How to Stay Motivated: 7 Strategies to Reignite Your Desire to Work
Regardless of what you do and who you do it for, chances are you’re going to come across periods where you lack motivation. Perhaps things aren’t going your way, you’re working on a particularly unappealing project, or you’re just having a down day.
I find as a solopreneur and writer, I can go through periods of motivation high where I’m just loving everything I do, followed by periods of snail-like work where I’m severely lacking motivation.
Sometimes it’s a situation where there’s something else going on that’s causing my motivation to wane — but a lot of the time it’s simply the flow. It’s no one or nothing’s fault, just simply how things go.
It’s natural. It’s normal and it’s totally OK.
But it can be a real bummer as a solopreneur because you have to do work, and a lot of that times you want to do work, you just simply can’t seem to figure out how to motivate yourself to do so. If this sounds like something that happens to you as well, here’s what I do to correct it:
Reassess and recentre
What are you working towards? For me, much of my motivation is tied to achieving my next goal. Everything has a purpose and everything is part of the bigger plan. So when I feel like I’m falling off track and my motivation is waning, it’s often tied to the fact that I’ve momentarily lost sight of what those goals are.
Life and work can get a little repetitive, and it’s easy to get lost in the weeds when you’re working towards something better. During times like these, I step away from my work and take some time to reassess where I am and recentre the goal I have in mind.
A few questions I ask myself during this period include:
- What (goal or milestone) am I currently working towards?
- Am I still on the current path or have I veered off?
- How does this task (or these next few tasks) fit into the bigger picture?
- How much have I actually accomplished?
Taking time to check in can really help when it comes to sparking that motivation again. Chances are you’ve moved further than you though, accomplished more than you figured, and it doesn’t hurt to remind yourself every once in a while.
Set new milestones
We’re all going for the gold (or the million dollar prize, whatever it is you’re in it for) but that takes a lot of hard work and time to actually reach. In the meantime, we can get a little deflated about it.
Many times when I find my motivation dwindling, it’s because I’ve set some really lofty milestones, or I set no milestones at all and only goals, and it’s taking too long to achieve them.
Human beings, especially ones that are ambitious and goal-oriented like I am, need to be continually achieving and accomplishing goals, otherwise our motivation bottoms out.
If the road between goal achievements is too long, we can fall off track because it’s taking too long and we feel like we’re failing. Likewise, if the time between goals or milestones is too short, it can also be demotivating because it’s simply too short. The key is to find the sweet spot!
So if you find that you’re feeling unaccomplished (or perhaps too accomplished) try setting some milestones to help keep you on the right track.
Start fresh with your to-do list
Your to-do list is way too long. I don’t need to know you or what you’re working on to know that your list is too long because we all have lists that are much too long. If you’re feeling demotivated because you have constant feelings of failure, chances are it’s because you’re setting unrealistic expectations on yourself.
Regardless of how amazing you are — we both know it’s true — you are not a bloody superhero. Stop trying to be one!
Scratch your to-do list and start fresh with only what ABSOLUTELY NEEDS to get done. Nothing more, nothing less. And most importantly, make sure it can all be accomplished today!
Switch gears and work on a passion project
You know what motivates me? Working on something I absolutely love! I can easily spend a blissful afternoon working on a handful of blog posts, or spend an evening buried knee-deep in a screenplay.
If you’re feeling a lack of motivation try switching gears and doing something you know will get you fired up! I know what you’re thinking — my list needs to get done, but it is really getting done if you’re staring miserably at your computer screen? No, it’s not.
Allow yourself time to pursue your passions because it’ll help keep the rest of your work motivated.
Take a legitimate break
Are you demotivated because you’re working too much? Probably. If that’s the case, take a damn break! Taking a break doesn’t have to mean foregoing work for the entire day — though in some cases it can.
One of my favourite ways to take a break is to give myself two hours to watch a film I’ve been itching to see. Films are a much better break choice than watching an episode of a TV series, because while TV episodes are shorter you’re tempted to watch another episode (or six). With films, unless it’s a series (avoid Harry Potter as a break choice), there isn’t that same temptation to binge watch.
If I need a break that’s more of a separation, I will actually take myself out to the cinema. It’s a great way to give yourself a little bit of separation, enjoyment and eat some popcorn!
Get rid of work you hate
As a freelancer, I try my best to only work on projects I’m passionate about with clients I love — but that’s not always the case.
As an absolute last resort, if I find I’m constantly getting hung up on a particular project or a particular client’s work, I remove the issue. If I’m miserable, I’m not giving 110 percent, so I’d rather be giving nothing at all. Drastic? Maybe. But I’m running a business, and it’s my business. I do what I want.
Tae is a lost cause who really has no idea what she’s doing in life — so she does a little bit of everything. She writes about single life and being an adult on her blog The Single Girl’s Guide to Real Adulting and marketing your small law firm on The Legal Rebel. She runs The Lady Dicks Podcast and the upcoming travel blog The Spooky Traveller. Plus she’s currently working on a film.
But it’s not all fun and games for her, she has a Bachelor of Communication in Journalism and a Master of Arts in Intercultural and International Communication. Previously, Tae worked in corporate communication, marketing and public relations. Who says you can’t have it all?