Thank you for all your wonderful feedback on last weeks post about The Quiet Times, it always helps to hear that so many of us are in the same boat. I wrote it as a result of the question 'Do you get weeks where it's completely dead? What do you do to stay motivated?' and so this week I thought i'd tackle the second part and talk about motivation.
For me motivation comes from a passion for what I do. I honestly love (nearly) every aspect of my job and I also really like eating and owning a home so I'm pretty determined to keep it up. Granted it can be hard when the orders aren't flying in, it gets a bit demoralising and all the gremlins (as mentioned last week) pop out to scare us. We sit there and wonder 'whats the point?' so how do we get out of this funk?
Last week's post pretty much covered how to crack on when things get quiet, I wrote a list of things to do at these times. For me a to-do list is a huge kick up the backside, when I see it written down, it's gospel. I realise all the 'stuff' that needs to be done and (being such a loser about to do lists) I get a thrill ticking things of the list. I even include things like 'Tesco shop' and 'Dog Walk' so I can tick them off and feel the satisfaction of nailing it. So it seems passion and a to do list get me through a lull.
On the flip side of this, I sometimes struggle to find motivation when it gets busy, (I know, I just can't win!) Sometimes the mania of working flat out sucks some of the joy out of the work and it's hard to feel that enthusiasm to get cracking when you feel like your drowning in it all, where do you even begin on those days?
I'm sure it goes without saying that order's take priority and I really do enjoy perfect those as each one feels so special, but once they're out the door and the admin and boring bits begin I find it difficult to concentrate. My personal battle on days like these is with my bed, it calls to me, I want to go crawl into it with cookies and donuts and tea, pop an episode of Friends on and pretend that the world outside that room doesn't exist for a while. We all want to hide sometimes and it's normally when things get a little overwhelming.
To control this and keep up the motivation I try to avoid becoming overwhelmed (easier said that done, yes) But this is when the quiet times help the busy. The first year is always a difficult learning curve because there's nothing to base expectations and forecasts on, but with each passing year this will improve (as i'm learning). By using that tick-list motivation in the quiet times to push on and make stock, plan for later and get organised we make it easier on ourselves to power through the busy without it seeming like too much. When it's manageable and bite size it's so much easier to feel motivated. If you can prepare, make stock and put a system in place for when it gets busy it really helps.
For me it's about getting organised, staying healthy, and planning time off. Have a plan in place in advance, make sure you're eating well for fuel, (not all cookies in bed), and arrange visits or meals out with friends so you're less likely to cancel, it's hard to concentrate if you never leave.
Motivation is a balancing act, it's about staying organised, keeping busy when its quiet and not overdoing it when it's manic. Have systems in place for when it gets ramps up so that you don't drown and try to buy fruit more than sugar.
I hope that helps and doesn't just fill you with more panic and dread!