Heyyyyyyyy, how’s 2019 treating you all? I hope it’s started with a real bang, you’ve got your strategies in place and you’re ready to smash those goals for this year. As you’ve probably seen from my social media, I’ve made some big changes this month. I’m so happy everything is finally out there. I thought a lot about it. Whether it was right, when I should go for it, and you know what? I’m so happy that I chose now. It’s given me a real fire for 2019. I’ve got my plans, I’ve set my goals and after an amazing Christmas break (yeah, that’s right, I said break) I’m feeling refreshed and energized. I’m ready to get where I want to be. And I want to help you feel the same. That’s why this week’s blog post is all about 5 ways to maintain your motivation in 2019.
I’m sure we all experience the absolute tidal wave of posts, not just in business, but from friends and family every year around this time. We all know what they say, and they all sound the same. Many people see the New Year as a fresh start. A chance to change things up, try that thing they’ve always wanted to do or learn a new skill. But then, life can get in the way, can’t it? The routine takes over and your motivation fades. That can happen in business too. Especially if you work from home. I’m sure we all have days where we feel isolated, and daunted from the moment we open our time blocking schedule.
But WE have to find ways past it. We need to build working environments that keep us motivated and inspire us to take the action. That doesn’t have to mean something physical like an office, or a studio. It can be simply be a mindset. Because at the end of the day no-one will do the work for you. WE all have to grab our chances and make it happen. That’s how you get where you want to be. Here are some of the things I try to do to stay hungry for the next challenge throughout this journey.
LIFE GOALS = MORE GOALS
We’re all big ambitions. We all have big ambitions and plans. That’s great. Because that’s the entrepreneur mindset. We don’t want to settle, we want the challenge and we have an idea of where we want to end up. But we have to remember that, as I mentioned above, this is a journey.
The key for me is to set realistic goals. And yes, the size or importance of these will probably grow as your business does. But when it comes to avoiding burnout and disappointment, this is crucial. Why? Because you’ll feel like you’re making progress on a consistent basis. Each time you tick something off you feel closer to the ultimate goal. And with each tick you’ll fuel your motivation more.
On top of that, by breaking the big goal into much more realistic pieces, you’ll create a clear path, showing you exactly what you need to do. That way, you’ll be more efficient in the way you use your time and energy. You won’t try to do everything at once. Because we all know that’s a sure-fire way to lose motivation, fast. So while setting yourself more goals seems like more work for you, actually it will give you lots of mini boosts, keeping your energy up and the momentum flowing.
TIME-BLOCK YOUR WAY TO THE TOP
Now, I always considered myself to be quite, y’know, spontaneous. Live for the moment. Just go out and do stuff. But let me tell you, in business, that just ain’t gonna’ work. No chance. Not if you’re serious about hitting those goals. It’s something I learned quickly when the orders started rolling in. And if I hadn’t, I think my husband would’ve come home to find me curled up in a ball in the corner.
My time-blocking document (I use Excel but there’s lots of other ways to do it) has become one of the most, if not THE most important document in my day-to-day business life. I mean, it basically organises my life. But it doesn’t end there. I’ve got my diary. I’ve got my page a day diary. AND I’ve got my wall planner. Oh, and not forgetting my Trello boards with my lovely web developer. Basically, I quickly found out that if you want to make it happen you have to get your shit together.
I make a list of my daily, weekly and monthly tasks, and know how long I need to spend on each of them. Why? Because then I know exactly what I’m doing and when. And I know what the goal of that time is. So I have a super clear objective to hit. That means I’m not panicking about all the things I have to do. I can be efficient, and I know that by the end of the time, I’ll have ticked off one of my goals for that day. So then I’ll have a clear idea of how productive I’ve been.
But not only that, I also know that by building in all my deadlines, I have an overview of when everything has to be delivered. So, if there is a random curveball I know I can jump on it, action it quickly and come back without losing my train of thought.
SEPARATE WORK LIFE FROM PERSONAL LIFE
I run my businesses from home, and this tip is something that I’ve found crucial to staying motivated on a daily basis. There are many benefits to not working from home. None of the overheads when it comes to renting office space. Home comforts (Bourbons obvs!) And of course when you’re like me and used to travel almost 4 hours to and from your 9-5, the big one, NO COMMUTE!!!!!!
However, it can cause issues when it comes to motivation. And it can go either way. On one hand you could see your whole house as an office and never stop working. Do that and you’ll risk losing sight of the rewards. You won’t enjoy the life you’re working so hard to create. You’ll become isolated and soon, you’ll start to resent your business. Which is a feeling none of us ever want to experience.
On the other hand, working from home can leave you comfortable in your business. So what do I mean by that? Well, personally I always, ALWAYS do my morning routine as if I was going to work. Why? Because I am. It doesn’t matter that for me, work is my office in the next room. What I need to do is get into that work mindset. That’s why I dress as if I was going to work. There is a temptation to spend the morning in your pyjamas, or not get ready one day. But it only takes one element of laziness, one thing to slip and soon other things might start to go the same way. But you have to be professional. You have to bring it. Bring the energy. Bring the passion.
By separating your work life and your personal life you’ll create a space, an environment, like I talked about in my intro to do just that. It could be a co-working space, or your local coffee shop, but wherever it is, make sure it’s somewhere you feel happy and inspired. Alternatively, if you do what I did and convert a spare bedroom into an office, you get to create that environment from scratch. And let me tell you, decorating and furnishing a room to transform it into a physical reflection of your brand is always fun.
BREAKS BOOST PRODUCTIVITY
Wait, what? Yeah, that’s right, it sounds wrong doesn’t it? In fact, it doesn’t just sound wrong it sounds completely wrong, but trust me, it’s not. I mean, I know from experience that those 12 hour (or longer) days in my office, sat in front of my computer screen take it out of me. And the more of them I have in a row, the sooner they catch up with me.
You might look back and think you’ve done four 12 hour days in a row. Or even longer. But it’s about the quality of the work not the quantity of hours. You can end up feeling brain dead, snow blind, or even worse suffering from exhaustion, which is a top motivation killer. On top of that, because you don’t have the energy to bring your A game, you might end up re-doing a lot of the work. So not only will you be wasting emotional energy, you’ll also be wasting time.
But anyway, enough of that negativity. That’s not us is it?! That’s not how we get where we want to be. So how to get past it? Well, that’s where some of my previous tips come in. Make sure you time block breaks into your schedule. It doesn’t have to be long. It could be going to make, and enjoy a cuppa. Going for a walk. Going for a run. Working out. Reading a chapter of that book you’ve wanted to start for ages. Listening to a podcast. Or even eating lunch away from your desk! IMAGINE!
I’m sure if you try those things throughout the day, and find THE thing that works for you, not only will you come back refreshed and focussed, you’ll be energised and efficient when it comes to ticking off your next goal for the day. Plus, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have your best ideas when you’re not thinking about work. It’s weird, but it’s true. Oh and of course, don’t have a Kit Kat, have a Bourbon…
GET IN THE ZONE
This tip is all about mindset. Which is key when it comes to motivation. But more specifically it’s about finding the mindset that inspires you to do your best work. Part of it could be the environment you create to work in, but a lot of it is down to dealing with the ups and downs of running and business and finding a way to make it happen.
One thing I’ve learned through running both my businesses is that not only is being an entrepreneur a journey, it’s also a big emotional rollercoaster. If you work alone, from home, it can feel quite isolated, and if a few things don’t go your way you can quickly start to feel like you’re failing. Like you’re not cut out for it. And that’s draining. But not only does it drain energy, it also takes away from your motivation, your creativity and your ambition. So you can’t let those doubts take over.
This is part of the entrepreneur lifestyle, but you still can’t beat that feeling when things go well. When someone places an order, or you win that client you REALLY wanted. So yes, it’s a challenge, but it’s exciting every day, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. So when things don’t go your way, you need a way to remember the positives. To see the learnings in failures and come back bigger, better and stronger. Whether that is having small daily goals you can tick off, or time blocking breaks, or having a non-work space that you can go to and remember why you’re doing all the hours in the first place, then great. It could even be a page of motivational quotes on Pinterest! Or like me, a tattoo on your arm that reminds you why you started in the first place, why you’re where you are now and where you want to be in the future. There’s no one-size fits all way to get in the zone, but you need to find what works for you, fast.
So there you have it, my top tips for maintaining motivation in 2019. I’m still working on all of them, and of course, I have days where I don’t feel ‘on it’ the moment I wake up. But by using these techniques I can push myself into the mindset I need to make the day count. And that, at the end of the day is what it’s all about. Progress each day. Refine your skills. Evolve your business. Get where you want to be. But make sure whatever you do, feels right and natural for you.
Oh, and if you have any tips on what helps you stay motivated, I’m always looking for more so feel free to share them in the comments…
P.S: There’s one final tip which will help you stay motivated in your business and that’s to create or join a community. Why? Because being around others who are motivated, who see your potential and push you to be better is the best kind of inspiration. And that is what you’ll find in my free Facebook group, The B Studio. It’s full of like-minded, ambitious entrepreneurs and we can’t wait to see you over there. Check it out