You know that feeling you get when you have a great business idea or that sudden desire to finally start eating right and exercising? Those are some pretty passionate feelings that make us feel like we can take on the world in a single day. It makes it easier to jump out of bed in the morning and start putting your plans into motion.
But then, a few days or maybe weeks later, all that motivation disappears. You find yourself making excuses for missing deadlines or not reaching benchmarks. You feel lazy and start procrastinating, thinking you have all the time in the world or you’ll start on that tomorrow — if nothing comes up.
I get it, we all have times where we have second thoughts or start feeling burned out. And even when we know we should be working on our goals, it’s just not that easy to rediscover that earlier motivation that will allow us to get shit done.
In case you missed it, I covered the “Get Shit Done” approach in a previous blog post. Now, let’s take that methodology and turn it into five tips you can use to motivate yourself and take care of business, even when you’re not really feeling it.
1. Leverage Your Energy Levels
Some people are naturally early risers. They’re the ones who have squeezed in a full workout, eaten breakfast, showered, and done a few household chores before the sun comes up. If that’s what works for you, then that’s great.
However, it’s okay if you’re NOT this type of person. You don’t have to be an early bird to get shit done. You should pay attention to your own energy levels and plan your work around how you work best. If you love burning the midnight oil and snoozing until lunchtime, you do you. You’ll be a lot happier and can accomplish more when you find your own rhythm instead of trying to live up to someone else’s ideals.
2. Adopt a Promotion or Prevention Focus
Are you the type of person who benefits from the thought of achieving something better than what you have now? If so, then adopting a promotion focus is for you!
A promotion focus is when you are focused on the personal gain you will have after accomplishing a certain task or goal. You don’t like making your bed, but you do it anyway because you love the reward of climbing into a clean, organized bed after a long day. You don’t like having hour-long conference calls with clients, but you do it to build rapport and continue earning their business.
Know that sometimes you may have to balance both promotion and prevention focus. Look at everything based on the situational analysis and then decide. In other words, if you decide that for a specific project you might be better off focusing on prevention, then you may not want to risk what you already have. For example, you work late on a Friday night to please a client because you don’t want to lose their business or the trust you’ve worked hard to build. You have major FOMO and are motivated by the fear of risk and loss.
3. Outsource When Possible
One of my favorite hacks to get shit done when you don’t feel like it: Let someone else do your dirty work.
Outsourcing is a beautiful thing, especially when you’re just not feeling motivated to handle it yourself. If it’s in your budget, hand over some of your more groan-inducing tasks to someone who enjoys them. Chances are, having certain things done professionally and with gusto will give you better results than if you’d choked through it yourself.
The work gets done, as long as you’re motivated enough to find someone to handle it for you. And who knows? Maybe their spirited efforts will rub off on you.
4. Take Breaks
When we’re passionate about a project or idea, it’s not uncommon to fully throw ourselves into it. We wake up early and stay up late because we want to see our ideas come to fruition. Maybe one all-nighter isn’t a bad thing, but when we’re consistently working tirelessly, we’re driving ourselves straight to Burnout City. And when we arrive, it’s extremely hard to leave.
Stop being so hard on yourself! Tell yourself it’s okay to take breaks, even when you haven’t completed a task or reached a good stopping point. When your mind starts wandering or you feel yourself losing steam, it’s past the time to take a break.
I’m a fan of the Pomodoro technique, where you work for 20 minutes straight and then give yourself a five- or ten-minute break. Once you do a few of these cycles, take a longer break of 25-30 minutes to recharge. You might be amazed at just how much you can accomplish when you break up your tasks into bite-sized chunks of time.
5. Reward Yourself
Trust me, there’s a LOT of reward waiting for you when you complete tasks that move you closer to your goals. Do you want to be a kick-ass blogger? You need to, you know, actually write great blog posts. Fame and revenue are the ultimate rewards. The same goes for any other entrepreneurial journey — you are looking forward to that time freedom, money freedom, and the ability to do something you love.
But you don’t have to wait to reach your goals to start rewarding yourself. After all, success doesn’t happen overnight, and no one wants to wait months or years before seeing the first inkling of a reward.
Instead, incentivize yourself along the way to stay motivated. For example, you might buy something nice when you hit a certain revenue goal or treat yourself to a Friday off. Or, you could use a monetary incentive app like StickK that allows you to bet against yourself and earn cash when you meet your goals. When you can see rewards within your grasp, it makes it a lot easier to get shit done without too much convincing.
Wrapping It Up
It’s okay if you don’t feel that “get shit done” feeling every single day. No one does. Find ways to prioritize your to-do list and motivate yourself to finish what needs to get done now, and maybe save the less pressing tasks for later on. Keep in mind that if you drive yourself into burnout, you will be even less productive. Keep your head on straight and make sure that you are being smart about your time management — and keeping realistic expectations for yourself.
Need more entrepreneurial motivation? Head back to my blog for more insights.