A couple of weeks ago, my mom (also a writer) urged me to write more for Sheer Balance. She had every reason to do so: my writing has taken a bit of a backseat since building up my art business, Tiny Toes Design. The new business has been all consuming, and if I’m going to be honest, has ignited a fire and passion in me that keeps me glued to, and excited about the work.
Because I respect my mom (and happened to agree with her, as well), I took her advice to heart, and sat down to write. The resulting post was 5 Ways to Deal when Days are Too Short and Stress is Too High. With a pit in my stomach, I hit publish, and released it out into the world.
I felt a complete sense of disappointment. Truth be told, I struggled to get it done. I forced it out, and felt completely inauthentic in doing so. It didn’t live up to my standards of quality content.
When I stopped beating myself up for putting sub-par content out into the world, I realized why I felt so bad: My lack of passion for the topic overtook my ability to do good work. I concluded, if I’m not passionate about the work, it isn’t worth doing.
Yet, it isn’t that simple. Is it? We all have a requirement to do things for which we aren’t passionate. We are obligated to do boring tasks, to take on work we don’t really want to do, and to deal with have-tos, as much (if not sometimes more) than the want-tos. It is part of life, and more often, it is part of business.
Even those of us who seemingly have a dream job have to deal with the mundane. Many entrepreneurs, for instance, have tremendous passion for their big ideas, but when it comes to the nitty gritty, day-to-day operations, it feels like drudgery. And for those of you who envy the artists and creatives of the world, many of us love the process of creation, but dread dealing with the administrative tasks required to build a successful personal brand and run a business. And sometimes, we aren’t even inspired to create (such as when I wrote my last post).
So, the question becomes: how do we deal with the uninspiring AND feel good about the work we do? How do we take on the lackluster work we NEED to do, while staying true to ourselves and escaping feelings of underwhelm, a lack of fulfillment, and sometimes, like myself, disappointment in ourselves?
It can be a challenge, especially for those of us who run our own businesses, but developing a strategy to deal with the bland is instrumental to our success. Consider these tips to keep motivation levels high, passion ignited, and a positive perspective on even the dullest of tasks:
- Look at the Big Picture: First and foremost, decide why you are uninspired. If every day you get up and hate what you do, you need to wake up and listen to your intuition. It is telling you something very important. Sometimes passions change, take on new forms, or wane in the presence of another or new passion. If the work you do as a whole leaves you uninspired, it’s time to find new work. That said, if you see the big picture as good on the whole, and you are dealing with smaller tasks that are uninspiring, keep reading:
- Strike When the Iron is Hot: I forced myself to write when I wasn’t “feeling it.” And it showed (at least to me). Sometimes passion comes and goes for a particular task. If you feel inspired to get something done you normally dread, seize the moment then and there to get it done. Don’t get caught up in timelines if you don’t need to. Just because a task isn’t due or required at that moment doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. Right now, I’m writing this filled with passion, even though I won’t publish it for another week or so. The more you capitalize on your positive energy, the better the quality of your work will be. And that will give you something to feel good about!
- Dealing with the Drudgery: If you are so disinterested in a task, consider enlisting the help of someone else to make it more tolerable. Or, make a point of taking on that task first thing. Getting it done first means you are getting it out of the way so you can move onto more enjoyable tasks. This will also give you a great sense of accomplishment. That said, if you are the type of person that finds chipping things off little by little will be more motivating and feel less like drudgery, take that approach instead.
- Think of the End Game: If there are things you never feel inspired to do, consider the following: think of how the mundane task can feed or fuel a passion you DO have. In other words, A => B => C, where A (yucky task) leads to B (result), and B leads to C (passion). For instance, if you are in marketing and LOVE creating slogans, but need to run focus groups and surveys which you don’t enjoy, reframe it this way: Focus Groups and Surveys (A) => helps you understand your customers better (B) => so you can create better slogans (C). Or, if you are an artist who doesn’t enjoy social media, reframe your perspective this way: Spending time on Social Media (A) => exposes you and your work (B) => so you can continue doing your art (C).
- Maintain Passion Each Day: Balance is important to maintaining your passion. Don’t fill your days up with all mundane. It is easier to take on the uninteresting, and sometimes distasteful tasks if you know you will be doing something you love, as well. Each day, look for ways to tap into your passion so that it stays fueled, and see feeding your passion as a reward for dealing with the not-so-interesting.
Now it is your turn. In the comments below, share a time you felt uninspired, and the toll it took on your work. Which of the tips or strategies do you think would/could be most helpful? Do you have any ideas you can share to turn mundane into inspiring?
As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you can find passion in the everyday.