How to Stay Motivated and Get Things Done


We all know how it starts.  We’re excited, buzzing with electricity.  We think about it all the time, we can’t put it down – and when we do – we can’t wait to get back to it.  It consumes all our thoughts.

What is this ‘it’ – it’s your business.  When we’re starting out, it’s absolutely everything.  We talk about it all the time, and when we aren’t talking about it, we’re thinking about it.

But sooner or later, that excitement dims.  You feel yourself dragging, just a bit at first – it takes a bit longer to get out of bed, or you find it’s easier for you to get distracted while you’re working.

Then, one day you realize that you feel like you’re moving through mud.  Nothing is exciting or sounds like it’s appealing to work on.  You just don’t feel motivated.

Well unfortunately, as entrepreneurs – we don’t have the luxury of wallowing in a lack of motivation.  Things still have to get done, and we still have to bring fresh ideas, innovation and creativity to the party.  So we can’t afford to waste time being unmotivated.

But, what can you do – how can you get out of the slump.

Well, first of all think carefully about how you’re feeling.  Are you feeling unmotivated or are you burned out, have you hit the wall.  If you’re burned out, meaning running on fumes, mentally and physically exhausted – well then, you need to immediately take a break.  Believe me, burnout is nothing to play with – it can have massive mental and even physical impact.  So, if that’s what you’re feeling, take a break and put real thought into rearranging how you do what you do, so that you aren’t going flat out all the time.

Burnout isn’t what I’m talking about here – I’m talking about your regular, run of the mill, feeling unmotivated.

The first thing to do is focus on the big picture – your Vision.  What are you going for, what are you trying to accomplish, and what will that ultimately look like?  I love this part of the exercise.  One of my mentors, Allison Maslan says in her book Fail or Scale (and I’m paraphrasing here) – think of the biggest dream you have for your business. Put yourself in that future position.  What does it look like, what does the team look like, what kind of revenue do you have, what kind of clients do you have, what does your day look like.  Fell it, smell it, taste it – put yourself IN it.

Now, triple it.

I swear, that one gets me every time.  Just imagining my ultimate vision for the business, and then tripling it!  I can 100% expect to find my motivation immediately.

…first of all think carefully about how you’re feeling.  Are you feeling unmotivated or are you burned out, have you hit the wall.

Along those same lines – look back at where you’ve come from.  Think about the things you’ve overcome, the successes you’ve had – and do a little happy dance.  That’s right – celebrate those wins!  The ones that have passed; and make it a practice to celebrate new wins as they happen.

We all have an awful habit of breezing through the good times, but dwelling on problems.  Give joy her due – take time out to really celebrate that new client, or the kudo you just got, or the money you saved on that project.  Always have your dancing shoes at the ready!

Learn something.  One thing that really helps me when I’m feel a bit down is to level up.  You’d be surprised how energizing it is to learn something new.  When we’re stuck in the circle of what we already know, there’s nothing new, nothing to spark our interest.  Take a class, read a book, do some research, listen to a podcast.  Just do something new to expand your thinking.  That will easily help motivate you to try new things.

Don’t waste another minute trying to figure out how to get your business going and what should come next.

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Have good systems and processes.  You’ll find that having good systems in place can really help keep the trains running on time when you aren’t feeling particularly engaged or energized.  When you have systems, you can just follow the steps, and the task will get done.  You don’t have to re-invent the wheel, or try to figure out what to do next – you just follow the steps.  You can lean on your systems to get you through when you just aren’t feeling up to it.

Another great aspect of systems is that, if you aren’t feeling up to getting the task done, a good system will allow you to easily delegate it to someone else (which probably should have happened anyway – but I digress).  A good system makes it easy to train and pass of that task.

And finally –take care of your physical and mental self.  I know you know this, but it bares saying again.  Get some sort of movement in (movement can certainly chase boredom away); make sure you’re getting enough sleep, and eating well.  And don’t forget your relationships.  Call a friend, go out to lunch and talk it out.  Being with your community is an immediate antidote to what ails you.

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