Entrepreneurs, new business owners and even bloggers often pop up on the scene with vigour and motivation. Driven by determination to see our projects succeed we invest time, money and effort in the project or business. We strive to ensure that it has the best chance of success. This may include working extra hours or sacrificing other things to tend to our new endeavour. While this may be necessary, how we handle the inevitable slowdown may decide how successful we really are.
Everyone can dream big and there’s nothing wrong in that. In fact, dreaming big is a major characteristic of an ambitious individual. Setting lofty goals and striving to achieve them is great motivation and a key to success. Success does not come instantly though. It is also important to set short term objectives, be flexible, and to be unafraid to ask for assistance in order to reach ultimate success.
Overcome small challenges
A problem may often seem large and complicated and this leads us to assume that it is difficult to solve. While this may often be the case, problems can be broken down into smaller more manageable chunks which are less overwhelming. Trying to save the world from pollution is a daunting task. Not littering, composting and recycling are simple steps that benefit the environment despite seeming trivial. Overcoming small problems is one way of contributing to a large solution.
Switch it up
Sometimes simply changing the order in which you solve a piece of the puzzle can make the whole thing easier to decipher. Small changes is perspective can change the entire overview of the problem. This is why you are advised to skip the more difficult questions in a test and do the easier ones first. Not only does it prevent you from wasting time getting frustrated, it also allows you to gain confidence from the problems you can solve simply by breaking the routine of chronological order.
Ask for help
As talented and resourceful as we may be their are times when we need help from others. This not only refers to getting help to do what we cannot do alone but also getting help to do what a team can do more efficiently. Asking for help can save both time and effort and can be mutually beneficial to members of a team. We all have different specialities and utilizing our individual strengths in a coordinated manner makes for a stronger and more productive collective group. Help may be much more forthcoming if you reciprocate and also offer to help others out.
A genuinely positive attitude can have a much greater impact than you expect. Being polite, respectful and showing concern for others may have nothing to do with a specific problem but can affect your mood and the mood of those around you. A simple smile can make the workplace a more comfortable environment. It also makes you more approachable which encourages collaboration.
These are just a few strategies to keep in mind the next time you are trying to achieve a difficult goal. There will be ups and downs but doing these little things may help you get through the more difficult challenges. Keep the big picture in mind but remember you cannot get to your destination without taking the first few little steps.
It is not always easy to wake up and go to work. It may be a bit easier if you work for yourself but there are still days when you just are not in the mood to do any work. If you do not make a conscious effort these days may occur so often that it hinders productivity and performance. This is why you may need some external motivators to remind you of your goals and the steps necessary to achieve those goals. Here are a few motivation techniques that help get you to work when you don’t feel like doing anything.
1. Focus on the big picture
A list of goals, a picture of the family you are trying to support or an inspirational quote from a role model can all help you focus on the big picture and where you want to be. This is especially important when times are hard or depression sets in. Knowing what you are sacrificing for helps put your sacrifices in perspective.
2. Make a schedule and stick to it
Planning ahead can be the difference between doing something or doing nothing. Deadlines allow you to recognize when time is running out and the urgency of a task needs to be escalated. A schedule can also allow you to work harder when in the mood or “in the zone” so that you do not have to work as hard when you are not. Schedules therefore help you to decide how scarce resources should be allocated.
3. Incorporate something fun into mundane tasks
Work that doesn’t seem like work is usually the first to get done. Find creative ways to incorporate the things you love into the task you don’t to make it more bearable. You might want to sketch an idea instead of using words to brainstorm since you enjoy drawing but not writing. This makes the task at hand more enjoyable and less likely to cause you to scowl at the thought of doing it.
Everyone has down times and every business has slow periods. It can be very difficult to go through these rough times and maintain your zeal and passion. There are times when I am swamped with work and don’t know where to start. On the other hand, there are times when I wish I had more clients and that I could be more productive. I have compiled a list of things which help me to stay motivated and inspired even when things are slow and my mood is not the best.
1. Focus on your goals
Nothing can motivate you to put your best foot forward today than the promise of a better tomorrow. Keep your goals in mind when things look down and remember that sacrifices today may pay dividends in the future. Align your actions to your goals and the tasks that you perform may seem a bit more bearable since you have an idea of the benefits they can accomplish.
2. Use Time Management Aids
Time management is often touted during busy times when we are overwhelmed but can also help in slow times as well. The stress of not knowing what to do or what to prioritize can be combated with simple time management tools. I regularly use ToDoist as a task manager to schedule tasks and remind me of what I need to get done. I can schedule recurring tasks and get reminders on my phone. You can also use a simple calendar and task list from Google Calendar or Outlook. These tools can help you to plan in advance for slow periods and get those tasks you are normally to busy to perform accomplished.
3. Diversify your efforts
Monotony is a main cause of boredom because we get tired of doing the same thing over and over again. This problem is amplified when things are slow and there are not many obvious alternatives. This may be a perfect opportunity to try something different or try doing ordinary tasks in a different way. This may not come naturally so you may have to do some research and some learning before you can master new techniques and skills. Ultimately you may find a more efficient way of doing an everyday task or at least learn different approaches to solving a problem.
4. Find Productive Distractions
We all need to get away sometimes and taking a break can be relaxing as well as a surprisingly inspirational experience. If you have ever had a great idea in the shower, through a dream or while taking a walk you can relate. The key to this tip though is that the distraction must be productive. Reading a book may offer inspiration or relax you as would taking a walk. Gossiping at the water cooler would not really be productive. Talking to someone about a task at hand may over some new insight though.
5. Help someone else
Helping someone else may not directly help your problem at hand but the benefits of your altruism may indirectly affect your mood and open you up to reciprocal assistance. This does not mean that you should help others with the hope of getting something in return though. Just helping someone else allows you to accomplish a task regardless of how minuscule it may seem. The more tasks you accomplish the more confident and fulfilled you become allowing you to tackle your own problems with more enthusiasm. Not to mention, you may just make someone else’s day that much better.
What are your own tips for staying motivated in slow times? Let me know in the comments.