It’s was working well, some more clients, your team was getting to grips with stuff, your firm’s results were improving, but you feel a little deflated? It’s like having a puncture, motivation runs flat and it’s hard to ride on a flat tyre. You can manage the normal day to day, but not the stuff that will take your firm to where you want. Here’s 4 ideas to help you feel get on with developing the business again.
Pump up your motivation
The simplest way to get your motivation back is do something you want to do. The problem is that when you’re low on the energy and willpower you need to get started, the small amount of motivation you have left only seems capable of business as usual, Facebook, favourite food or fiddling about, which makes you feel worse!
Which do you suffer with?
- Putting up with things: The more things you are putting up with rather than enjoying, the more motivation drains away. Minimising this list will allow you to hold onto more motivation. What can you simply deal with, or dump?
- What have I half finished? My PC slows down when I have more and more windows open, there’s an equivalent for my brain too. Half complete jobs either mean you’ve had no “reward” for the work you’ve put in so far or you’re thinking about what you still have to do – both reduce motivation. What can you clear off the list, even if only put off for a few months?
- Procrastination prevents progress: What are you procrastinating over? What on the list can you take a micro step forward on now, just a small step in the right direction? What could you simply knock off the list (dump it, do it or delegate)?
- Social Rejection: This is something the owners of small firms have to face sometimes; asking for new business, meeting new people, networking meetings, clients not sending in things on time, clients not paying on time…shall I go on? These “rejections” can be like little small holes in your motivation, the infamous slow puncture. “Why play by the rules if no one cares” or “I’ll do the follow up tomorrow, she won’t be available today“; lead to even less willpower. The tasks you then focus on (if any) are the safe, comfortable, traditional ones (i.e. no new developments occur).
- Not eating properly: You already know eating properly makes you more energetic, but it helps your motivation too. A study (“Extraneous factors in judicial decisions”) of judges in the US showed that less glucose in the system lead to being less likely to make an active choice of granting parole. When feeling depleted we are more likely to make passive choices (no risks, same old same old) or procrastinate (at least it’s not just me). Regular, small, food is something personal trainers and dieticians advise; how could you change your eating habits? If you’re always making more passive decisions at the same time of day, look at your food or hydration habits.
- Decision fatigue: Ever had one of those days where you are constantly making decisions (let alone ones that others should be making)? Most people find it draining; they don’t have to be big decisions, too many small ones drain motivation too. In a three hour car drive the other day my navigator kept asking me to make the decisions (and he had the map), annoying (of course), but over doing decisions is another motivational slow puncture. If you’re making too many decisions in one day, change your “to do” list into a “to decide” list and choose to only make so many in a day.
3 steps to recharge your mojo
You know it will feel better when you start, but the urge to not do anything mentally active is huge. It would be easy to get a series of dopamine hits from Facebook, or any small tasks that don’t really need doing – but they don’t improve motivation.
Getting back your motivation is about dealing with the cause and conning yourself into making the first step.
- What is the cause? Find small things you can do about the cause, remove yourself from the situation, or think of another way you can gird your loins and do one step. If it’s some people you keep putting off, can somebody else do it, or can you reframe the reason for the call? Maybe just give yourself a day at home, without distractions!
- Think about your why. Why do you do what you do? What excites you about it? You’re not running your firm because you wanted to own your own firm, what’s the big reason (for me it involved fun, laughter, doing good and being a parent my son would look up to).
- Take a small step. What one small step could you take that would move you along, even if you only did it for 5 minutes? Do it and then take another micro step the next day.
Action in the right direction builds motivation, so take some, even if only a tiny bit.