How to Motivate Yourself

…for the freelancers. But I’ll try to make it as general as possible.

This is the detailed and longer version for an article we wrote in the DYL 2015 Planner.



Listen to music

Personally, I don’t really listen to music when I need to write as it tends to mix with my thoughts and choice of words. I get distracted easily and my direction of thoughts shift to singing along with the lyrics. But that’s just me. However as an artist, I find music playing in the background upbeat– it gives me energy and motivation and it helps me think more creatively while it lessens the mind’s stress.


Set a deadline

Aside from the deadliest deadline, always set yourself a deadline earlier than the actual one, just in case. I like to organize my workload and set a deadline for each task. This helps me to have a vision of my overall schedule, plus it makes me more disciplined. Just think: the earlier you finish a task, the earlier you can lollygag and not worry or feel guilty about it. I always look forward to lollygagging.


Find loads of work to do

Now I know you may think, “she crazy?!” but being productive is always better than being a bum. And no, being a bum is NOT the same as resting/chilling. When you’re a bum for way too long, tendency is you’ll always be lazy when you need to do things. Make use of your time, be useful– to yourself or to someone. Believe it or not, as work comes compiling, you get so stressed out just by thinking about the loads of work you need to get done that you actually start doing things. True story.


Dress up for work

Even if you’re just working at home, change your home outfit to work outfit. This will entirely change your state.


Value your sleeping time

Many people think that “sleep is for the weak.” Although this happens way too often than expected, we should try to prioritize sleep first. This affects us not only with our physical appearance (hello eyebags), but it also affects us with our sleeping pattern, our mind, our body, our state, and basically everything. Sleep is important.


Have days off

If you are a freelancer or your work is home-based, set aside a few days (excluding weekends) per week for your personal time. It can be ‘me time’, or it can be a time to socialize. I plan outings with my friends ahead (like a week or few days before). Since I look forward to these outings, it actually motivates me to finish everything I need to beforehand so I wouldn’t have to worry about them when I’m out. Remember, it IS possible to balance work/school, personal, and social times. It’s just a matter of time management.


Reward yourself

There’s nothing more rewarding than _____ after a long day’s work. To me, this is the most effective form of motivation. Since I function better at night and since obviously I would accomplish more if I start in the morning or afternoon, I would tell myself that I could go get a frappe or milk tea and food right after I finish my work before a certain time (like around 10-11pm). And I mean FINISH. Trust me, it works.


And one last crazy tip. This might not work on everyone, but it’s worth a shot.

Working long hours continuously can give you headaches and drain your brain. What I do is, I have my iPad with me while working on the desktop PC and take “mini breaks” in between hours and go on social media for a few minutes just to refresh my mind. As much as possible, I would like to avoid going on social media on the PC while working. Before working, I go to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, 9gag/Imgur etc. and refresh the hell out of them. Once I’m satisfied and have nothing else to check out, I think, “What am I doing with my life?” and immediately get up and start working. Now, since I take these mini breaks, there’s not much updates anymore, and that makes me go back to my work. I just do them to “rewire” my brain. How does that motivate me, you ask? Well, it’s like playing mind tricks. Isn’t the question “What am I doing with my life?” motivation enough? Touche.


Action is the foundational key to all success. -Pablo Picasso


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