Growing a business on the side is a choice. And, that makes it even harder to get motivated and stay focused …
It’s 5:30 AM. The alarm went off 30-minutes ago and I’m on my second cup of coffee. I’ve got my laptop open and two hours available to work on growing my business.
and, streaming the most recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy is all I really WANT to do!
You have some quiet time and you have no idea how to get motivated and stay focused to work on your business goals.
Getting started … taking that first step is always the most difficult.
If you are serious about growing your business and you truly want to be a successful solopreneur … the ability to get motivated and stay focused is your most valuable asset.
It’s a difficult mindset to adopt – I completely understand. I have a full-time virtual assisting business and I am trying to grow this blog to position myself as a consultant.
Virtual assisting is what pays the bills but, consulting is really my passion. The trouble is, when my alarm goes off at 5 am, I’m not passionate about anything!
Getting motivated and pushing myself out of bed to work on my blog before my work day is a struggle!
But, I think back to when I was growing my virtual assisting business and remember that I can do this. It’s completely worth the struggle.
While I’m ready to move on from virtual assisting and try something else, I’ve never looked back and thought, “Wow. I wish I hadn’t put in all of those hours to grow this business.”
Here are some tips for getting started when you want to do anything else;
Mel Robbins is one of my favorite motivational speakers because she actually gives you steps that you can use to trick your brain into actually taking action. My favorite steps she talks about is “the 5-second rule”.
Schedule 10 minutes
This is the best advice that I can give you about how to get motivated and stay focused. I’m guessing your day begins around 6 am. When you start thinking about the list of things that you have to get done that day and how you won’t be crawling into bed until around 11 pm (or later), it can all be very overwhelming.
And, planning a task like “write a guest post pitch”, can seem like too much to fit into that day. But, planning a task like, “write the first paragraph of a guest post pitch” is completely doable and much easier to think about.
Set a timer
Knuckling down to work on a social media strategy can feel a lot like a timeout. So, set the timer and commit to only doing that much. In fact, if you want to stay focused on your work, it’s best to schedule 20 to 30-minute increments.
And, it’s easier to commit to doing something if you know you’ll only have to do it for a fixed amount of time. Plus, this really helps you to stay focused on one goal at a time. Often, you’ll find that once you get motivated you will continue even after the timer goes off. But, the challenge is getting started.
Do it now
Trying to grow a business while working full-time means you have to leverage minutes into progress. You don’t have the luxury of four or six-hour blocks to work on a project.
But, make no mistake, those minutes can be very productive. If you use them right. Change your mindset to focus on microtasks. Don’t wait until you know you can work uninterrupted for several hours before you start on something.
You can get just as much done in four 30-minute blocks as you can in one 2-hour block.
Take action as soon as you think about it. That’s the key to consistently get motivated and stay focused.
Working on your business is your chore. It’s the thing that you have to do but, maybe don’t necessarily want to do in that moment.
And, I get it! You have a full-time job that pays the bills. This business that you’re working on is strictly a choice. You don’t NEED to grow a business. It’s something that you WANT to do in an effort to share your talents and help people.
Each day that you make that choice to wake up before the sun and work on your business should be celebrated. Treat yourself. Set up a reward system that you can look forward to and will motivate you.
Stop the negativity
This is absolutely the first thing that you need to do in order to move past any barriers to productivity. Take all of the thoughts out of your head that do not serve you.
In other words, don’t think, “No one is going to read this!” or, “I’m wasting my time thinking I can do this!” Imagine the voice in your head was sitting on the couch next to you, do you like her? Do you want her to stay? Kick her butt out! She’s taking up valuable space in your head that you could make better use of.
Before you get started on your work, take yourself through a relaxation exercise. I don’t mean do yoga in front of everyone at the coffee shop on your lunch break. I’m talking about something a little more subtle, like sit and breathe deeply for a full minute.
As you are breathing out, imagine the stress and anxiety that you are feeling is leaving your body. This might sound crazy but, several studies have proven that it works, and is especially recommended in the workplace.
Practice association techniques
Have you ever smelled something that stimulated a memory? For instance, do graham crackers make you think of your kiddo? Or, maybe pipe tobacco reminds you of your Grandpa?
This phenomenon has been thoroughly studied and proven. Smells can be associated with memories. Use this in your favor.
While you are working, sniff a scented wax cube or a cotton ball with essential oils on it. Then, when you are having trouble starting, pull out that cotton ball and smell it. This will help you to associate the behavior of working with that moment. Make sure it is a scent that you like and one that you don’t already have memories associated with.
What task(s) do you have the most difficulty getting started? Try one or more of these tips. Which one worked best for you?