Ernest Hemingway encountered many daring things in his life - dodged bullets while serving as a war journalist during the Second World War, participated in bullfighting in Spain, he even chased big game in Africa.
However, what he feared the most was a 'blank piece of sheet'.
He said this in reference to writer's block, defined as 'a temporary inability to begin or continue a writing project due to fear, anxiety or lack of inspiration'.
Just as writers have writer's block, artists have artist's block. It is an abstract term for when your motivation-well has run dry. As a result, you cannot come up with any ideas.
The point of talking about these is that even the most creative, successful, productive, or efficient people in their respective fields sometimes feel a slump in their work. You are not the only one.
If your job becomes just staring at a screen, which is anything but creative, you are probably not feeling motivated.
While writing this article, we consulted two different kinds of people. Both of them are successful in their respective fields. Be that as it may, while one sees the glass as half-full, the other sees the glass as half-empty.
Why are you not feeling it?
Even if you do not feel like doing it, you should keep working - that fact that you are not feeling it is a problem and 'how to keep working' would presumably be the solutions stated in this article.
How about we strike at the root of the problem? How about we go beyond the problem and ask why are you not feeling it? Why should you keep working when you are not feeling it?
Nobody feels like working all the time and that is a perfectly normal thing.
Yet we have things to do, even if sometimes it seems like a patriotic duty to get some work done.
But you might really ask yourself why you are not feeling it. Self-introspection might help get to the core of the problem. But self-introspection needs time.
It may be that your job is tedious, painstaking, requires hours of commute, or you may not have developed friendly relationships with colleagues.
It is vital that you know why you are feeling low. Otherwise, you might not get to the point.
"Whenever there is such a situation, I try to find out what I need now. I might need a break or give myself some time. So, I try something like reading a book, listening to something or talking to people. After some time, this actually works," said Shakila Mahmud, Lead of Brac Youth Platform.
How to feel inspired?
Does motivation really work?
"Absolutely. I find books very inspiring. I always think motivation and learning help us to find a new lens. Stories from individuals are very empowering to find our own ways," replied Shakila.
However, Alvi Al Khalid, a freelance web developer who works for foreign companies, said, "Motivation is an easy-come, easy-go thing. It is overrated; it only works momentarily. If you just rely on motivation to get work done, you might not get it done ever."
For him, motivation is delusional. Millennials are too concerned with that. We are drowning in depression and we want to soak in motivation. It is a crazy time indeed – unlike any other in the past.
"Whenever I feel uninspired, I try to find out why I am going through it," said Alvi, adding, "In most cases, the reason is that I had been working for too long."
"Even if we take weekends off, it is just to offset the bodily and mentally input you have given to your workplace. But, unfortunately, it is not always enough," he added.
He also said that is why he takes periodical gaps from work. For example, he goes on tours every three or four months. It gives him the fuel for a new start.
For Alvi, in every modern workplace, employees want less work and more money, while employers demand more work with less money.
So, people do not just feel like working; they do it because they are obliged - very crudely, they do it for money.
In that case, deadlines become more important than motivation!
Just do it
We often miss deadlines or fail to do work. Some people wait for the perfect time but eventually fail to finish the work. Most people justify saying that they did not feel the urge in their hearts.
When asked what coping strategies or dealing mechanisms should be undertaken, Alvi said, "You can try to be a perfectionist, or you can just 'manage' your work. Say you are waiting for the perfect time, what if the perfect time never arrives? Rather, you should address the work and think of ways to manage it."
"Moreover, we tend to become easily distracted. For example, you are not feeling it right now, and you think that if you spend some time on Facebook or YouTube, you will feel better. But when you come back after spending hours on social media, you still feel uninspired," he explained.
According to Alvi, it is the wrong approach. He usually just finishes his work - even if it is a draft or the skeleton.
Obviously, he finishes his tasks later on but he does not wait for the perfect time to come for the perfect work to be finished.
More often than not, we make a new year's resolution and after a few days, no longer have the urge to follow through.
In this case, Shakila has something to tell you - "Changes are very constant in our lives: Be it in our jobs, study, or life goals. We start with a fixed goal, but with time, other things come our way. So, it is important to keep ourselves open to any changes and tweak our goals."
She also believes changing plans is not a bad thing; it might lead to some new experiences. And we can target something new or focus on our priorities more.
So, it is more about keeping ourselves open to changes and not looking at short-term goals only.
"'If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.' It is a very famous and well-known quote. We need to learn our shortcomings by failing," she further added.
Shakila believes that while trying something, failure is inevitable. But that does not mean we have to stop. The most important part is to keep trying.