“The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work.”
While the benefits of being self-employed are numerous, there is one downside that every entrepreneur faces at one time or another – a lack of motivation. It’s no secret that running your own business is hard work, and some days the struggle can just down right get to you. The thing is, your customers and clients don’t stop having needs just because you do. Without business retreats and company motivation tactics to help spur you on, the task of staying on track becomes solely yours.
Luckily, there are a few productivity hacks you can use to help you stay on your path should you get temporarily derailed. Some of these are based on science, while others are just some common sense methods for working against what could sometimes be considered your biggest enemy to success – yourself.
Be The Boss
If you’re not feeling motivated to make the most of your day, somewhere along the way you started agreeing to do work that you don’t love. Obviously, not every task is going to elicit joy (I’m talking to you, taxes!). However, when most of your daily grind is related to a bigger dream and goal, it’s much easier to stay motivated through the tougher, less glamorous aspects of running your business.
“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” –Jim Rohn
Make sure you aren’t saying “yes” to tasks or projects you don’t really want to do. You can’t please everyone, and you’re not supposed to. Remember, you’re the boss, so take charge and make sure you’re doing at least one thing every day that makes you happy.
Channel Your Business Heroes
When your next task or day (or maybe even week or month) is starting to feel a little lackluster, it may be time to channel your business mentors/idols. Everyone has a least one person who they admire or respect, and times like this are the perfect opportunity to model yourself after them. Just think about what that person would do in a similar situation and use that as your motivation to get through. Would they give up? Would they find a clever way to handle the issue? It doesn’t even matter if it’s what they would actually do. The only important thing here is that you find something you can use to get you past your current hurdle.
Be Publicly Accountable
Many success gurus often talk about how accountability can be a determining factor in reaching a goal. You can use this same principle to help get you going when you’d rather not. When you’re your own boss, you don’t have the outside pressure of a boss or the possibility of a looming promotion to get over the hurdles.
Instead, however, you do have a network of friends, family and peers that can be used to your advantage in these types of situations. The next time you aren’t “feeling it,” post a public pledge with what you’re about to do and then follow up on whether you did it or not. For instance, “Going to push out the next chapter in my upcoming book today. Watch out for my next update, I’ll be one step closer!”
One reason people have a hard time doing difficult tasks is that they often feel overwhelmed, especially if it’s something they aren’t comfortable with. If you find yourself in this situation, you can trick yourself into getting things done by doing just one aspect of your task or project. To do this, you’ll need to break down what you need to do into small tasks. Then, ONLY focus on one of these smaller tasks at a time.
Once you’re able to chain a few tasks together, you’ll have built up some mental momentum that will help keep resistance at bay. The more tasks you can accomplish towards the big goal, the easier it will be to stay motivated to stay on track. For instance, if you are a blogger, just focus on writing one article a day. If you need to work on generating more sales for your company, focus on making one to two contacts per day. This method is a great way to motivate yourself when you are have trouble getting started.
When all else fails, smile. It may sound “new-agey,” but there’s some serious science behind the effects of a smile. In fact, researchers have discovered that smiling can be as stimulating as receiving $25,000 in cash. Smiling provides the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate candy bars – not to mention that it’s a lot healthier as well.
Best of all, even a fake smile can trigger these responses, since the chemical releases are triggered by the muscle movement. This makes the smile a powerful natural mood-lifter and something that can instantly put you in the right frame of mind to stay motivated.
It’s Up To You
At the end of the day, you can read all of the productivity hacks in the world, but only one thing is going to make any difference, and that’s you. So, when you’re faced with your challenges or obstacles, remember – only you can make the difference in your own life.
“You can find inspiration from others, but determination is your sole responsibility.”