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Derek Hopper
Derek Hopper

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Not feeling motivated? Don't beat yourself up

About a month ago, there was a #DevDiscuss about how to stay motivated. Although I've had my struggles, I've never had a huge issue with staying motivated. #DevDiscuss prompted me to think about why.

I hadn't thought about it. Why do I tend not to have motivation problems? Was I special? I don't think so, but maybe I was doing something to thwart the demotivation demon.

Motivation can be tricky. Lack of motivation can be an even tougher nut to crack. One day you're motivated, the next day you're not. There are so many factors at play it's hard to keep track. Some of these factors come barreling at you, uncontrolled. Other factors are your own doing.

When you're feeling unmotivated, don't beat yourself up for it. If you're looking for words of encouragement, turn to the Terminator. Arnold Schwarzenegger was recently asked for some advice on how to get motivated to hit the gym.

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Don't try to act tough and power through bouts where you're feeling unmotivated. As Arnold says, "Sometimes life is a workout." That's ok. You'll have your tough days and you won't be as productive as you were yesterday.

Even if you can't be perfect everyday, you can work to mitigate the effects of things that demotivate you. That's why it's important to search for what you can do to help. You won't be able to figure it out in a day.

Make a little progress each day and you'll slowly improve. Treat yourself like cold brewed coffee, the best type of coffee, made low and slow.

These are things that help me stay motivated. They might help you too.

1. Know when to take a break

We all have our limits. I know my productivity decreases after I work on a tough problem. My brain starts to hurt.

Even though I sit on a Herman Miller chair, sometimes my body still hurts. My neck might be positioned at a weird angle. My eyes sometimes hurt depending on the lighting that day.

So take breaks. Get up, walk around, and find a glass of water. Let the blood flow throughout your body.

2. Try to find a balance

If you're passionate about code, great! I'll often work on my own projects or open source after I'm done with my day job. I can't do it every night though.

I have other hobbies and I think that's great. If you have hobbies outside of tech, I'm happy for you too. Your hobbies might even be loosely related to tech.

For example, I love playing poker. As you learn more about the game, you realize the parallels between a game of poker and business.

3. Change it up

Have you ever been in a new car? Remember the smell and how you felt.

From time to time, your environment loses its new car smell. It's ok to work from another location. If you have a laptop, find a different desk or corner in your building - at least for a couple hours. If you work from home, try a different room or even work outside.

If you can't work in a different location, even changing little things can work.

4. Be lazy for a night

You might have nights where you want to do nothing. Do nothing! Just be lazy. Get away from code and don't even think about it. Sit on the couch and turn your brain off.

5. Work on the little things

Finally, this is something I'll do on mornings when I feel a little off. I'll work on small tasks to stack some success. It gets the ball moving in the right direction.

Oftentimes, I'll surprise myself. On a day I thought my productivity would be low, I'll be the most productive.


It's ok to feel unmotivated. We've all been there. It's human nature.

Don't beat yourself up for it. Don't try to be tough. Instead, find ways to help you cope with lack of motivation.

Work through it slowly. Your long term productivity is more important than a few days of lackluster motivation.

Discussion (2)

rifaimartin profile image
Rifai Martin

This is amazing thanks, Brother!

derekjhopper profile image
Derek Hopper Author

Thank you!