How To Maximize Your Energy Levels And Motivation.
I've included a few things that have worked for me. These have helped me with regular work as well as side projects or hobbies. It's really about testing how to maximize your energy levels and motivation.
- Testing to identify what times of the day you are most productive at - A lot of conventional wisdom suggests waking up early but this may not be true for everyone. As with everything else testing your assumptions is important. Try a few different sleep/work schedules and identify when you are the most productive. I have realized that the period between approximately 11pm - 2am is when I seem to get a second wind and can work on side projects/hobbies. I have realized after a decent amount of testing that I am not an early morning person. I work a job where I typically need to be in anywhere between 8 and 9.30am. I'm at work till anywhere between 6-10pm. Not terribly flexible. On a good day I get home at 7 or 8pm relax for a bit over dinner and maybe some TV till about 10.30 or 11pm. This is when I seem to get over the initial lethargy post work and can pick back up for a few hours.
- Work on a small piece of your project (almost) everyday - I've not done too many work related side projects but have tried to pursue some of my hobbies in the off hours. I was trying to get back into sketching and decided to do a 30 day trial where I would do at least one sketch every day. I gave myself some weekends off occasionally. The routine is helpful to keep you on track as other people in the thread have suggested.
- Getting one thing done is very important. This is something I struggle with constantly. I always have multiple things I'm interested in at any point in time whether it is reading, ideas for sketches or other projects. Not finishing projects tends to be demotivating. Finishing one thing at a time is a great step. I'm trying to work at this as we speak.
- Exercise - Another piece that will require some testing. You'll need to figure out what works best for you - a light jog, some push ups or a regular work-out at the gym. Identify how your body reacts to different workouts and how this treats your energy levels. Diet goes along with exercise. Try and identify what foods work well at what times and how they treat your energy levels.
- Goal setting - This goes without saying of course but you need to do some form of goal setting. This maybe just as simple as a to-do list and a schedule. One thing I've learnt is that you should try not to look at your to-do list just before you go to bed. This can result in you thinking about it a lot and taking an extra 30mins to an hour to fall asleep.
- Give yourself a day (or more) off - Identify a schedule where you have a day or so off so that you can escape the routine.
As I write these down I know that I have a lot of work to do myself to implement some of these better. Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin..