This post was originally published by Chelsei Henderson on the Freshbooks Blog on November 3, 2015.
The work day is often full of very high highs and very low lows. If you’re anything like me, your motivation level is directly correlated to the energy you have.
If you want to build a successful business, you’ve got to learn how to hack motivation.
Otherwise, you’ll constantly struggle with getting things accomplished, remaining consistent and inspiring your team or others around you. And that’s no way to spend your day. In fact, if you wanted to waste away your time feeling depressed and miserable, you would have probably chosen a more traditional career path.
But instead, you’re working on your own. You’ve got the opportunity to make your career as awesome as you want. Don’t miss out on that because of a lack of motivation.
These clever methods can instantly bring you back from wherever you’re zoning out, giving you that extra boost you need to reach your goals. You’ll be better off and more productive, which will ultimately lead to greater success.
- Start Your Day With Visualization
Begin your day with a bit of visualization.
What I love about visualization is that you can do it for your big-picture goals, as well as your mundane, day-to-day tasks. It’s quite a powerful motivator that gives you a boost first thing in the morning.
Get centered for the day ahead by imagining yourself being productive on everything you need to accomplish. Matt Mayberry from Entrepreneur said picturing yourself succeeding can pay off in all sorts of ways, even if it’s seeing yourself staying focused and on your game.
For a step-by-step visualization guide visit Jack Canfield.
- Get Pumped With Inspiring Music
Music can get you mentally pumped to do your best or mellow you out and smooth the rough edges. And it’s a great way to block out distracting background noise or chatter.
I’ve found that a good playlist can make dull, repetitive tasks more bearable and help establish rhythms for the day.
Aaron Lynn from Asian Efficiency suggests getting your pulse going with movie soundtracks – these can trigger good memories of a favorite film, or get you excited to do something larger than life, much like a big-screen hero.
Video game music or streaming music services where you can adjust the tempo or style during the day can also be helpful.
- Go On a Walk to Clear Your Head
Get the blood flowing by taking a stroll.
It doesn’t matter how long it is. You could go for several blocks, or even just to the other side of the building. The simple act of walking gives you the chance to stretch your legs, releases some endorphins and stimulates your brain so that you can regain alertness.
You can even find a study to back this up. And it can bring some additional benefits as well – those who take regular 30 minutes lunchtime walks reported better health and better moods than those who didn’t do this regularly, according to the study.
- Take Breaks on a Regular Basis
Stepping away from a rough project can help you find clarity, regain motivation and even find some inspiration. And – perhaps most importantly – it’s a way to break up the monotony.
You don’t have to take breaks for hours at a time. In fact, they don’t even need to last 30 minutes.
Sometimes, even a 5 minutes breather is enough to help you get back into the flow of things. Try a tactic like the Pomodoro Technique if you’re looking for a more structured way to break your day into shorter intervals.
- Lie Down for a Quick Power Nap
I don’t know why we hated naps so much in kindergarten. These days, I love the idea of laying down for a few minutes in the middle of the day.
And it seems like I’m not alone in that mindset.
Workplace studies have found that a nap as short as 15 or 20 minutes can have surprising benefits for mental and physical focus, including boosting memory and lowering blood pressure. Some (awesome) companies even provide nap rooms for employees who want to catch a few zzzs and wake up rejuvenated.
Prevention said naps can reduce cortisol, that pesky stress hormone trying to ruin your day. And it also zaps some effects of insomnia or poor nighttime sleeping habits. Keep in mind, though, a siesta lasting more than 30 minutes could actually reverse some of these benefits.
- Cut Back on the Caffeine
Coffee, soda or energy drinks cause a spike in alertness, and many rely on them to stay motivated and energized throughout the day.
Unfortunately, the high is always followed by an bigger low.
Consider switching to something with less caffeine like tea. And if you’ve just got to have your coffee or soda, make the switch to caffeine-free versions.
- Do a Quick Workout Routine
Did you know that there are a variety of stretches and low-impact exercises that you can do right at your desk? These brief routines can get your blood pumping, while helping you burn a few calories in the process.
And if you’re not for any elaborate routines, simply drop to the floor and do a few pushups.
- Don’t Put Too Many Things on Your To-Do List
Have you ever looked at your long to-do list and felt instantly unmotivated?
I know I have. In fact, it’s left me paralyzed in unmotivation for days at a time. The sheer volume of things on my to-do list overwhelmed my mind to the point that I couldn’t accomplish any of it.
And that creates a vicious cycle. You get further behind, which leads to more tasks, which creates a larger to-do list, which creates even more overwhelm.
Instead, try consolidating your list to only the most important items.
These days, I start my day out with only 3 things on my to-do list. They’re often larger projects that will take me at least 1-2 hours to complete. Once I cross off those priority items, I reevaluate my day and take on a few medium-priority tasks.