When you play mental tug of war between your work and your life, it is hard for work to win. Often times we have another factor weigh in that helps you to choose your work. It could be your boss, fear of losing a client, fear of losing your job. Under these circumstances, you will force yourself to put your life aside and you will do your work.
But what if you are self employed? Or an entrepreneur? When the choice is yours, how do you choose work? What can you do to help you make the responsible (not always fun) decision?
Accept And Move On
This first tip is hard to articulate. So, I will use an example. When I first started dopplepop with my business partner, I tried to “have it all.” I wanted to keep my corporate job, as well as my artist side hustle, my social obligation, my relationships, hobbies, etc. I thought that with a little careful planning, I could have everything. Admittedly, I am a work horse and I love to pile it on (I am someone that has written a paper for grad school from a hospital bed). But, even this was too much for me.
I had to accept that I couldn’t have it all. By accepting this, I was able to realistically prioritize my work and my life until I could find a healthy balance.
Pump Up Jam
Ok, so you’ve prioritized accordingly but you still can’t find that spark to inspire you to do your work. What now? Time to get pumped!
A recent study found that music can help us to feel powerful. Songs with a heavy base have been shown to inspire people to work or exercise harder. Think “We Will Rock You” by Queen. This is a classic pump up song. Even lyrically, the words help motivate you. But, you don’t have to choose an obviously motivational song. Just pick one that makes you feel powerful and blast it. For me, I am currently blasting “Freedom” by Beyonce.
If you haven’t watched Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” then you are missing out. Take your next free twenty minutes and indulge in Amy Cuddy’s wise words about power posing. Amy’s research showed that striking a powerful pose increases levels of testosterone and decreases levels of cortisol. Meaning, the hormone that makes you feel assertive and strong (testosterone) is increased and the hormone that makes you feel stressed and weak (cortisol) has decreased. All from a pose!
Amy Cuddy recommends standing in the wonder woman pose for at least two minutes to feel the effects. So get up, put your hands on your hips, legs wide apart, chin to the sky and wait two minutes. By the end of this pose, you should be feeling more ready to tackle whatever task is ahead of you.
As a content marketer, I am constantly reading other people’s content. Be it entrepreneurs, marketers, researchers, I am always scouring the internet to see what they have to say. Sometimes I come across a really good one and I am so inspired that I have to work. This is the difference between inspiration and motivation. When you are inspired it taps into what you actually care about. You can turn this into motivation by applying what you care about to your work.
For everyone this looks different. For me it is reading articles. For you, it might be creating a vision board, or looking at art. Take some time to find out what inspires you and then turn that into motivation by applying your inspiration.
Do Some Busy Work
If all else fails, try starting with some busy work. You might be thinking that this sounds counterintuitive considering you only have so much time and shouldn’t that be spent on the highest value deliverable? Yes and no. Yes you want to spend the bulk of your time on the highest value deliverable. But if you don’t even have the motivation to start your project, then no. When you are in this phase, doing anything work related will help you get going.
When you have a huge task, such as a monthly client package, you probably aren’t going to wake up saying “I am going to do this entire package today!” Instead it is probably something like “Ugh. I just do not want to do that.” So don’t! Start with just getting to your computer and responding to emails. And slowly work your way into it. After about fifteen minutes of busy work, you will feel more mentally prepared to tackle your larger projects. By the end of the work day you might not have completed the entire project, but you will likely have a great start and it will be easier to pick back up the next day.
Finding motivation to do your work is hard. It is especially hard when you are a self-employed entrepreneur who can make her own schedule. So how do you find the motivation to choose work when life is just so tempting?
- Accept that you cannot have it all. Prioritize accordingly. Move on.
- Listen to a song that makes you feel powerful
- Strike a power pose for at least two minutes
- Find some inspiration
- Do your busy work
These five tips will help you get to work on some of your least motivated days. What do you do to find motivation? Let us know in the comments!