My Biggest Motivation Secret

My Biggest Motivation Secret

A few days ago on Instagram, I asked y'all to throw some good questions at me so I could connect with you! One of the biggest questions I get asked is how to stay motivated. Let's tackle this one. Because this is a doozie and keeping yourself on track - especially as an artist - is really tough sometimes. 

Here are 3 things I do on a daily basis to keep myself motivated and on-task.

This is by far my biggest secret weapon to staying motivated. My brain wakes up at night, so I typically do this after dinner or before bedtime. If you're more of a morning person, grab a cup of coffee or tea and start your day this way!

Before I go to bed, I make a plan. I have a Paper Raven Notebook that I keep on my desk at all times. Every night, I flip to a new page and add the next day's date. I take a look at my Google Calendar and my emails and I prioritize and plan my day. Here's a snip of my day today (for real, this is actually what it says): 

  • Create little check boxes and start with a time slot.
  • 9:30-10:30: Answer and follow-up on all emails.
  • 10:30-11: Email 3 new stores from Instagram.
  • 11-12: Photograph Coloring Book for Giveaway posts.
  • 12-12:30: Eat lunch.

Make sure each step starts with an actionable verb; this allows you to take action immediately - you already know that to do and there is no guess-work! It's important to me to feel satisfied by checking off the box when tasks are completed - the more you mentally reward yourself, the more motivated you are to stay on track. If you're more of a highlighter person, grab your neons and go for it! Lastly, I add timeslots because it's motivating for me to section out my tasks into time chunks. If I just make a list, it's easy for my brain to say, "Oh, I'll get to that." But if I schedule a task from 2-3pm, it will happen from 2-3pm and then it will be done!

Don't forget to add in real time chunks for breaks (15 minutes long) and lunch time ;) I often schedule breaks after big tasks or tasks that aren't my favorite thing to do. Then, if I finish my task, I get a nice little break!

Creating social accountability means creating a post where you publicly share with your audience that you are going to do something, by a certain date, and that they can expect something from you at that time. 

When you create social accountability for yourself, you're more motivated to get it done because other people are expecting something from you. If you find it difficult to assign tasks to yourself and complete them, try making a post on Instagram or Facebook about an upcoming product launch, new series or blog post. Give your audience a date. Put it on your calendar. And when you finish it, reward yourself. 

Spend a little time gathering some great playlists. I'm definitely responsive to dramatic movie and television scores - when I feel like Daenerys riding her dragon into battle or like Batman throttling some thugs, I am in the zone (I'm being totally serious guys). Whatever your music choice is, turn it up, close the Facebook tab and get to it!! You do you, boo.

Remember, motivation is a muscle and a habit. You just have to have that moment of clarity where you realize you have a choice to make - and just make it! The more you make that choice, the easier it is to make it again and again until it becomes a habit and a lifestyle.

I hope this blog post was helpful for you! Always feel free to reply and let me know your thoughts. And if you try these strategies out and love them, please let me know :)



Why I'm Here

Why I'm Here

A few months ago, my life changed suddenly and drastically. 

After working for a year as a Product Designer at my full-time job, I was called into my boss' office and laid off with absolutely no warning - a month after I had moved my whole life across town for my job, and the day before I left to go on a week-long vacation overseas. 

I was shocked and angry. But as I drove home that day, with the slow, seeping realization that my life had just changed completely - I was overcome with a strange feeling of peace. Real peace. I was angry and confused, but I was not worried. 

The universe had just shoved me into the reality I had already been working towards for the last 2 years of my life. I had been planning to give my leave in August, but my lay-off was in April. It was a few months earlier than I had planned, with a little less savings than I had planned, but as I made the phone calls to my boyfriend and my family, I was met with nothing but support. "If anyone can do this, it's you."

My boyfriend and I left the day after my lay-off, and standing in the fields and pastures and high places and castles and moors of Scotland, in this beautiful, free and completely thrilling moment of my life, I made a promise that I was going to whole-heartedly follow my dream. That I was not going to give up, and that I was not going to fail. 

3 months later, I have been consistently making the salary I would have made at my full-time job, but now it's completely through my work for Paper Raven Co. 

And that is why I am here. This awful, unpredictable thing happened to me. And because of my business, it didn't crush me. I did not allow my lay-off to be a source of self-doubt and depression; instead, I made it into a springboard for growth. I am free. I am happier than I have ever been.

Being able to do this full-time has led me to questions about my community and how to really connect, and that is my goal for this blog. I want to share my humble knowledge with you, bring you into my studio, and answer your questions. I want to share my successes with you, and the moments when I am feeling doubt (because we all do and it's a real thing). I want this blog to be a source of inspiration, and a fun and happy place to come to.

If you are working on your day-dream, keep going. Do not give up. You never know when life will unexpectedly flip upside-down, and being able to rely on yourself and the work of your own hands is an incredible sense of accomplishment.

July 07, 2016 — Erin McManness