Sometimes working from home with no one looking over your shoulder makes it difficult to stay focused and motivated. Why bother getting that boring task done today when tomorrow will do just fine? Who is going to know that you put off your research into that passive revenue plan for the 18th time? That would be you, the one and only person on your corporate org chart.
That’s why today’s Momentum Monday is dedicated to all the solopreneurs and freelancers who are working from a cozy corner of the couch or in the local coffee shop and trying frantically to get more done!
#1: Get Started Right Away — Just as productivity begets more productivity, goofing off begets more goofing off. Avoid the temptation to coast through the day by getting an early start on getting things done. If you do find yourself starting the day off track, get back on immediately before your lack of productivity turns into a welcome excuse to pack it in early.
#2: Set Achievable Goals — Nothing stops you in your tracks faster than looming goals that are impossible to achieve. Even if you have a task list that is a mile long, start by carving off achievable chunks instead of trying to get the entire list done all at once.
#3: Keep on Moving — Sometimes productivity isn’t linear (and that’s okay). If you find yourself stalled on one task, don’t let that stuckness derail your day — move onto another task on your list until you get back in your groove and then go back to the to-do that you were stuck on.
#4: Deter Distractions — It probably seems that everywhere you turn, there is a welcome distraction waiting to pull you in. Know which distractions you can’t resist and actively avoid them before you even give them a chance to take you off task. That may mean logging out of social media, shutting down email and turning your phone to silent.
#5: Make Unbreakable Promises — Often we are our own worst enemies by letting ourselves off the hook too easily. Get in the habit of treating the commitments you make to do something as iron-clad, unbreakable, unless-the-world-is-about-to-end-and-maybe-even-then-it’s-not-a-valid-excuse.
#6: Eat the Damn Frog Already — Dreaded tasks drain our mental energy. Just remember to always “Eat the frog first” whenever you find yourself becoming preoccupied with a task you don’t want to do.
#7: Clear the Clutter — Did you know that our mess talks to us? It says things like, “Look at me — don’t I bug you?” or “Hey you — isn’t it time you did something about me?” Keep your workspace (and especially your creative space) as clutter-free as possible. If you aren’t a clear-off-your-desk-once-a-day type, then set a time at the end of the week to do it.
#8: Build in Accountability — Sometimes we aren’t enough motivation despite our best intentions. Set up some sort of accountability system — whether it’s to a group, a business or life coach or your better half.
#9: Learn to Recognize Avoidance — Every solopreneur has avoidance habits that signal when they have a case of the “I don’t wanna’s”. Learn what your particular avoidance habits are so you can catch yourself before you waste too much time.
#10: Master Your Tools — Chances are you only use a fraction of the capabilities of any number of the technology tools at your disposal. Invest in learning the shortcuts and tricks that will cut down the amount of time it takes you to use them.
#11: Shift from To-Do’s to Must-Do’s — Notice the subtle difference between the wording — to-do implies eventually it will get done; whereas, must-do has a sense of urgency. Give yourself 2 to 3 daily must-do tasks and get them done NO MATTER WHAT!
#12: Stick to a Routine — Humans are creatures of habit and even when feeling unmotivated and uninspired, we somehow manage to plod through what we are used to doing as though on autopilot. Get in the habit of a daily or weekly routine to help you through those times when you feel less motivated or inspired.
#13: Manage Your Energy — Ever notice how sometimes you feel unstoppable while other times you feel like you can’t even get started? It all has to do with your energy. Pay attention to your personal energy cycle and schedule your work blocks around when you have the most energy and save your low-energy times for self-care or your daily downtime.
#14: Feed Your Creativity — This isn’t a metaphor. You actually need to feed your creativity. As in food. At regular intervals. If you tend to skip meals or forget to take breaks for silly things like lunch, pre-make your workday meals and snacks so all you have to do is grab something and go!
#15: Think Beyond the Fires — Often we get into deadline and fire-fighting mode, only focusing on the tasks that demand our attention instead of the ones that we should be thinking about. Designate time every week to think about what will move you beyond today and set your business up for the future.