Working for yourself is, for many, the ultimate dream. You have the ability to create your own hours, your own lifestyle and create limitless income opportunities. While this is all great, it really only works if you do. Sometimes, all that freedom can get you sidetracked – especially when things get tough in your business. There’s no boss hanging over you to make sure you’re working, and the ability to justify everything is a pretty easy convenience.
This is where finding tools to stay motivated can make a world of difference. Like Zig Ziglar said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
So, how can you stay inspired day in and day out? Here are a few tips…
1. Read Daily
Sometimes, the best mentor can be found between the pages of a book. Just about every successful person lists reading for at least 30 minutes a day at the top of their success tips. This doesn’t mean pick up the latest novel and read it, but rather find books that will help inspire you to be greater. Self-improvement, business biographies, personal finance and spiritual books are a great place to start looking.
DOING SOMETHING TOWARDS YOUR GOAL EVERY SINGLE DAY WILL HELP BUILD MOMENTUM…
2. Write Down Your Goals Frequently
Writing down your goals may seem like a no-brainer, but doing it often is taking this to the next level. Take your biggest goal that you are working on right now and write it down in a journal or on a piece of paper and stick it somewhere you will see it all week. Doodle something with it or write down what it would mean to you to finish this goal. You may even want to include some type of picture with it. Do this every week. This helps keep the goal freshly cemented in your mind, and allows you to recommit to it every single week.
3. Work On One Task Related to Your “Big Goal” Daily
Even if you don’t get to all of your other work each day, if you’ve moved one step closer to your big goal, you’ve made progress. Doing something towards your goal every single day will help build momentum so that eventually it becomes not only an ingrained habit, but a force that can’t be slowed down. Think about the popular saying when it comes to this tip, “A year from now you’ll have wished you started today.” Baby steps are all it takes to get you going in the right direction.
4. Bucket List of Tasks
I’ve found that when I’m not motivated to do something, it’s usually because I don’t know where to start. To help overcome that, I keep a bucket list of tasks that will at least get me moving in some direction. It’s not a “to-do” list, but rather an “I’d like to get to” list. That means it’s not overwhelming me if I don’t do the things on it, but when I do manage to do something on the list, it gives me an extra motivational bump. For instance, I may add tasks like cleaning out my desk drawers or organizing files. Sometimes, just completing one tasks will help mentally prepare me for doing another.
5. The 5 Minute Rule
One of the quickest ways to get motivated is to just finish anything. Similar to the thinking behind the previous tip, this idea is to help jumpstart your productivity. My five-minute rule is to do anything that I can complete in five minutes or less. For instance, responding to email, scheduling social media posts, scheduling appointments, etc. The fact the I’ll have completed at least one task puts me in a completely different frame of mind from when I started. This is especially helpful on sluggish mornings.
6. Work in Intervals
A lot of people make the mistake of blocking out four to five hours to just work straight on a project. This can be a very self-defeating habit. Not only is difficult to face having to work for that long, studies have shown that once you hit 90 minute mark your focus starts to dwindle. That means, for optimal productivity, you need to be work in intervals. You may not even want to do a whole 90 minute stretch.
If you’re feeling less than motivated to work, just do 20 minutes at a time to get you going. Work on a single task for 20 minutes, then go do something else for the next 20 minutes. Repeat. Use a timer to keep you focused during the 20 minutes you are working. Most times, you’ll notice that you don’t want to take that break when the timer goes off. If you do wind up pushing through and working longer, just make sure to force yourself to take a break at least every 90 minutes so you don’t burn yourself out.
Jennifer Good writes on many topics related to content marketing, social media, leadership & productivity for leading publications. You can also find her at JenniferGood.com.