What Keeps Us Motivated

Ellie Birch, Helena Nuttall, Kirsty Turbott

Today we shift the focus from our inspiring interviewees onto us, the writers on The Notable. Over the last few months we’ve thought a lot about motivation, so this week we’ve put these thoughts into words and would like to share them with you.


The Notable x

Ellie Birch

Keeping motivated can sometimes be a very tricky business. I think my personal motivation has definitely improved since I have started to see the results of my efforts… seeing a payslip come through after a lot of hours of work makes it so much more worth it.

I think it is also incredibly important to remember three things when considering motivation…

  1. What is actually realistic for you to achieve within a timeframe?
  2. What are your goals? Where do you want to get to?
  3. How much do you want to get to where you want to be? How much effort are you willing to put in?

Once you have all of these in order, it can become a lot more satisfying when you reach goals. Be realistic about small goals too! So, when you reach the first one, you become more motivated to get to the next one.

Helena Nuttall

Motivation has taken on a new meaning for me this year. Before, motivation was about getting the necessary things done, whether that be reading books for uni, writing essays or applying for grad schemes etc.

This year, after uni had come to an end and we were all stuck in lockdown, motivation became more about keeping busy and staying sane! In order to stay motivated, I’ve found it important to enjoy simple tasks that I previously took for granted, like reading, cooking, exercising and caring for animals. Often just tidying my room and making my desk look nice is enough to kickstart my day. I also find it important too keep myself looking presentable (avoid pyjama days, clean hair etc). Even if you’re at home and no one will see you, by looking presentable you feel more productive. I recommend to those working from home at the moment to try to start your day as those you are going to go to the office. It helps set boundaries between work-time and down-time, making it more easy to relax at the end of the day.

I set up The Notable during lockdown as a way to keep myself busy. It channels my love of writing and keeps me (and I hope others) motivated at a time we may feel lacking in inspiration. Our interviewees so far have been incredibly encouraging and remind me everyday to keep trying. Seeking employment given the current circumstances has been tough to the say the least, but the stories on The Notable have been the motivation not to give up.

Above all, speaking to Ellie and Kirsty everyday, hearing their ideas and getting excited with them about the growth of our blog has definitely been the biggest motivator for me. If you’re struggling to stay motivated, I can definitely recommend finding friends to hold you accountable!

Kirsty Turbott

There are several reasons why we chose to dedicate a whole week to motivation. Firstly, and most significantly, because the three of us who run The Notable often struggle to find motivation ourselves. With the current state of the world as it is, where nothing is certain and plans are made and then cancelled due to the ever changing government guidelines, setting targets and goals has never seemed more futile. In addition to this, having recently left education behind for good and therefore saying goodbye to structure, rules and expectations, I personally was left feeling a little bit lost. Without a job, a master’s degree, or a graduate position lined up, I finished university with no plan and nothing to do. 

I often find that when I have nothing to do, and therefore an abundance of time, I am far less productive than when I have no spare time at all. Finding motivation during lockdown was near impossible. When the lockdown started to ease however, I applied for multiple jobs and even kept a spreadsheet of all my applications. I applied to about 20 jobs and got one interview. Fair to say, that didn’t do a lot for my motivation or confidence. Essentially, what got me through all my applications and the one or two interviews I did get, wasn’t motivation, but the knowledge that if i didn’t find a job soon I was going to lose my mind. Luckily, however, along with two part time jobs that are not particularly demanding or time consuming, I also secured an internship for April next year. I spent three months writing cover letter after cover letter and tailoring my CV to every company I applied to, to be finally offered a job that didn’t require either of those. It wasn’t an easy few months and I definitely wouldn’t want to be in that situation again, but knowing how hard I worked, and knowing that I have an amazing internship lined up early next year, keeps me motivated now. The more I achieve, the more motivated I am to continue. 

What keeps me motivated now is seeing The Notable grow and being able to interview the amazing and inspirational people we have spoken to. There are certainly days when I am considerably less motivated than others, and when that happens, instead of beating myself up about having a bad day, I reflect on what I have already achieved. If you are constantly struggling to find motivation, whether that be in your studies, work place, or just day to day life, stop and think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. If you are doing something that doesn’t excite you or that you are not passionate about, then you are unlikely to find the motivation to excel at it. If you are doing something you love however, your work won’t feel like a chore, but something that you want to do. Think about what you’re hoping to achieve, visualise it, and you will find that the motivation will come to you by itself.

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