Getting in the Groove

This is a follow-up post to my recent article, In The Groove, as suggested by Nick Roulleau.

When I’m in the groove, things go smoothly and nothing can frustrate me.  When I’m not in the groove, I feel tired.  I feel unmotivated.  I feel like going back to bed.  That’s how I feel right now.

Here are some strategies that I employ to try to get myself back in the groove:

  • Turn on some music.  When I’m frustrated, I like to play loud rock or metal like Fear Factory or Hail The Villain (until I blew up the speakers of my stereo).  It doesn’t usually get me in the groove, but it gets me doing something.  Sometimes chill music like Anna Gilbert or Colin James helps me relax and start enjoying what I’m doing (even if it isn’t enjoyable);
  • Work on something that excites me.  Some tasks, especially repetitive, monotonous ones, are difficult to get motivated to start.  So instead, I work on something else that interests for a half hour before switching to the less interesting task; and
  • Do something.  Anything.  Putting tools away and sweeping up shavings require little thought or focus yet are productive.  No matter how minor or inconsequential the task, doing SOMETHING will help me gain momentum.

These are three strategies that work for me.  Now, if I was in the groove when I wrote this, I might have a longer list.  Since I’m not, this is what I have to share with you.  And that brings me to one last strategy which just occurred to me:

  • Get someone else involved.  Having someone else around, either in person or virtually, can stimulate your mind, motivate you to start, and inspire you to excel.

I’d love to hear if you have any other ideas of how to get in the groove.  Share them in the comments section.

4 thoughts on “Getting in the Groove

  1. thanks for sharing some of your strategies, Chris! there’s a lot of energy to be found in collaboration, I’m sure you’ve seen this with the table build. interaction is a strategy for enhancing creativity and productivity leveraged by companies like Pixar, where criticism and facetime are required and seem to be successful in creating focus, getting folks ‘in the groove’. for more on that, some suggested reading: Imagine: How Creativity Works, by Jonah Lehrer. I especially recommend this for those interested in how our brains are wired for creating and how to help foster conditions that enable it. Chris, I think you’ll like it (assuming you haven’t already read it)

    The other strategy that works for me is to create a list or work plan; a place to capture what you need/want to accomplish, so that you clear your brain of the checklist. I find that once its downloaded to paper, the brain is clear and able to do other things without distraction, and I start getting things done.

  2. Chris,I agree with the idea of having someone else around.I recently joined up with a splinter group of wood workers from the Western Pa.Woodworlers Club,from the eastern side of the Pittsburgh area. Due to my involvement with this group ” I’am geting the lead out” and heading to the shop…….Bob Lindh,Western Pa.

  3. I find I’m at my worst and lowest when I enter a workshop that’s cluttered, untidy and just generally in a mess… This also happens to be most of the time! But, I now try to organise regular clean up and sweeping sessions (once a week), even when I’m not doing much else that could be considered as ‘productive’. At least then, the next time I step in to the ‘shop and I’m “in the groove”, I’ll be better equipped (psychologically) to get stuck in to something and enjoy it! :-)

  4. Hi Chris. I find that I get into my groove when I go to my scroll saw and quickly cut something. It is quick satisfaction and gets me inspired to do other things. I read something that drives my creative edge or teaches me a skill. I agree with the music idea. I love some good jazz or (yes what I’m about to say is true) country music. Latin or Bazilian music gets you going as well. I will draw out some new ideas or go through my scrap bin and see if there is a cool piece of wood I’ve forgotten about. I guess these are my ideas to get you going when you are not in the groove. Happy woodworking!

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