When you work for yourself, it can be difficult to remain motivated every hour of every working day. Especially when you don’t have someone hovering over you. After all, you are the boss.
Lack of motivation can result from a number of causes including burnout, an overloaded desk, not enough sleep, boredom, repetitive actions, no clear goal, and even rainy days. It is perfectly normal to have a less-than-productive day from time to time, so don’t worry. You probably just need a break. Try these tips to re-energize your day.
1. Leave your desk.
When you sit in the same spot day after day, you can suffer from boredom. Reposition your desk or take a task you can transport to an outside location – like your local coffee shop or library – and work remotely for a few hours. Take note of your surroundings and breathe deeply. Use all your senses: taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing.
2. Clean up your workspace.
Nothing will bring you down like returning day after day to a messy, disorganized or dirty workspace. Put some time and effort into cleaning up, organizing and decorating your office space. You will spend a majority of your waking hours there, so make it a pleasant place to be. Hire an organizing expert to assist you in designing a workable filing system, hang pictures that remind you of your favorite after-work activities, or infuse the office with fresh flowers or candles.
3. Review or reset your goals.
If you have been doing the same thing over and over again for a long time, it may be time to reset your goals. Take some time to work “on” the business, setting monthly or yearly goals. Brainstorm ideas without filtering them and write down everything you envision for the business and your personal life. Make a vision board containing pictures of what motivates you. It is easy to lose sight of your ultimate goals when you are bogged down in the everyday minutia.
4. Make a prioritized to-do list.
Create a daily or weekly to-do list and keep it within sight at all times. Enjoy the reward of checking off each task as you complete it. Note which items you want or need to accomplish each day and challenge yourself to get them done early. Set a daily goal for the number of tasks completed, hours logged or dollars earned.
5. Just get started.
The hardest part of any job is getting started, so pick one task and just start doing it. Once you begin, you will likely find yourself becoming engaged in it. Don't overwhelm yourself with a seemingly-overwhelming number of "to-dos." Once you complete a task, clear your desk to create space for the next assignment. Try to keep piles from cluttering up your workspace and your mind.
6. Create outside deadlines.
More things get done when you promise a delivery date. See if you can set delivery deadlines for each task, whether it is the internal billing schedule or customer deliveries. Celebrate when you complete them ahead of schedule.
7. Take a break.
Running a business can consume your every thought, so be kind to yourself and allow your mind to take a break once in a while. Do something completely different than work and rediscover some of the joys life has to offer—outside of work. And don't forget to give your body a break, especially if you hunch over a computer most of the day. Try to stretch at least 10-20 minutes each day.
Self-motivation is a process that must be practiced. If you have days when you'd rather not get out of bed, you're not alone. Give yourself permission to take a mental health day every now and then. It's paramount to take care of your greatest investment: You!