal for my life at university. And whenever I explain it to people nowadays in an effort to tell them about my journey to becoming more of a ‘content creator’ I go back to the time that I was in my first year at university - unmotivated, lonely during lockdown, and without direction.
This blog became part of my solution to get out of that rut. To prove to myself that I actually had something to do, something to say, and something to be.
That I wasn’t making the most of my potential, and I had so much more to give.
Recently I got a flashback notification on the app I use to journal, from exactly two years ago today. And reading it back, I realised just how much had stayed the same between then and now. That as much progress as I had made to become who I am today, I was still trying to force myself into the same good habits, and falling prey to the less healthy ones. (I’m a massive gamer, to the detriment of my sleep).
Even before that, at one of the lowest points in my life, the time that I first found out I had a kidney stone - I was sure that my mental health had caused it - the constantly growing expectations of academic performance, the pressure I was putting myself under.
I wanted to write this today because I’ve been feeling very unmotivated - and I needed to address it. Caught up in a rut of procrastination and not being able to get myself to wake up, or work on the things I really want.
I think it’s important to address that, for the people that I talk to who wonder how I can keep doing what I do, with content creation/student projects etc.
The reality is that everyone has slumps, including me. Which is why I think it’s so important to be honest when it happens.
I tend to use ChatGPT for a lot of advice these days, so I thought I’d share some more tips, straight from the mouth of the AI, to help you if you’re struggling.
1: Forgive yourself.
One lesson I’ve learnt having gone through this cycle of ‘work work work’ followed by intense burnout or bouts of procrastination, is that the most detrimental thing you can do for yourself when it happens is beat yourself up about it.
The first step to break out of the rut is to forgive yourself. Guilt and self-blame are even more demotivating, and while you can have strong opinions about how you should be doing better, they do nothing more than make the climb even harder for yourself.
Life will happen to you no matter what. Moments like these bring us all to the realisation of how little control we have, both over the world and ourselves. But there's comfort in knowing that - and understanding that like the captain of a ship, you can still get back up after the storm, and steer your boat back to where you wanted to go.
2: Start Small.
You don't need to overhaul your entire life in one day. Choose one thing - a 'daily highlight' that you want to change or get done today, and focus solely on that. If you accomplish it, that's a win. It could be as simple as setting a goal to go to bed half an hour earlier, or finally answer that message you've been meaning to.
3: Break Tasks into Manageable Pieces.
If you have a lot of work, break it down into smaller chunks. Rather than just saying 'I need to work' say 'I'll work on this specific task for 30 minutes'. Define some limits, or a certain amount of time. Set a timer, and give yourself a concrete goal to achieve.
4: Set Boundaries.
If (like me) you're often keeping yourself up at night for any number of reasons - set yourself a time to stop, and follow it. I often struggled with this, always wanting to keep gaming for just a bit longer, but I think it comes to the point of having a certain level of respect for yourself. Sticking by your own word, even if nobody else is there to watch you, is just as important as doing it for someone else.
5: Establish a Routine.
It's gotten to the point where I've made more of a consistent habit out of saying the phrase 'consistency is key' than anything else in my life. But it has, and will always remain true. Any big success can be attributed to consistent effort over a period of time. Which is why it becomes so important to keep going if you want something, even when you hit a roadblock - regardless of the situation.
Do your best to set up regular habits or systems that make the mental effort of starting what you want to do on a daily basis easy. It sometimes helps to connect them to habits you already do, like doing something straight after brushing your teeth.
6: Visualise the Benefits.
Often, I found it hard to get myself out of a slump because I couldn't picture any other way of living life. It becomes really difficult to imagine what your life could be like if you lived it a different way, because the amount of hidden opportunities that are just around the corner is almost endless. But focusing on the simple things, like the relief you might feel after getting the work done, or finishing that gym session, can often be just what you need to tip yourself over the edge and start again.
This isn't my first post on procrastination, and it likely won't be the last. But I use it as a constant reminder to always pick myself back up when I'm feeling down, because life doesn't go on any other way - and I'm not done just yet.
On the off chance that you've read something on here and loved it, or want to read more, feel free to shoot me a message on my socials:
The feedback helps massively. Thanks!