How to Stay Productive Even When You’re Not Motivated
If you would describe yourself as entrepreneurial, driven, or determined, then you most likely have a few – scratch that – A LOT of goals that you want to accomplish in your life. You have financial goals, business goals, personal goals, fitness goals and more to crush, and you are ready to work hard to achieve them. You have a vision for your brand, concepts for different products/services in creation, and the desire to grow your business big time.
You put time, energy, hard work, and hustle into building your business, but why is it that sometimes, no matter how hard you work, you still can’t seem to be productive?
It happens to all of us. There are days when my desk is organized and I sit down with my coffee (brewed to perfection and poured into a mug with a motivational saying on it) and my planner besides me, ready to tackle my to-do lists. There are also other days … days when my desk is covered in paperwork. Days when I accidentally spill my coffee and end up running late to appointments because in all of the chaos I misplaced my keys … and realize later that they were in my pocket the whole time.
Even if we start our days knowing what we want to accomplish, we can still get distracted, caught up in other priorities, and/or stuck staring at the computer screen despite our best efforts to be productive.
It’s frustrating to feel exhausted from a hard day’s work yet no closer to accomplishing your goals.
Here’s what I’ve realized.
No matter how ambitious you are, you are not going to be 100% motivated all of the time.
Sometimes you will have razor-sharp focus and will be able to cross everything off of your to-do list for the day. Other times, your focus might be elsewhere, and you might not be able to even look at your computer let alone answer emails.
How can we stay productive even when we don’t feel motivated, work smarter not harder, and accomplish our goals?
I call it momentum. When I have the energy, excitement and focus to work on something specific for my business, I run with it. I take that energy as far as I can. I notice I am the most productive when I listen to myself, figure out what I am most excited to start working on, and allow myself to focus on that.
As an entrepreneur, you have to learn to be self-reflective about your strengths and weaknesses, especially when it comes to your work habits. In order to be highly productive, we have to embrace the ways that we work best and leverage them efficiently.
When you allow yourself to focus your efforts on the tasks that you have the most energy for, you will be more productive with your time, in business and outside of work. Think about it this way: say you want to fit in a run today. You wake up looking forward to your workout, especially when you see that it is sunny outside. In one scenario, you push off your workout until later, deciding to take care of your other work first. Before you know it, it’s the end of the day, the sun is going down, you’re exhausted, and the last thing you feel like doing is running. You feel bad because the one task you set out to accomplish today didn’t happen. In another scenario, when you wake up, you embrace your excitement around your workout. You start your day off with a run, and because you actually want to be running, you run faster and cover more ground. When you return to work, you are able to tackle your to-do list with clear focus and efficiency because getting your run out of the way made you feel confident and accomplished.
Whether you are the most productive in the morning, at night, or in your pajamas, remember, your work style is unique to you. There are no “rules” you have to follow when it comes to being productive. Blog on Mondays, Take Photos on Tuesdays and Wear Pink on Wednesdays if that works for you, but if it doesn’t, don’t feel bad about it. Don’t spend time and effort organizing your to-dos into a work schedule that you will never actually use. Spend that time growing your business. Get in tune with your work style and manage yourself and the tasks you need to accomplish accordingly.
Find your workflow and take advantage of the times you have momentum. If you always get stuck when writing blog posts, don’t waste time trying to write them when you feel uninspired. Instead, start writing blog posts when you feel especially motivated. Whether it’s a coffee date with your business bestie or a new podcast episode that got your wheels spinning, pick up your laptop and write. Don’t wait until later because your energy will wear off. Need to do your business finances but don’t enjoy doing them? Give yourself time to knock one or two tasks off of your list that you are looking forward to, even if they aren’t work related, and then start to tackle your finances once you are in the groove and feeling productive.
Your best blog posts, products, emails, pitches, and business wins won’t necessarily happen when you are sitting in that coffee shop or working in your office space. They are going happen when you feel excited about what you are working on. Figure out when, where, why, and how you do your best work and use that momentum to your advantage. When you feel 100% about what you are doing, you are going to be able to put 100% effort in, and you will see the productivity magic of channeling your passions into action.
When are you most productive?