How To Stay Motivated
There will come a point in time in your web design business where you just are lacking motivation. In this blog post, I share with you five ways to get motivated to work on your business – taking frequent breaks and creating a designated work area are just a couple of ways to increase your productivity and stop you from binging on Netflix!
Raise your hand if you’ve ever binge-watched more than 8 episodes of an hour-long show on Netflix in a single workday.
Me = ✋*hand raised*
If I told you that this has only happened once, I would be a liar. I’ve watched nearly all 8 seasons of Suites on Amazon Prime in the past 2 months. That’s somewhere around 128 episodes or 5,760 minutes of television or 96 hours if we want to make it easy to understand. I have basically spent more than 2 “full-time” workweeks binge-watching a television show. (It’s really good! What can I say?)
This used to be a problem for me when I worked from my house. I didn’t have a designated office – I would work at the kitchen bar or from the couch, which meant the TV was RIGHT there begging me to watch it. My self-control wasn’t always that great so sometimes I would cave and find myself episodes deep into Gilmore Girls for the 3rd time.
If my workload that week was light then it wasn’t too big of a deal but if I had tons of work to do, I would find myself stressed out and slightly annoyed with myself for letting that happen again. I’m not going to say I’m perfect now (far from it clearly if I’m admitting to watching more than 8 episodes of Suites in a single day recently) but when I have a lot of work to do, I know how to motivate myself to turn the TV off and get stuff done.
Staying Motivated When You’re Your Own Boss
Here are 4 things I’ve found to help me stay motivated or help get me out of a rut when there isn’t anyone around to hold me accountable for getting shit done.
Each Morning Remind Yourself of Your Goals
In one of my more previous blog posts about making more money without taking on more web design clients, I mentioned the book Think and Grow Rich. It’s a tough book to get through because of the way it’s written but it is well worth pushing through. While I was reading the book, I created a mantra of sorts that I read every morning and every night. It basically includes how much money I am going to make this year, how I’m going to do it, and what I struggle with that may keep me from reaching that goal.
Each morning, I read this. Each night, I read this. Twice a day I’m reminded of what I’m working towards. Not only that though, but I’m also reminded of things I need to work against in order to not fail. While “binge-watching Netflix” isn’t on the list, “self-discipline” is. Being reminded that I need more self-discipline in order to reach my goals is a bit of motivation every single morning to have a super productive day, half-day, or 2 hours – however much time I’m able to put on that day.
So the first thing I want you to do to help keep you out of a creative rut or help keep you motivated on a consistent basis, is to create that list of goals you’re working toward. You’re WHY. Then at the bottom of that list, put down what things you need to overcome to make sure it happens. Read it every morning and every night!
Create a Work Space Away from the TV
There’s no TV in my tiny house on wheels. Seriously. When we watch television we pull up a show on our cell phones and watch on a super tiny screen. While I can definitely do that while I’m working – and yes, sometimes I do if I’m doing some mindless task like creating Pinterest graphics for my blog posts – I’m super aware if I just go sit on the couch with my phone and watch TV. I rarely let that happen, unless I’m not feeling well.
While you probably don’t live in a tiny house on wheels, you can still create a workspace away from the television. Maybe you set up a desk in your bedroom or the kitchen. Maybe you have a little reading nook where your back would be to the TV that you can turn into your designated work area. The easiest way to keep yourself motivated and away from distractions is to keep yourself physically away from the distraction.
Take Frequent Breaks and Go Outside
When you’re working, how often do you take breaks? My day used to look like this (when I first quit my corporate job):
- Start work at 7 AM because Justin left for work at that time
- Work until 12 Noon
- Bring Maggie for a 30-minute walk
- Make lunch
- Eat lunch while I continue to work until Justin got home around 5
I was basically working MORE than I did in my corporate job. And took MAYBE a 45-minute break each day. Kind of ridiculous when I look back on it. It’s no wonder I would find myself with no motivation some days.
Here’s what my typical day looks like now:
- Wake up whenever I wake up because I no longer set an alarm
- Start work after I’ve made breakfast – usually, this is around 9 AM
- Work until 11:30 or 12
- Bring Maggie for a walk
- Make lunch and watch a TV show while I eat
- Start working again – usually around 1 or 1:30
- Work until 4:30ish
- Call it a day unless I have a burst of motivation to crank something out after dinner
Obviously, not every day looks like this. Some days we’re traveling and I work for 2 hours from the truck. Other days I work from 7 AM until 7 PM because I’m in the last stages of building a website. But a typical day looks like the above. I work less than 7 hours a day, I don’t rush to start working in the morning, I take a long lunch break, and I certainly don’t work while I make dinner!
Make sure you take breaks. If you don’t feel like you can take a 2-hour break in the middle of the afternoon, that’s OK! I remember what it was like as a new entrepreneur, too. But at least make sure that every hour or two you are standing up and walking around. Get moving for at least 15 minutes to refresh yourself – and even better if you can do it outside! Fresh air and sunshine can be super motivational!
Switch Up Your Environment
When all else fails – get out of your house! So many times, when I worked from an apartment, I would find myself at the local coffee shop (or at my biz bestie’s house). Sometimes you can’t get out of your funk but you KNOW you need to get some work done. Physically removing yourself from your current environment and going to a coffee shop can do just that. Not only coffee shops but co-working spaces are great for sparking creativity, motivation, and productivity too!
So the next time you find yourself eyeing your couch and daydreaming about what happens in the next episode of your TV show, think back on this list and try some of these things out. If you’re really struggling to get motivated even after running through this list, then maybe you just need a day for yourself. There is nothing wrong with that. Self-care is important, too!