What To Do When You Aren’t Inspired

Inspiration right now is not a real problem, but I do remember struggling with that at times. I've been wondering how come I go from 'I'm so inspired my mind is spinning' to, 'I don't have a clue what to do'?  What I realized is exactly what Todd Henry says. What he calls out as 'the elephant in the room' is this: motivation follows action, and not the other way around.  

I never believed that us, creative, just get inspired right from the get-go in the morning; that we don't really need to make and effort; that we're just simply talented. Agree for some it is pure talent, but I think for most of us getting inspired, and be creative, is a muscle that we work everyday. 

I believe that motivation is secondary to an understanding of what it is you’re trying to do, in your life and in your work, I think that motivation tends to follow action. So we act, and suddenly the drive comes, not the other way around. Sometimes we have the luxury of inspiration (...) that’s fantastic when it happens.
— Todd Henry, The Accidental Creative

It was very refreshing to listen to What To Do When You Aren’t Inspired on the Alternative Creative podcast. So today I want to share my notes, because I think creativity is key in this economy and because a lot of people in different industries and professions need to be inspired and creative: 
It's great when inspiration strikes and you're deeply motivated to do your work, but what about when you simply can't muster the will to do your important work? 

  1. Define your battles: define the outcomes you're committed to, and not projects you're working on. Attach your actions, time and energy to an outcome; inspiration tends to follow. Making a decision means to cut. You have to choose NOT TO DO something else. Tied to point #2. -LotH: a tough one for me! 
  2. Prune relentlessly: regularly cut = it means to say no. A lot of us have this 'fear of missing out', we say yes to everything. Create white space, because innovation happens in the white space. Squeezing efficiency out your system also means squeezing time to think and process. 
  3. Create a trigger to get you moving; some sort of repeatable rituals.

Hope that helps! 

PS: you can find that top image on one of my notebook here, for $12.50