Motivation is elusive. Some days we’re pounding the keyboard, brainstorming ideas, and jabbering on the phone well past dinner; others, we look at the clock only to discover that lunch is still two hours and four minutes away. Especially during the holiday season, it’s hard to stay motivated.
We asked around 75 entrepreneurs how they get their motivation back. Here are some of the most popular techniques.
1. Take a Break
Taking a break is an obvious fix, but effective. It clears your mind and can even increase your creativity: exposing yourself to new ideas can help you be more creative in your own field. And, of course, some people claim to have their best ideas in the shower, or when they’re not actively thinking about work.
In fact, productivity and time management revolves around breaks, which punctuate 25-minute intervals of focused work. The idea is that your thinking is elevated by short rests. Working nonstop, however, can bog down the brain.
One common way to spend that break is exercising. “I go for a run, but everybody has their own tricks, says BJ Fleming, a content specialist.
2. Think about Your Customers
One big difference between online businesses and brick-and-mortar stores is the customer interaction, and it affects motivation. While small business owners might see smiles and happy faces all day, entrepreneurs are (more often than not) staring at their computer screens.
But customers and users are so critical to a startup – they are the ones who benefit from what you create, and they keep you in business. So, many entrepreneurs turn their thoughts to their customers to get back their motivation. “When I lack motivation, I go straight to my store locator on my website! I remind myself of how many great companies believe in us and it fuels me to move forward and continue to grow the business!” says Christy Cook.
If you want something more tangible, take a look at customer reviews and feedback – or create a short survey to gather some.
3. Think about Your Team
If you forget why you’re doing this, your cofounders and employees might help remind you. Like your customers, they’re also benefitting from your work: they get exciting jobs and the chance to create something new.
As Julia Hartz says, seeing the enthusiasm of your team can give you a boost. “It’s hard to lose motivation when I go into the office every day and see 200 Britelings. I spend a lot of time focused on supporting our Eventbrite culture, and that serves as a constant source of motivation for me.”
Remember, these are people who have chosen to follow you and your dreams – and if you don’t stay motivated and give it your all, you will be letting them down.
4. Get Social
Talking to other entrepreneurs can be reassuring when you’re feeling down. In particular, it helps you realize that the ups and downs of startup life are perfectly normal. “I typically grab a meal or cup of coffee with other entrepreneurs,” says Jacqueline Jensen. “It’s refreshing to hear I’m not alone in the mountain-and-valley terrain entrepreneurs tackle each day. After some time with the community, I usually discover I’m ready to dive back in”. This is one good reason to mentor young entrepreneurs – their bright attitude is infectious and untempered by the harsh realities of failure. “Intense passion is contagious – unfortunately it gets diminished as you get older.
5. Get organized
If motivation is the drive to accomplish something, obviously we can’t feel motivated to do things we think are impossible. So when work starts to feel impossible, you can lose your motivation. To get it back, get organized and convince yourself that you can do
6. Do something new
A lack of motivation can also come from a feeling of boredom, and shaking up your routine may be just the ticket
7. Take responsibility
Many people are drawn to entrepreneurship because of the independence. When motivation wanes, remembering that everything is on your shoulders – your actions will determine the success or failure of your startup – can be a motivator. Deadlines and penalities can motivate, after all, even though they are negative incentives..
To light the fire even quicker, take a look at a few of your metrics. “The typical motivation is looking at your fixed cost compared to revenue coming in. That’s the quickest slap in the face for motivation,” says Joel Gross.
8. Count your blessings.
70 percent of people spent their days bored, unchallenged, uninspired, watching the clock until 5 pm strikes. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re probably not in that category – so consider yourself lucky.
9. Rediscover your inspiration
This is really the root. To get motivated, you need to remember why you were ever motivated in the first place: why you’re doing what you’re doing. Maybe you want to change the world, maybe add a little fun- whatever.
10. Suck it up
If all else fails, a few entrepreneurs said, just suck it up. That basically means: tell yourself that being unmotivated isn’t an option. You chose this career, you choose this startup, and you’re the only one who can keep it going.