One of the great things about being self-employed is that there is no boss looking over your shoulder and telling you what to do. One of the tough things about being self-employed is that there is no boss looking over your shoulder, telling you what to do. That is why it is imperative that you are disciplined and self-motivated–you are the boss of you!
Some days are better than others when it comes to motivation and accomplishment. Don’t you love those days when you practically fly to your office, dive right in and knock out task after task? If the days were all like that, you could rule the world! Unfortunately, there will also be days when you have to force yourself to get to work. Or worse, maybe you don’t force yourself and you just don’t do anything.
Although some days will always be more productive than others, you can get the most out of each day with some simple motivation techniques.
Have a routine. I like having a routine I follow first thing in the morning. For one thing, I am not really a morning person, so having a routine means I don’t have to think about what I am going to do, I just do it. Your routine can also build momentum, leading you from drowsily getting out of bed to getting down to business and tackling the day.
Do the thing you hate to do first thing in the morning. If I have to do something I do not like to do I can find all kinds of ways to avoid working. So if there is a task you have been dreading, do it first. Once it is out of the way I can enjoy my day. (When I was a kid I developed the habit of eating my vegetables first. I hated them, and by eating them first I could enjoy the rest of my meal. Same idea!)
Have some fun scheduled into each day. The fun might be a special treat, such as lunch with a friend, or it might just be time devoted to a project that excites you. You need something to look forward to.
What rewards motivate you? Maybe it is a feeling you get when you actually finish a task instead of just “working on” something. Or knowing that you made a difference to someone. Or earning money. Whatever it is, when you feel stuck do something that will give you the reward you want.
Get a co-worker. If you are working on your own every day (as many solo-preneurs do) it can be lonely. Having someone else around, at least now and then, can be energizing. You may work together or just bounce ideas off each other and give feedback. I do monthly co-working days with friends and it always motivates me to get going on projects new and old.
Share your goals and objectives with someone who will hold you accountable. Just speaking your goals out loud or putting them in writing will go a long way toward motivating you. And when you have told someone you are going to do these three things this week, you will make an extra effort to actually do them.
Spend some time away from work. It is easy to get wrapped up in work to the point where you don’t leave it behind. Make sure you take time with friends and family, and just doing things that you enjoy. The time you spend away from work helps you to be more effective and productive when you are working.
Trigger your motivation. Have an activity or other signal to your body and your brain that it is time to get to work. Maybe it is looking at a picture on your wall, listening to a favorite song, taking a walk through the park, jumping on your trampoline, reading special quotations or something else that motivates you to accomplish great things.
Try these tips in various combinations until you find the mix that works best for you. Then get out there and take on the world!