I got a project this summer with a vague deadline of "Sometime before Christmas". Great! I even started the 4 paintings in the summer but I ran into an obstacle. I needed to go back to a previous project and take photos so old and new paintings would go together. But you know how it is. There was always something better to do, more urgent projects, my growing resentment that these started paintings laid around my living room and nagged me to finish them
I procrastinated and started writing a blog post about motivation. I saw the irony. I abandoned the effort to motivate others and can happily report I finally finished the before Christmas paintings, but maybe some of the following points can help you motivate too.
1. Make yourself responsible. For my project, I know I would've finished it sooner if I'd set a better deadline. I could've told a friend about my procrastinating and requested a friendly nudge in a week. Knowing myself, I'd get it done before my friend would have to nag me because that's only considerate. I'd call and proclaim victory instead. I could write a deadline on my calendar. You may figure out a way that work better for you -- then do it.
2. Show up and set a routine. When I went to work every day I worked every day whether I felt like it or not. Maybe I chatted with coworkers over a cup of tea first, but I'd buckle down at some point. An object in motion stays in motion. An object at rest stays at rest. If you want to accomplish things, do something. Even the masters had days when they were just grinding out the day's work. The grind work pays off too. You get better at it and it becomes less of an obstacle on future days.
3. Don't get ahead of yourself by thinking into the future or hoping for a masterpiece. Every project starts by picking up a pencil, opening a file, or some other very easy action anyone can do. In the case of my delayed project, I didn't want to work on it because I knew it would to take a lot of time to do. I quit thinking about that and opened my reference photos. I just did a bit of the task before me. After that there was less to do and that was less intimidating.
I'm pretty sure all of us procrastinate from time to time. The point is we need to find ways that help us do the things we want or have to do. What do you tell yourself when you're dragging your heels on a project? I'll be happy to learn more ways to kick myself in motion when I need it.