Motivation is a state of mind, it’s not a personality trait. We hear that ‘so and so is a very motivated individual’. But the fact is that we can all choose to be motivated, we can choose to be unmotivated, and we can work our way to being SUPER motivated with the help of a few simple rules.
This is how I stay motivated and keep things moving. It’s a bit like starting to ride a bike. You can stay in perpetual motion as long as you dont go throwing sticks at the wheels. Yes, getting started can be a bit scary, and wobbly. But once you have succeeded in turning that wheel and propelling yourself forwards a little way your motivation will grow, and you will want to keep moving forwards.
So here are my top six tips to being (and staying) motivated. Yes top five sounds better, but I came up with six tips, so what’s a girl to do?
- Create organisation to protect your motivation– I have different working habits for different types of work. When I’m being creative I exist in my own little creative bubble, completely oblivious to the mess I create along the way. It’s only when I take a break that I realise the extent of my own chaos. However, when I have my business hat on, I’m more organised. I have to be organised so that I can see the goal I’m aiming for. If I cannot see a clear path, I’m likely to give up at the first hurdle. So before I start a task, I will know where I’m going with it. If I’m writing a blog post, I know what I want to say. If I’m planning a workshop I have all my research materials at the ready. This way I don’t have to interrupt my own thoughts with a quick dash to find an important fact on a post-it note, scribbled underneath last week’s shopping list. The post-it note will have been recycled, the information lost and the train of thought permanently derailed. I keep my notes together in my notebook, my sketches in my sketch book and my thoughts clear of unnecessary, annoying faff. I protect my motivation by keeping my working experiences as positive as I can. I won’t start until I have a coffee made and a plan at hand. Yes, making coffee half way through a task is also faff and can easily knock me off track.
- Keep focused to keep keepin’ on-When you have a million-billion things to do it’s easier to do nothing than it is to get started. Procrastination will set in like fungi, but it’s really no fun at all. As time goes by a task not done becomes another dent in your motivational armour. Keep your focus on what you need to do to get you where you want to be. Do not deviate until you are satisfied you have achieved at least a few steps in the right direction. And if you cannot complete a task in one sitting, plan your next step before you finish for the day. That way you will not waste time next time, trying to figure out where you got to and what it was you were going to do next.
- Minutia chips away at your mojo – so don’t get hung up on the small problems, see the bigger, brighter picture and smile!– Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but perfectionism can just get in your way. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back so you cannot see the so called imperfections and let others see with their own eyes. We all see and experience things differently, and I promise you, 99.9% of the time other’s will not see the minutia that threatened to stop you from finishing, publishing, posting, or listing your work. Be brave enough to learn as you go along, be bold enough to be yourself and prepare to be proud when your work pays off. Give your motivational mojo some wiggle room and put your perfectionism aside.
- One thing at a time babe! You’re overcrowding your thoughts.- Yeah, so back to the million-billion tasks. You can’t do them all at once, so you really need to prioritise and organise. If you need to set up a Facebook page for your business and an Etsy shop, and you need to build a website, and take loads of pictures, and write the most amazing bit of content ever, and still keep on top of creating the products you want to sell… Well, all those thoughts of ‘gotta gotta but not got time’ that’s some serious motivation-killer right there. Breathe, take a step back and find a path through, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. Yes, it is a lot of work getting started but it is totally achievable if you go easy on yourself.
- Don’t scold yourself if something doesn’t work – Pat yourself on the back for being brave enough to try it.– Not everything you try will work and that is a FACT. You will probably be surprised along the way as to what works and what doesn’t. We are in the business of working with free-thinking vessels (aka customers) and you cannot predict every move they will make. So instead of expecting everything to be a huge success, be prepared to test your ideas and see how it goes. Let your motivation to succeed drive your inventiveness and test how to reach your audience.
- Too much info can grind you to a halt.I love Google, I truly do. But our dear friend Mr G. can be a little misleading sometimes. There is so much information available that it is easy to find contradictions. And it is far too easy to become so overwhelmed that you drive yourself in to a state of confusion. Confusion can lead to procrastination or even a full on project melt down. It’s better to find one or two voices that you trust and listen to them, than it is to drive yourself in to a Google-spin.For example, I do not book holidays – Why? Because I fall in to a Google-spin every time I try. This site offers a cheaper flight, but has a higher service charge, this flight is more expensive but I get a higher baggage allowance etc etc …urgh etc. Nope, I cannot filter through it all and come out the other end with a decision. So my darling husband takes care of that one. However when it comes to matters of creating content and building the Handmade in Norway community, I have found a few mentors and I’m sticking with them. I get a good dose of inspiration, some super marketing tips and I make my choices armed with just that. I do not need to find other alternatives or other opinions, because at the end of the day, when it comes to what I do for Handmade in Norway, the only opinions that matter are the opinions of the community members and myself. Other options, alternatives, suggestions or opinions outside of this will only dilute my message and decrease the value I am trying to build for the community. I need clarity to create, and maintain my motivation.
As an extra note:
I have to add that motivation can be a fickle creature. It will disappear… Poof, it’s gone. A few days off, a sick child to look after, a holiday, all these things are likely to shift your focus from your business, and so they should. A sick child needs long cuddles and lots of care, and a holiday should be a welcome distraction from your work. So don’t panic when your motivation takes it’s own little sabbatical. Once you start turning those wheels it will come back to you and help to keep you moving forwards.