I love building houses but some days motivation is a struggle. This past year has posed a unique set of challenges. For many of us, the social activities we rely on to keep us energized have evaporated. Pandemic or not, what do you do when you’re having a hard time facing your day’s tasks? I had a great conversation about this a few years back with the frontman of a high-energy band. When you’ve been putting on shows for close to 30 years you’re going to have nights when the energy is hard to find. One of their tricks was to imagine lasers shooting out from their eyes, making a tangible connection between themselves and the crowd.

I’m no rocker of a frontman, but I too have tricks to get myself going. I’ll start by acknowledging that I’m struggling. I try not to hassle myself about it. I’ll pick a small task, and see it through. That sense of accomplishment feeds energy.

Music is my primary tool for raising energy levels. At any given time I’ll have at least fifty CDs on-site. When motivation is low, I’ll look through my stack of music and none of it seems right. I do this instead. I close my eyes, pull a CD from the box, and with my eyes still closed, put it in the CD player. It’s shocking how much fun this is. The music is always a surprise and often something I never knew I had. This game of blind draw nudges me from a rut.

I make deals with myself. Work for one CD, until noon, until the next telemarketer call, then take a break. More often than not I get immersed in my task and opt to keep going.

I drink a glass of water, possibly with a fizzy vitamin C packet tossed in. I stand up straight, take a deep breath, do some jumping jacks, stand in the sun, do a quick cleanup, anything to shift my energy back up. Once the momentum is going again, it becomes easier to maintain.