Staying Motivated When You're Your Own Boss

February 7, 2017



Being boss certainly has its ups and downs. You call the shots, you’re not scolded for taking a long lunch, and most of the time you’re thinking: “I’ve got this! Everything is awesome!”


But then you hit a bump. You have a tough day, maybe a week, and motivation levels start to wane. And when motivation drops, so does productivity. So it’s nice to have a few strategies in place to get back on course.




Cred: Demetri Martin


As per the scientific chart above, bumps are a perfectly normal part of the road to success. But those who pick themselves up the fastest can get on with making progress.


Here’s how to get your motivation mojo back when you’re your own boss:



Start with your ‘WHY’


The best way to stay motivated is to remind yourself WHY you became your own boss.


“Post your vision and/or mission somewhere where you can see it. I use it to remind myself of the big picture when I’m bogged down with everyday tasks,” recommends Zero Waste Market boss, Brianne Miller.


Whether it’s financial freedom, turning your passion into a profitable business, or an altruistic cause, something motivated you enough to quit working for someone else and start your own business. What was it?


(Forgot your ‘why’ or need a new one? Simon Sinek can help you out.)



Bust through analysis paralysis


A common reason for losing motivation is not knowing where to start. This might be a case of analysis paralysis, where you’re so overwhelmed from overthinking, you can’t make a decision or take action.


“In the military, it doesn’t matter in which direction you choose to move when under a mortar attack, just so long as you move.” (How To Overcome The 'Analysis Paralysis' Of Decision-Making, Forbes)


Make a to-do list and take one small step towards action. A few small steps will snowball into larger ones and soon enough you’ll get your groove back.



Eliminate time-sucking distractions


Motivation dips are all-access passes for time-sucking distractions. It’s far too easy to lose an hour or more to Instagram or the Reddit time vortex. Next thing you know, it’s 2pm, you haven’t done anything productive, deadlines are looming and motivation is still flailing.


Take control of your time by identifying and tackling major distractions. Besides social media, email is a BIG one.


“Email is the single largest interruption in modern life” says Tim Ferriss. He and countless entrepreneurs suggest checking emails at intervals rather than getting distracted every time your inbox pings.


“Email sucks because it is often someone else’s priority shifted to you,” observes Jordan Rogers, CEO of Lloyd James Sales & Marketing. “How many hours a day do you spend answering emails? 1, 2, 3 hours? Cut that time in half. Schedule 4 x 20 minute windows during the day to answer email. Focus on nothing but answering emails during this time. Once 20 minutes are up, stop! Evaluate at the end of the day. Need another 20 minute window? Book it in for tomorrow. Stick to the scheduled daily time(s) with zero distractions. That means no multitasking. Put your phone on silent, and close down your email program.” (Check out Jordan’s other tips for owning email)


To limit social media distractions, these Chrome plugins are fantastic:


  • Website Blocker
    Blocks access to specific domains (such as Facebook or Twitter) for a given period of time (i.e. 9am-12pm). It also works in Incognito Mode – so there’s no cheating!

  • Momentum
    Every time you open a new tab, Momentum displays a customized page with a motivational quote, daily goal and to-do list. A great reminder to stay focused!



Set reward goals


Stay motivated by setting reward goals. “If I complete ‘x’, I’m going to ‘y’.”


Designer and travel junkie Meg White sets travel-based goals. When she lands a new client, she sets a reward goal (i.e. "this project will buy me a plane ticket."). A recent project bought her flights to Australia. Mexico is next on the list. “I sometimes do it with really small invoices too,” says Meg. “Even if it’s only $50, I imagine it as a treat for dinner and drinks!”


What are your biggest goals right now? Write them down and stick them on your office wall. Motivation comes easily when you’re excited about what you’re working towards.



Change course


If what you’re doing isn’t working, change course.


“If you’re stuck in a rut, think about how your business could grow. Perhaps there’s another direction you could take it. To get motivated, I do brainstorming sessions, take courses and attend workshops,” says Virtual Assistant Debbie Roche.


Debbie also recommends keeping up with changes in your industry, checking out what similar businesses are doing, and staying up to date with clients needs. “Is there something your clients keep asking for that you don't provide? Could you add it as a service?” A new idea or approach could inject a fresh dose of motivation.



Switch up your scenery


If you work from home and catch yourself spiralling through an internet click-storm or reorganizing your spice cupboard by colour, it’s time to get out of the house.


That goes for bosses in offices too. If employees are interrupting every few minutes, or you’ve been procrastinating on the same task all morning, grab your laptop and leave for a few hours.


Switching up your scenery at a café or coworking space removes distractions, gets creativity flowing and lets you focus on nothing but your work. A double shot of espresso can go a long way too.


The OOOT app is being designed for these exact moments. When motivation starts to wane, you’ll be able to hunt the nearest trendy restaurant and reserve a table for a few hours. To be one of the first to take it for a spin, download OOOT from the App Store, and follow OOOT on Facebook , Instagram & Twitter.


How do you crank your motivation levels? We’d love to know!




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