As freelancers and entrepreneurs, we’re often working from the comforts of our own home. Are we wearing pants? Did we shower today? Our online clients and friends will never truly know the answer to these questions.
Staying motivated is a hurdle for many. And for most, it’s actually getting started that’s the main stalling point.
For example, I know that I’m extremely guilty of faltering at the starting line. But over the years, I’ve discovered that unless I’m super busy (like, seriously really busy), I procrastinate and generally just sit around.
But when I’m busy, I’m a motivation powerhouse.
The perfect example is when I was in high school. I was a straight A student, involved in a couple clubs: environmental club and rugby, mainly, and took on extra Latin courses with my favourite teacher. Not only this, I was incredibly active with the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets and was at the ship every single Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, Sunday afternoons, and I’d say at least one full weekend a month (Friday night – Sunday afternoon)…. And I received the award for best cadet.
I’m not bragging about this or anything, it’s just the perfect example of how motivated I was to succeed and do my best when I had so much on my plate.
Why did I tell you that story? To explain what motivates me. What motivates me might not necessarily motivate you, though, so I thought I’d take some time to explore a few other ways to help increase your drive.
Go for a walk.
I often find that stepping away from work for half an hour and walking in the crisp air helps to clear my head. It does help that I usually go for my walks with Thom and we talk about everything under the sun, but you could go out in silence or with a business podcast playing.
Walks are a great motivator as they get the blood pumping and fresh air is always healthy!
Write a list
Another favourite way for me to stay motivated is writing a list of everything I need to do. I don’t know about you, but checking things off a list is addicting and I like to see how much I can get done in a day!
I am a huge advocate of writing down lists because of the satisfaction I get when crossing or checking something off. Though, these days I’m using Trello to keep track of my tasks more often.
How do you tackle your lists? I like to spread it out and get a few easy tasks out of the way before hitting a bigger one… and then going back to an easy task or two. It breaks up the challenge and definitely keeps things interesting!
Find your music
Sometimes, all it takes is the right music style for you to get your creative juices flowing. When I’m feeling particularly unmotivated or if I have something to work on that I just can’t get on board with, I turn to YouTube.
My go-to? Josh Groban. His dulcet tones do something to my brain and I can – quite literally – feel the motivation coursing through me! I’ve had to compromise with this lately, but I’ve found that instrumental music, video game and movie soundtracks especially, are nearly as good as my man, Josh.
I know Thom gets going to some classic 80’s music and when we’re both really in the zone, even though we sit next to each other, we have our headphones in rocking out to our music of choice.
You might find your drive to some death metal or modern pop. Whatever it is, embrace it and go forth in motivation!
Brainstorming ideas to ignite your passion
Sometimes your lack of motivation comes from a dissonance to what you’re actually doing. Maybe you don’t know how to start, or you’ve started, but just aren’t sure how to move forward.
When this happens, it’s easy to get demotivated and turn to something else that’s easier to do or distracting, like playing just one more game of Hearthstone.
But wait! Don’t do this, you’ll fall down a hole you might not easily get out of. When this happens, take pen to paper and write out everything you know about the work you’re doing. You can even put this in the form of a mind map – a real brainstorm.
Brainstorming and mind mapping sessions help get your creative juices flowing and they also highlight areas you need to research or ask questions about if you just don’t know how to get from A to B.
Examine your work
When you’re feeling so completely stuck and unmotivated that you simply can’t get started, no matter what you try, look at the type of work you’re doing.
How does it make you feel? Do you like it? Does it strike a passion within? Maybe you just downright hate it.
If you’re feeling all sorts of negativity about a project or your work in general, it’s time to make a change. This is okay. It’s totally and completely okay to examine what you’re doing and decide – actually – this isn’t for you.
What matters is your health and happiness. Just think – you don’t want to look back on your life and realise that you didn’t like what you were doing and spent it being totally miserable. It’s not worth it!
I can’t stress how important this is; but I can guarantee that no matter where your true passion lies, once you find it — you’ll find your motivation. There is definitely something in the phrase: find your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article!
Do you have any tried and true ways that you boost your motivation? Share them with us!
Amanda Sloan is a Social Media Strategist at Thankful Cow Solutions. She’s a lover of restaurants, coffee shops, and nutrition. You’ll find her talking and writing about social media, vegan food, travel, specialty coffee, and positive mindset.