Re-opening your business after a holiday (or vacation break) can be exciting until you realize you’re motivation may have waned a bit. All too quickly a supplier calls to follow up on an email they sent a minute and a half ago, you lose the keys to the file cabinet, or your technology systems come crashing down. Hey, it happens to the best of us.
Staying motivated in business is tough. So, here are three ways to overcome post-break-vacation-holiday workplace frustration:
Realize that time is a limited resource.
Too many small business owners fall into the trap of thinking: “If I just sit here for another hour I’ll get so much more done.” In reality, that’s not always the case. Time management experts across the board say that taking an honest assessment of how you spend your time can increase productivity without increasing the number of working hours.
This may mean you shouldn’t answer email the first second you get out of bed, but instead take time to fully wake up and get ready for the day. Taking this approach allows you to gather your thoughts, create a daily game plan, and starts the day with focus instead of frenzy. Realistically, you don’t need to know what emails came in overnight before coffee. In fact, having coffee first could mean you’ll make better decisions when you do read them.
Taking a time audit can also be a motivational tool because you’re allowing yourself to begin the day as a day, instead of being overwhelmed from the moment you get out of bed. So, consider how you spend your time throughout the day. Who do you associate with? If you’re on the phone (or in the office) talking to toxic people who suck up all of your time, for very little value, stop doing that!
It has been said: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” (Jim Rohn) So, what good is it for you to become like a person who demands everything and offers nothing in return? Entrepreneurs who realize they don’t have endless amounts of time to spend at the office water cooler, or in meetings, begin to prioritize what is important. Over time, this means you’ll get more done, spend less time looking busy and have more time to spend with family and friends.
Practice mental compartmentalization.
If you work in a high stress environment you’ve likely learned how to compartmentalize. This means cultivating the mental ability to put things away instead of letting them bleed over. In business, it is easy to get caught in endless thought loops about answering emails, managing social media, what we should have said in a meeting, and on and on. Learning to compartmentalize will help you eliminate that little voice and focus on the task at hand.
Accomplish the task at hand by setting up systems. Systems add another layer to time management and also help us avoid getting bogged down. Using online apps like “If This Then That” can help you set up little recipes for common activities, which will train you to compartmentalize over time. Each task has its own space and you aren’t on the treadmill of distraction. Online productivity apps can help you take complete thoughts and activities from beginning to end. Motivating, right?
Focus on what you do best.
Think about all of the things you do in a day. How many of them really have anything to do with why you started a business in the first place? Probably not many.
If you find your personal motivation slipping, consider that it might be directly related to the portion of your day spent on stuff you hate to do. How many networking breakfasts, cocktails, lunches, and meetups are you attending? How many meetings are you sitting in without any real defined purpose?
Handle your business, or it will handle you. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. If you read entrepreneurship websites these days, you should be tweeting, and eating your way to networking success. But, consider this – how fruitful are these activities if you haven’t spent as much time on your product or service?
Consider big industry events; the most successful people are often missing from those events. Why? They’re at work. They are focusing on what they do best, not how big they can make their collection of business cards. Chances are, you’ll be a happier person if you sleep in, skip the breakfast, and sit down to work ready to take on the day. Saying no just became a pro-growth strategic business decision. Feel better? Your paying customers probably will too.
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