Many of you in business can probably relate to this. When you first started your business you were probably pleasantly surprised that getting clients and finding work – the things that stab fear into the heart of most entrepreneurs – weren’t that difficult. Instead, the admin side of running your own company became the bane of your existence. This is for one very simple reason – it’s actually really hard to find the motivation to do the work we’ve been given. This probably sounds ridiculous but believe me it’s a common problem. So here are some tips that can drastically increase your productivity, motivation and will to get pretty much everything done. Let’s go!
WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?
When it comes to business very few of us are fearless. Maybe you’re afraid that lack of experience will mean you’ll do something wrong? Or perhaps you know you’re a slow worker, so you’re convinced that your to-do list will take an eternity? These concerns probably started out as niggling hang ups but too soon grew arms and legs resulting in you putting things off or doing nothing at all.
So what’s the solution? If you feel that lack of experience is hindering your abilities then the best course of action is to practice. Find the prospect of a family photo shoot overwhelming? Ask family and friends to give you a few trial runs. Think that weddings are out of your league? Find a photographer who has worked within the industry for some time and ask about assisting or some form of mentor scheme. This will not only boost your confidence but also hone in on your individual style and skills (and give you images for a portfolio – BONUS!)
Alternatively, if you are concerned that tasks will take an age (so never get started at all) then here is a simple solution. Write down how long you think each item on your to-do list is going to take, then start working your way through and time yourself. I bet you will be shocked! The majority of people over estimate how long a task will take by up to 2-3 times. This will not only boost your belief that you can in fact get everything done but also give you a better understanding of how you work and therefore help you prioritise your days in the future.
GIVE SOCIAL MEDIA THE COLD SHOULDER
It’s incredibly difficult to be motivated and focussed on our work when we have the opportunity to stare mindlessly at a screen which magically displays funny pictures and cat videos – at ALL HOURS OF THE DAY. I mean, if given the choice of working or spending hours on Pinterest, one would always choose Pinterest. But sadly life is not that sweet. So make it easier for yourself by tuning out of social media. Turn off the notification settings on your phone. Set specific times that you’re ‘allowed’ to check social media sites (and stick to them). I think you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done when you hit the mute button on the chatter of the online world.
RECOGNISE WHEN YOU’RE BEING AWESOME
I have a confession to make. I am particularly useless and unmotivated at about 5-6pm. Now a few months ago I used to start my day by checking my emails, taking a snoop on social media and doing a few trivial tasks (like rearranging my pen pot). This meant that all the big stuff reached crisis mode at the exact time I felt like doing nothing. So I took a step back and figured out when I actually felt and worked my best. This means that now I start my day by interviewing photographers, brainstorming new ideas and writing blog posts. By being super productive in the mornings I find I am more likely to feel motivated even when my ‘useless hours’ hit. However, if I really feel like I can’t look at one more Facebook update, it’s ok because all the major stuff has been dealt with. Your pen pot will still be there at the end of the day. Trust me.
Now I’ll be honest this trick doesn’t work for me personally, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth giving it a shot. Why not try telling yourself that once you finish X you will be rewarded by doing/having Y? Alternatively, you could reward yourself with something small (e.g. one pear drop) every time you knock an item off your to-do list. However, if you’re will power is anything like mine you may very well have devoured the bowl of pear drops before your browser has even booted up!
CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK
Sometimes we just have to be honest with ourselves and accept that maybe today is just not the day. Some days you’re just not going to feel it and pushing yourself when you aren’t in the right frame of mind is probably going to cause more damage than good. There’s nothing less motivating than producing mediocre results that you have to redo at a later date. Take your dog for a walk, read a few chapters of a book, play with your kids. Just take a break for a few hours, I promise you’ll feel better for it!
How do you motivate yourself to get stuff done when you really don’t feel like it?