When your "get up and go" got up and went
July 7, 2017 7:23 AM   Subscribe

I have so many great chances to pursue my passion into a career I can mold and make my own...so why am I not going for it? How can I get re-energized, organized, and motivated?

For a year now, I've been doing a podcast that is pretty niche. It's yielded a lot of great interviews, minor regional press coverage, and the occasional media pass to events that fall within the subject's spectrum (craft beer). I lobbied a local online magazine for a beer column and they agreed. I've made amazing contacts, met lots of great people in the industry. It's the first time in my adult life where I've felt passionate and eager to learn more in a professional manner. But I've seriously been slacking off on pursuing and crafting a lot of the potential this podcast and its results could have (last new ep was in early June?) for me professionally.

I tend to be somewhat scattered in my personal life, hard to motivate (once I get going, though, there is no stopping me), and easily distracted. The content I produce I do at home--I've put productivity trackers on my browser--but it's hard to get going. It's making me anxious and sad. (The SSRI helps with those parts; it keeps my brain from going too "woe is me; why bother" thank god.) I am lucky to have an incredibly supportive partner with a steady well-paying job, I live in a city where it's still affordable to be weird, and our COL is all right. The wolves are not at the door, but we aren't saving as much as we'd like.

I have tried: Pomodoro Technique, Bullet Journals, to-do lists, etc, and none seem to stick.

How do I get back on track? What do you use for motivation, organization, and accountability? (I'm a big fan of accountability as it keeps me honest and productive.) As the song says, "And I'm not throwin' away my shot!"
posted by Kitteh to Work & Money (8 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe you're feeling stagnant in your content. Look for some new content or feature for your podcast that gets you excited again.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:28 AM on July 7, 2017

Have you considered this may be fear of failure? If the usual techniques for getting shit done are not working to motivate you, that may be an aspect worth looking at. Avoiding really trying the way you have the opportunity to right now suggests that to me.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:01 AM on July 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

A suggestion addressing the motivation piece of your question (rather than organizational or accountability systems):

Regular physical activity. Exercise, walks, housecleaning, etc. When I have been getting through depression, flailing in my personal or professional life, or feeling stuck in various ways, unrelated physical routines have freed up a lot of mental energy for me & have helped me be more motivated in the areas where I need to be.
posted by miles per flower at 8:24 AM on July 7, 2017

Consider switching to an SNRI, such as Wellbutrin, which works on dopamine (the neurotransmitter responsible for goal-orientation and motivation), in addition to serotonin. I've taken both Prozac (traditional SSRI) and Wellbutrin and became crazy goal-motivated on the later. Different drugs effect different people differently, so talk to your doctor
posted by Mr. Fig at 8:50 AM on July 7, 2017

Exercise and martial arts have been game changers for me for this. It's both the break/activity and the learning to focus to learn a new skill that's nowhere near a computer.

However I have another hack for you. If you are bringing in some money or can afford it, hire an accountability coach -- can be an inexpensive Task Rabbit type thing or an actual pro. With this person, decide what you should be doing every week and pay them to contact you about it every week until you're over this hurdle. Paying for that (as opposed to asking friends/partners) should make you feel a bit of extra "wow, I'm paying for this" and then you might go ahead and work.

I also just want to cheer you on in your craft beer mission, I think it's amazing.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:53 AM on July 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

I guess the question for me is, do you really want to make this a career? Turning a passion project into a job comes with downsides like firm deadlines, organizational issues, doing related tasks that aren't as fun, etc. It's OK to have something be a hobby and just do it as the spirit moves you and get your paychecks somewhere else.

Now, if you really want to make this a professional thing and it's not just that you feel like you should want it, it sounds like you might benefit from some increased external structure rather than relying on your own motivation. One of my friends joined a coworking group even though she can do her job from home because she needs the external structure of literally being at a workplace. (You might get the same benefit at less cost by going to the library or something).
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 9:46 AM on July 7, 2017

I tend to be somewhat scattered in my personal life, hard to motivate (once I get going, though, there is no stopping me), and easily distracted. The content I produce I do at home--I've put productivity trackers on my browser--but it's hard to get going.

Do you maybe have ADD? Because this sounds like ADD.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:03 PM on July 7, 2017

I am not you, but if I were in your shoes, my success thus far would increase my sense that I'm under pressure to perform. This would lead to paralysis and avoidance since the stakes feel higher and there's more pressure to Keep Up The Good Work.

I don't know what the cure for this is, but I think it could be helpful to hang onto a mindset of obscurity and low pressure as long as possible. When you get in the groove making content, make a lot of it so that you have a library of stuff to release during the tougher times. That might help keep the performance anxiety at bay -- always be several steps ahead so you don't have that "must be creative NOW or else" feeling. Have content in the bank so you don't feel like you're on the hotseat to perform.

Best of luck!
posted by delight at 1:39 PM on July 7, 2017

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