We all have those days where however much we love our work, finding the motivation to plough through the to do list is a struggle. A dip in motivation can present in lots of ways. Maybe you find yourself flitting from one task to another without finishing anything, or you get lost scrolling through social media when there are other more urgent matters you need to attend to.
Left unaddressed, this kind of behaviour could have a serious impact on your small business. But thankfully there are some easy steps you can take to help you kick start your motivation and focus.
Remember why you started
It’s easy to get lost in the day to day, but reminding yourself what made you start your small business in the first place and what you love about it can offer a real motivational boost.
We highly recommend keeping a folder or file of all of the positive feedback you receive for those days where you need a bit of a reminder of how far you have come and the difference you make to people’s lives.
Work out when you are most productive
If you are working for yourself, enjoy the potential to be able to set your own schedule. Maybe you are an early riser who is primed and ready to go first thing, or you could be a night owl who only really comes into their own later in the day. Take the time to notice when you get the most work done and the points where your focus wanders, and then use this knowledge to shape your week, clearly paying attention to the needs of your customers too. Just make sure that you work breaks into your schedule to avoid burnout.
Start the day right
Look ahead to what needs to be completed tomorrow at the end of each day. That way when you arrive at your workspace you can begin right away rather than risk distraction at the first hurdle.
There are many techniques out there to help you work out how to order your to do list, and the secret is finding the one that suits you best.
One approach which we have found handy is the Eisenhower Matrix.
In simple terms the Eisenhower Matrix helps you identify the items that are urgent and need to be done, alongside those less urgent items and those which don’t necessarily need to be completed.
As the blog explains: “The important thing here is that you … deal with Don’t want to do and Need to do tasks before moving on to the Need to do and Want to do items. Once the nasty stuff is out of the way, all that remains is the fun stuff.
SBG’s Liz Smith added: Equally this technique can help you to identify tasks on your list that fall outside your skillset and would be best outsourced.
For example, we often work with small businesses who know they need a website, but they don’t know where to begin. By outsourcing this task to SBG, it frees up their time to focus on the areas of the business where they excel and it very often renews their motivation to move the business forward.
Plan and set goals with achievable steps
Having a set of achievable longer-term goals to work towards, alongside the day to day can be truly motivational. Without this, making time to grow your business can feel beyond reach. If you need help and support to look to the future and plan the steps you need to take to get there, SBG’s Planning for Success Sessions can help.
Go for a walk
Never underestimate the power of fresh air to lift your mood and help restore your focus. Whether it’s taking a break to exercise the dog, a quick jog to the post box or a longer walk where you can really pace it out, taking a break in the fresh air can help you return to work with renewed vigour.
In this interesting article from the BBC, exploring eight reasons why we should walk more, neuroscientist Prof Shane O’Mara explains: When you’re thinking something through, getting up and walking around is actually a much better way for a lot of problems than sitting down feeling very frustrated.
Find yourself a friend or fellow sole worker, each pick a piece of work you need to complete, set a timescale and then agree to check in on each other at the end of this period. It’s best to start with a small time scale maybe half an hour or an hour and see how this approach suits you both.
SBG’s Liz added: This technique can be a real game changer if you work best to a firm deadline and it’s something we used in the SBG team during the first Lockdown. Strangely knowing that there is an additional expectation on you to complete your task even though your buddy may have no interest or interaction with what it is you are completing can have a really positive effect in terms of motivation and focus.
Build a network
Small business networking sessions can be really uplifting if you miss the motivational boost working as part of a larger team can bring.
SBG holds monthly sessions in both Colchester and Great Bentley. They are really informal and give small business owners the chance to share collective knowledge and experience with the group.
Liz added: “I always feel really inspired when I meet other small business owners. Even if we don’t work in the same sector, we may still have shared experiences or challenges and talking these through as part of a friendly group is so helpful and motivating.”
Do you need help or support to take your small business to the next level? Get in touch today.