Recently, I’ve been struggling to whip up any enthusiasm for work. Treading water. This is probably an inevitable part of being a freelancer – sometimes you get a little bored, and need to do something to bring back all the inspiration and excitement.

Last week, I decided to do something about it. I carried out an inspiration audit*.

An inspiration audit is an opportunity to look around you and decide what things are inspiring you, and what things are dragging you down. Personally, when I’m inspired, I’m a bundle of excited energy, ready to take on various products and enjoy them. When I don’t have enough inspiration in my life, I feel tired, stressed, grumpy and generally lethargic.

I fully believe that surrounding yourself with inspiring things makes life much happier.

Is this all getting a bit fluffy? Stick with me. It’s not entirely crazy.

So, last week I started by writing a list of things that made me happy. Please note, these are all things that make me happy – your list will probably be completely different:

  • Magazines with brains – Psychologies, The Simple Things, Gathered. Highly recommend all of these if you want to get your brain cogs turning.
  • Audiobooks – I am seemingly incapable of just doing one thing at a time, so cooking/bathing/driving is often accompanied by an audiobook. These days, it’s the only way I can finish a book.
  • Great playlists – I have a playlist on my iPod for every mood. Music is one of my favourite ways to re-energise.
  • Twitter – full of inspiring people, interesting info and great discussions.
  • Google+ – same as Twitter, and also great for Google+ hangouts.
  • Pinterest – there’s something both soothing and inspiring about making boards full of various things (even if I’ll only make a few of the items I pin).
  • Walking outdoors – as a country girl, nothing makes me happier than taking a walk, especially now it’s autumnal and crispy outside. I haven’t done enough of this recently.
  • Baking – throw ingredients into a bowl, mix, throw in oven and in half an hour you’ll have a delicious smelling house and afternoon tea. What could be more inspiring?
  • Blogs – reading other blogs is a constant source of inspiration.
  • Spending time with family – this should really be at the top of my list. My parents and sister are pretty inspiring people to be around.

Then I wrote a list of things that make me unhappy, or saps me of energy:

  • Facebook – from a personal point of view, I don’t enjoy Facebook any more. It has a general negative feeling, so I’m looking into the possibility of just using it for business.
  • Drinking – I don’t really drink much these days, as more than a glass of wine makes me feel very ill. Also, alcohol is a depressant, so I generally found I felt awful the next day.
  • Unneeded drama – I have a fairly low patience level for drama. Why make life more difficult?
  • Magazines ‘for women’ – Cosmo, Glamour, Vogue. That’s enough overpriced fashion and awful sex advice for me thanks.

After a week of doing this, I woke up yesterday with a pile of ideas, that familiar excitement, energy and enthusiasm. Identifying what things I wanted to fill my life with, and what things I wanted to rid my life of (where possible) gave me some clarity of mind.

Your Weekly Challenge

So, now it’s your turn! Make a list of all the things that inspire you and the things that don’t. Then try to remove as many of the uninspiring things as possible. If you can’t remove it, try and rework it so it’s a little more interesting. Fed up of spending your weekends catching up on housework? See if you have the budget to hire a cleaner for a couple of hours a week. Boring admin piling up? Make a cake, but promise yourself you’re not allowed a slice until it’s done.

Are you feeling inspired at the moment? What inspires you?

*Totally made up term.