If our motivation levels didn’t rise and dive all over the place, we could get so much done all the time. Wouldn’t that be great? Unfortunately, losing motivation is a frequent challenge all creators and entrepreneurs face from time to time. But I have good news: there are a few simple things you can do at any time to increase motivation levels and fire up your passion and creativity!
I love being a creative, and I love the things I do when bursts of inspiration hit. But part of pursuing a creative career is not relying on only those bursts to get things done. You gotta know how to spark a fire in your brain even when you don’t feel like it. So, are you ready to get motivated again?
Take Care of Your Body and Mind
I know I’m not the only one who sits down to work but just can’t make myself start because I haven’t slept or eaten enough. Reaching for a snack or another cup of coffee sometimes helps. But that doesn’t always address the underlying problem.
If you’re too tired to think straight or feel inspired, give yourself a break with a mental health day. Take a nap or plan to go to bed early. Make sure you’re eating wholesome, healthy foods and drinking enough water.
- 3 Common Mental Health Challenges in the Workplace
- 5 Easy Ideas to Boost Your Mental Wellness
- 10 Ways to Improve Your Self-Care Routine
Sometimes, a buildup of negative brain chatter makes it hard to stay motivated. Stress, worry, doubts, imposter syndrome… These things can take up headspace better occupied by passion, inspiration, curiosity, and innovation.
Find an activity that helps you clear the muck from your brainspace. Throw your worries into a journal, or talk them through with a friend or therapist. Go on a walk in nature or just stand outside for a few minutes and do some breathing exercises.
Identify and Align With Your Values
Knowing what we value most in our work and relationships makes it easier to recognize challenges and opportunities, and what sort of responses will lead toward satisfaction and happiness. If you don’t know your values, it can be hard to tell where you’re out of alignment.
Several years ago, I worked a job that should have made me happy. Sure, the pay was far below industry standard and there was no way to advance to a higher position. But I had extremely flexible hours, a casual dress code, half-day Fridays, a healthy work-life balance, pleasant coworkers, and no one tried to micromanage my work. But I was often bored at work and felt like it made little difference what I did and how I did it.
I ended up finding a therapist who specialized in career counseling that I could walk to from my office after work. One of the first things we did was an exercise using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) values.
There are several places online that offer convenient ways to do this exercise on your own. These are just a few I found:
- A full list of values for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – Contains a downloadable PDF of 58 values with worksheet
- Meeting Point Counseling – Allows you to click and drag 40 value cards into columns
- Guilford Press – A printable document that allows you to cut out individual value cards and category labels
Once I completed the exercise with my therapist and found my top 5 career values, I understood why my job made me unhappy. Even better, I had an idea of what to look for in a different job elsewhere. That alone did so much to increase my motivation, I ended up applying to new jobs immediately. Within a month or two, I found a better-paying job with more challenging and rewarding work.
So, if your entrepreneurial activities are negatively affecting your motivation, self-esteem, decision-making abilities, and your overall mood, I recommend trying this exercise. Post your top 5 somewhere you’ll see them every day to remind yourself what your purpose is.
Use Milestones and Smaller Goals to Track Victories
When you’re an entrepreneur, you probably have big-picture goals in mind for your business. But when you focus only on the big picture, it’s hard to see what progress you’re actually making. And if you can’t see your progress, you might wonder, “What’s the point?”
Choose some short-term milestones that bring you closer to those big goals. Set realistic, achievable deadlines.
Aside from helping increase motivation and fight procrastination, milestones are a practical way to ensure you’re on the right path. If your short-term goals don’t help you progress to your bigger goals, it’s time to make a new plan and try a different direction. Better to find that out before you hit burnout.
Milestones for 3 Common Business Goals
If one of the big goals for your business is to increase profits, you can use these milestones to help achieve that goal:
- Reduce overhead costs
- Develop a new product or service to sell
- Increase prices of current product or service offerings
- Increase traffic to your website (more traffic=more people making it through your sales funnel)
If one of your goals involves social media growth, try these:
- Branch onto a new social media channel
- Host a giveaway or live event on social media
- Improve your customer service by responding to comments and DMs
- Increase the frequency of social media posts
A lot of entrepreneurs make professional development one of their big goals since becoming a better professional makes your business better. So you might want to:
- Get a professional certification in your industry
- Attend a networking event and connect with other professionals
- Take a class or training program to sharpen relevant skills
- Improve your productivity levels
Physically Reset for a Fresh Start
Some days, the only thing that can get me working again is when I find a way to wipe the slate clean. Sometimes that means literally cleaning my office or my desk. Even something as small as sanitizing my phone can increase motivation for the next task. Other times, I take a break from working to take a shower.
These are generally good habits that are easy to work into daily, weekly, or monthly routines. Doing them on a consistent schedule can help train your brain to reset and start fresh. Also, you can try them out whenever you feel like you’re hitting a mental wall.
- Declutter, clean, and organize your workspace
- Clean your email inbox to zero unread messages
- Try working in a new location (if you can’t move all your work, consider doing one or two tasks somewhere new, like creating your to-do list or planning your week)
- Rearrange your furniture or decorations
- Change the wallpapers on your phone and computer
- Add something new to your workspace to engage your senses, like a candle, an inspiring piece of art, a throw rug, or a different genre of music
- Clear out old virtual notes on your phone
Final Thoughts on How to Increase Motivation and Spark Creativity
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember you can’t force creativity. If you aren’t motivated and inspired every day, it doesn’t mean you’re failing. It’s 100% normal. When you’re struggling to stay motivated, cut yourself some slack. Take a break, do something you enjoy, and look forward to trying again tomorrow.
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