You will inevitably encounter periods of lackluster performance when you’re relying on yourself to stay on track. It’s also often necessary to take on several focuses at once when you first escape the structure of a 9-5 career.
You still have to pay the bills, so you have a part-time consulting gig. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, so you have groups and mentors you assist. When there are a few (or a few dozen) balls in the air and you hit that wall where you would rather sleep-in and catch up on your favorite sitcoms all day, your motivation needs a zap.
5 Steps to Jumpstart Your Motivation (and therefore your productivity and results):
1. Reconnect with your vision.
You took this road because of a big dream. Take time right now to envision that dream come to life. Why were you willing to sacrifice for that dream? What will your life be like when you have reached that mile marker?
My vision is that of time and mobility. A six-figure income means nothing if I am tied down to an office chair. I will know I have achieved my goal when the fruits of focusing 4 hours or less per day on 2-3 of my passions result in a published book, articles in national publications, and long-term travel with my family.
My vision is so tangible and exciting to me that, when I connect with it, I can immediately and clearly assess and take advantage of the current opportunities to make it reality.
2. Jot down your unique strengths, resources, and opportunities.
Often times we get stuck in the doldrums because our confidence wanes. When we took the leap of faith to make our dreams reality, we were 100% sure we would succeed. But months down the road (8 months for me), we can question that original certainty. We belittle our own skills, abilities, and the prudence of the original plan itself.
Going after big dreams requires flexibility. Your plan will change. My original plan was to create a book proposal and submit it to publishers until I had a contract. The first publisher immediately informed me that, without a strong following, a first-time author doesn’t have much of a chance.
Plans change, but your uniqueness doesn’t. You have everything you need to succeed. You have the necessary knowledge and ability to learn. You have the tenacity and determination. You have more opportunity than any previous generation. Review your unique offering so that you can continue to align your plans.
3. Assess why you have no desire to do the critical tasks you’re avoiding.
Avoidance isn’t always simple procrastination. Sometimes we are avoiding because of genuine roadblocks. Our tasks can get out of line or out of order. What are you avoiding, exactly? Make a list. Then, consider each task’s connection to your grand plan.
Is it critical? If not, delete it. You certainly don’t have the time and resources to waste.
Is it the right time? If not, defer it. A cluttered to-do list makes you feel unproductive and overwhelmed.
Are you the right person for the task? If your task doesn’t align with your strengths and abilities or it isn’t critical for you to be the one to complete it, delegate it. You can outsource it or ask for assistance from a mentor or friend who has those talents.
Delete, defer, and delegate. Constantly.
4. Right now, one tiny task.
Normally we can’t pull the wool over our own eyes, but this self-deceit works every time. When you first start to head toward procrastination, force yourself to simply complete one tiny task that will take less than 15 minutes.
You can wait 15 minutes before starting a DVD marathon, right? Won’t you feel better if you get that one task done? Of course. So you do it. The beautiful result is traction. “Well, that didn’t take long and I feel so good that it’s done, maybe I can just do that one other task real quick.”
Hours later you will still be snowballing toward great results for the day. The feeling of accomplishment is intoxicating.
5. Hyper-focus on one major project at a time.
I fail at this…often. I’ve met many other entrepreneurs who also lack focus. We want to accomplish so much and we know that all of the critical tasks are high priority, so we try to juggle them simultaneously. This leads to a place called burn out. It’s all too overwhelming and we don’t get any traction because we are ONE PERSON.
Recognize your singularity and pick one high priority, results-driven project to hyper-focus on. Then do the bare minimum in everything else (hint: the bare minimum for your family, health, and self is probably more than you’re doing now, so this isn’t an excuse to neglect them). Give yourself a timeframe and a milestone (ie. I will hire five new team members within two weeks).
Identify now what the next project will be so that you can shift gears quickly and channel your accomplishments into the next challenge.
What other tools and tricks have you found get you flying down the road again?