January 7, 2019 7:00 am
Motivating yourself can be tricky at the best of times, staying motivated is on another level. Throw into the mix an undefined routine and take away those monthly / yearly reviews and things can get real aimless, real quick for freelancers and small business owners. It’s so easy to give in to procrastination and find literally anything to do, other than work. Trust me, I’ve been there… Sometimes I still am there. But, that’s the point, freelancers have total freedom to truly choose what their days look like and with a little forward thinking and a dose of self-discipline, going freelance will easily be the best decision you ever make.
Let me preface this by being totally straight with you, I’m someone who really struggles with self-discipline when it comes to the consistency needed to be successful whilst being freelance or working for yourself in any capacity. I’ll hold my hand up, I’m instant gratification girl and so it’s taken me longer than it should have done to cotton on to what I need to do, to get to where I want to go.
Nothing worth having comes easy though and freelance life and being able to create your own reality is definitely worth it. Here are the tools that I use to stay motivated as a freelancer whilst also stopping myself from falling into the trap of thinking that we need to be hustling 24/7.
Giving ourselves too much choice, in the moment, over how our days should look will ultimately lead to indecision and overwhelm, which can then often result in days where you literally don’t get anything of value done. So, have a think about your perfect workday, what does it look like? Do you love waking up before the rest of the world, pouring a cup of coffee, opening your laptop and cracking on with things? Do you prefer to start late and finish late so that you can enjoy your slow morning routine, hit the gym, walk the dogs AND get a second breakfast in? Whichever ingredients that you need to be the happiest, most productive version of yourself possible, add them into your daily routine and create a structure that supports and nourishes you.
You get to decide how and when you do things, the most important thing is that you actually do them, so set yourself up for success by playing to your strengths.
Have the bigger goal in mind. It’s so easy to get bored by the everyday tasks that make up working for yourself but I find that keeping my BIG goal in mind helps me see the necessity of each task being completed. If you find it hard to keep the future in mind then I’d recommend creating a little vision board and sticking it above your desk, anywhere that you can see it every single day. You know I ain’t about mindless hustle but no one ever achieved their wildest dreams by being lazy and unfocused.
Keep your eyes on the prize and be ruthless about where you direct your energy.
Maybe looking to the future feels hard for you? If so, another great tactic that I was reminded of (from the business badass that is Sarah Akwisombe) is to remember a pain point or struggle in your life, a moment where you couldn’t pay your rent or mortgage, a moment where you had to miss out on opportunities because of a lack of resources, a time where you felt held back due to circumstances. Use that moment and that feeling to fire you up. Use it to make sure that you do everything in your power possible, to not end up back there. For me personally, I prefer looking forward to my big goals but I know that this method works for people – as always it’s finding the approach that works best for you.
Recognise your hard work and celebrate the wins. This is so hard to do when there’s no one there to pat you on the back and tell you that you’ve done a good job. You have to learn to clap for your own self and recognise when you’ve achieved something that you might normally struggle with. It doesn’t have to be a huge grand gesture, just something that you recognise as a treat – it could be allowing yourself an hour of Netflix, it could be a meal out, a great bottle of wine, an hour at your favourite exercise class. Nor does it have to be a great milestone success, it could simply be that you’ve consistently completed a necessary task that you don’t really enjoy doing. It could be that you landed your dream client. Whatever it is, positive reinforcement will help you to repeat those positive actions until they become easily kept habits.
If you really need those regular appraisals to help keep you on track, an accountability partner will be worth their weight in gold to you. You chat once or twice a week, or whenever you both agree is needed. You share your plans, goals and the steps you intend to take to get there, along with a time frame. Boom, now you have a deadline and someone who’s going to question why you haven’t done what you said you would. Another great option to help you be accountable is to join a mastermind, they are a bit harder to find depending on where you live but they’re also worth their weight in gold.
Does anyone have any other helpful tips or tools for how to stay motivated as a freelancer or small business owner?
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