How to Stay Motivated
When I gave up my corporate lifestyle so many people commented “oh, i could never work for myself. I’d never get anything done!” I have to admit I wasn’t sure how well I’d adapt to working from home and running my own business. I thought...I've never been lazy before, but what if in the lack of authority//accountability I lose all control and end up living in Ugg boots & binge watching Jerry Springer?
Turns out I had more self control than I gave myself credit for. In fact, what proved difficult was unplugging and giving myself breaks from working so much. I would immerse myself in my work and had trouble separating work from life. Sounds like a good problem to have…until you implode.
Throughout a very transitional year - adjusting to my newfound freedom and challenge of using it wisely - I maintained a noticeable force of motivation that had many asking me, “How the hell do you do it? How do you have this level of motivation every day? I could NEVER do that!”
I have to tell you guys - it's not rocket science and it's not even that hard. It’s just a matter of sticking to healthy habits and respecting yourself enough to not make excuses. This is coming from the ultimate procrastinator who waited until an hour before class to finish most assignments. I'd rely on charm to establish a healthy rapport with my teachers and avoided anything less than a B-. The problem with that method is its stressful and unsustainable. And you really can't bullshit your way through everything.
I'll stop rambling now and get to the point. For those of you still reading - thanks for sticking with me. Here are my tips on how to stay motivated - all day, everyday.
1. Wake up at the same time - every.damn.day.
I’ve never abused my freedom of working for myself by sleeping in. This is a slippery slope that once started it’s almost impossible to stop. I wake up every morning at 6:30am and have not wavered even once in over a year. By getting up early I’m able to prepare for my day peacefully and that directly translates into my work. Giving myself time in the morning allows me to stretch and make a real breakfast - and the difference in my attitude towards life and the energy that I exude is palpable.
2. Take time for physical exercise - yep you guessed it, every.damn.day.
We all know that working out is good for us - but making it a routine is another story. I can’t stress enough that incorporating fitness into your daily routine will change your life. By simply including 45 minutes of exercise in my day, whether that be spent hiking, at the gym, playing tennis, or taking a yoga class, I allow my mind to reset and give my body the energy it needs to carry me through the rest of the day. I notice a drastic increase in anxiety and irritability when i fall of track. Sticking to a fitness routine is truly one of my top tips for maintaining mental clarity, stamina, and a positive attitude - and you can't be motivated without those things.
3. Outline your day in pristine detail.
The easiest way to lose motivation is to try to tackle your day without a plan. Every morning I sit down with my coffee and outline my tasks for the day. I stick to 7-9 tasks and separate them by level of importance. Tasks that generate revenue or propel the business forward are high priority. Administrative non-urgent tasks are tackled last - but never back-burnered. The process of mapping out my day hour-by-hour might make me seem like a Nazi, but it makes me feel in control and ready to conquer anything that comes my way. Keep in mind, I weave in personal activities throughout the day [a daily work-out, errands if needed, and a walk outside for fresh air] to give my brain a rest from working. Weaving balance and structure provides a level of confidence that increases productivity. Every. Time.
4. Make the boring shit fun.
Pardon my French. Sometimes work is full of boring shit that we just don’t want to do. We back-burner that noise and ignore its existence until it catches flame and we’re no longer able to pretend its not real. I’ve been there millions of times [procrastination survivor, remember?]. The key to staying motivated is to make the tedious tasks enjoyable. This can take a bit of creativity on your part - as you’ll need to analyze the tasks you are constantly putting off and focus on the benefits of performing those tasks. No matter how trivial, there is a benefit that exists as a part of a larger picture. Since you can't make the shitty tasks less shitty, figure out how to make your environment more enjoyable. For instance, if I’m working from my home office I’ll blast an up-beat playlist and light candles. If I don’t need wifi for a specific task, I might take my work to the beach or post up at my favorite coffee shop. The point is to stop avoiding the shit and force yourself to have fun while you do it. You know, whistle while you work. Or something like that.
And there you have it. What keeps you all motivated? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks!