One of the best things about running your own business is not dreading Mondays. Not dragging yourself out of bed in the morning to go to a job you hate. Not fantasizing about getting into a car accident on the way to the office so you’d have an excuse not to go. <--True story.
But that doesn’t mean we entrepreneurs jump out of bed every single morning motivated and inspired to change the world. Some days, we’re just as miserable and unmotivated as the average employee.
Those days, it’s even worse. Because when you work for yourself, every day you spend wasting time on Facebook and moping around your house is a day you’re not growing your business. It’s a day you’re not making money. It’s basically a day wasted.
Those days are the worst, so the next time you’re feeling unmotivated and uninspired, try this.
1. Figure out why you’re unmotivated.
Understanding why you’re feeling so BLAH is half the battle.
Unless you know why you're unmotivated to work, you won't know what you need to do to fix it.
Maybe it’s because you have a big project and you feel paralyzed with overwhelm. Maybe it’s because you have a million things on your to-do list and you don’t know where to start. Maybe you’re simply uninspired and feel like you’re out of ideas. Maybe it’s because you worked late yesterday and are feeling run-down and exhausted.
All of those are very different issues that require very different solutions. So if you’re feeling unmotivated and lazy, be really honest with yourself and understand why.
2. Make it manageable
Once you figure out what will re-motivate you-- whether it’s organization, inspiration or simply relaxation-- give yourself what you need.
Easier said than done, right? That’s why it’s important to break whatever it is you need to do into small, manageable pieces.
And the best way to do that is with the 20-Minute Rule: tell yourself you only have to work on a particular task for 20 minutes. Then set a timer and just do it.
Often, the hardest part of anything is just getting started.
Limiting the task to a manageable amount of time takes away the dread. It helps take off the pressure to finish. It helps you move forward even when you don’t want to.
And the best part? Usually, at the end of that 20 minutes, you’ll find you want to keep going. Once you’re in action, it’s easier to stay in action.
And before you know it, you’ll be motivated again.
3. Make it enjoyable
One of my favorite techniques for getting my butt in gear when I really don’t want to is bribery. Here’s how it works.
When you're feeling unmotivated and lazy and the last thing you want to do is go sit in front of your computer and work, ask yourself:
What could make this task a little more tolerable?
What could you give yourself or do for yourself to take off that feeling of UGH and make your work a little more enjoyable?
For example, when I woke up yesterday, it was snowing outside. All I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with some popcorn and a book and spend the day being cozy. The idea of sitting in my office and working sounded awful.
So I compromised.
I made a fire in the fireplace, popped some popcorn, lit candles, put on my softest sweatpants, put on relaxing music and cozied up on the couch. But instead of a book, I sat with my laptop. My work felt so much easier and more enjoyable because I was still getting the care and comfort I was craving.
It sounds trivial, but I promise it works.
You’d be amazed how far a little self-care can go.
4. Call in reinforcements
If you’ve figured out why you’re so unmotivated, tried the 20-Minute Rule, made your work more enjoyable and you’re STILL struggling to get anything done, you might need to bring in some outside help.
Call a fellow entrepreneur friend for a pep talk. Send an email to your mastermind group asking for help. Post in your favorite Facebook group to get the feedback and support you need to feel like you’re not alone.
Because that’s just it: you’re not alone.
Everyone has days-- weeks even-- where they feel unmotivated, uninspired and just plain fed up with their work. We all have times when business is slow and we’re worried. Or business is going too well and we’re overwhelmed. We all have days where we question what the hell we’re doing with our lives and why we even started this damn thing in the first place.
Getting help is one of the most powerful things you can do in your business-- as long as you’re willing to ask for it.
So stop trying to do it yourself. Get the help you need to move forward-- and the compassion you need to remember why it’s important.
5. Know when to give up
Maybe I should’ve ended on the last point-- keep ‘em inspired, ya know? But as much as I want to help you find motivation, some days, motivation isn’t what you need.
Because let’s face it: sometimes, your heart just isn’t in it. For whatever reason-- you’re not feeling well, you’re really f---ing sad, you’re distracted by personal stuff, whatever-- you’re just not going to get quality work done.
And that’s perfectly ok. In fact, it’s necessary.
It’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself to be motivated and inspired 5 days a week. It’s bad enough to feel blah about your business-- don’t make it even worse by putting on that extra layer of guilt.
Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is doing nothing at all.
So if you’ve gotten honest with yourself about what you need and know the answer is “a damn day off,” then go for it. Take the day off. Relax, recover and recharge.
Remember, business is a marathon, not a sprint. Pacing yourself and taking breaks when you need them isn’t a sign of weakness.
Often, it’s the only way to keep going.