It’s Friday. I love working for myself, love the work, love my clients and think my team is brilliant. But by this stage of a busy week I’m usually juggling fast and ferociously to ensure that I get things done. Ferocious juggling plays havoc with my motivation and so some Fridays I fall victim to cake or chocolate which then makes me feel grumpy because that plays havoc with the ongoing diet...... And grumpiness is not motivation’s best friend.
There’s no safety net when you’re self-employed, so the best thing to do is grit your teeth and get motivated all over again. Motivation means “getting moving” so to be motivated you need energy. Here are my favourite ways of getting motivated and energised.
- My motivational energy comes back to me when I’m feeling inspired. The quickest route is to dip into an inspiring book. For the last few years one of my favourite motivational books is Cheryl Richardson’s Take Time for Your Life. She’s not an airy fairy coach, but pragmatic. When I feel stuck her book reminds me that I need to reduce some of the things I’m doing, not take more on when I’m already up to my eyes and beyond. Ultimately I’ll work more effectively and get more done. Yeah, I know it’s common sense but sometimes I’m too busy to think it through. It has the effect I want which is to get me back on track.
- I have a good sort out and get rid of things I don’t want or need. Low motivation means getting bogged down in “stuff”. Too many things on my desk, too much in a mess, all running a bit out of control really diminishes my positive energy and saps my focus. So when I start to feel like that I put aside some time and ruthlessly tidy up and clear out. It’s a refreshing exercise at every level. Spring cleaning isn't just for spring!
- Getting moving helps me get my motivation back on track. I’m no gym bunny (more like the boudoir cat snoozing in the corner) but I do like walking, outside for preference but to be practical it has to be indoors during the week. It provides gentle exercise, relaxation and gives my mind some downtime. I do half an hour of fairly vigorous walking most days, plugged into my little pink ipod. Music and exercise are just a great natural combination. My tastes are fairly rocky with a bit of ska and punk thrown in, balanced by some operatic arias. (Am I the only person who thinks that “Hai gia vinta la causa” from The Marriage of Figaro is a fantastic piece to exercise to?!). After a spot of music and movement I fairly bounce off the running machine and into the office.
- Colour generates energy and energy generates positivity. Wearing cheerful colours and having colour in the environment is motivational. It’s been a horribly grey winter and my favourite coat is bright fuschia pink. You wouldn't believe how many people (women and men) comment on the fabulous colour and say how much they like it. Why deplete your energy with black?
- They say that a good motivational trick is to “eat a toad” before breakfast and the rest of the day will go fine. It’s true that if you do the thing you really don’t want to do and get it over with, everything will go with a swing after that. Please don’t eat any real toads. You’ll only get indigestion.
- Reward yourself for your achievements. We all have things that we hate doing. If you do a deal with yourself and promise yourself a treat when the task you hate is done, it does motivate you to do it. I loathe doing my mileage notes. It has to be done sometime, but I can always find an excuse to do something else. Several times a year I have to talk to myself sternly and bribe myself with a reward. I know I’m only a whisker away from a cup of hot chocolate, but I have to get three months’ worth of mileage written up first...
- Appreciating the good things that you have in your life motivates and energises. Quite often people don’t realise just how lucky they are. On one occasion I was visiting my GP. She’s quite a young woman, very good looking who works in a lovely town and presumably has interesting, well-paid work. From the photos she had on her desk she also has a very handsome husband and beautiful baby boy. She was talking away about how stressed everyone is and how difficult everything is (she clearly included herself in this) and I piped up, “Well, I’m happy”. It stopped her in her tracks and she looked at me as though I’d sprouted two extra heads. How sad that my comment is so unusual as to get that type of response. I am happy. I know how lucky I am. Quite often I run through all the things in life for which I am grateful. From very small things (like nice smelling shower gel) to big important things (family, health etc.) thinking about them and feeling grateful makes me feel happy. With happiness breeds energy and motivation.
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