Everyone can relate to the feeling of not wanting to get out of the bed in the morning or procrastinating at an important task. Let’s be honest, there are just some things we are not motivated to do.
I have been found guilty of leaving a term paper till the last minute or skipping a shower before work so I can get 15 more minutes of sleep. I struggle with staying motivated despite implementing the newest apps to help productivity.
Staying motivated when you’re an entrepreneur can be hard, especially during the startup phase when deadlines are self-imposed and there is no boss holding you accountable. The responsibility rests upon your shoulders, which can feel overwhelming. Every little trick and tool to help along the journey is needed to persevere.
There have been many days when I have allowed myself to take an early lunch that lasts till the next day, so I’ve had to find ways to remain focused and stay on track. I’ve done research on fun ways to increase motivation, and I’m about to share them with you!
Buckle up, and let’s have some fun.
Tip #1: Eat Chocolate
Yes, you read that right. I’m telling you to eat chocolate to improve your productivity and focus.
According to Cassandra Talmadge in Eat This, Not That!, eating dark chocolate can boost your motivation:
"Dark chocolate increases the production of endorphins and serotonin in the brain, as well as triggers the release of dopamine. And aside from giving you bliss, flavanols boost blood supply to the brain, enhancing concentration and focus."
When you feel like you need an extra boost to get you through the day, pop some dark chocolate in your mouth and ride the wave. Make sure to stay away from chocolate that is overly sugared so you don’t suffer from the unfortunate effects of a sugar crash.
Eating chocolate is an enjoyable way to release feel-good hormones that will also help you get down to business! It’s a win-win.
Now I know why I did so well in grad school.
Tip #2: Make Your Own Mantra
Who doesn’t love singing the chorus to their favorite song? Well, with your own “motivation mantra” you can motivate yourself with encouraging words and even throw in a fun melody while you’re at it.
Jennifer Cohen in forbes.com states that having a mantra can put you in the right position to succeed:
"A mantra is a verbal statement that reinforces a positive mindset. They can be extremely helpful when it comes to keeping your motivation up and your spirits high."
When you are constantly encouraging yourself with words of encouragement, you are more likely to feel motivated.
Examples could be:
“You’re doing great, keep up the good work!”
“Your hard work is paying off.”
“You can do this.”
Simple ones that you can repeat over and over will make a difference as you start to embody your words. Practice your mantra in those moments when you just feel like giving up.
As an entrepreneur, you need all the internal motivation you can get to stay resilient and externally motivated. Set yourself up for success by having this trick in your back pocket and if you make it into a song, you can sing and smile your way through the most tedious tasks.
Tip #3: Celebrate Yourself
You’ve been working hard (or are about to!) and deserve to celebrate your wins. If you beat yourself up for procrastinating or lacking focus, chances are you’re not going to be feeling very motivated to do anything, let alone feel good about yourself or your work.
How we talk to and treat ourselves is indicative of how we feel. Learning to focus on your accomplishments, rather than your obstacles will aid you to stay positive and motivated. Strategic business coach, Mark Pettit says,
"One of the things that reduces motivation and causes procrastination is that we measure our success not from how far we’ve come, but how far away we are from our dreams and ideals.
If we can change our mindset and become more conscious of how our brain is working, we can set ourselves up for a motivation boost."
Starting a business is no easy feat, there always seems something more to do or learn. However, focusing on what needs to get done and forgetting about what you’ve already achieved will diminish your accomplishments.
Plenty of people are entrepreneurs, there is a plethora of failed businesses out there, and acknowledging that you’re still on the journey and trying means that you have something to be grateful for. It means you still have a chance, and that’s something to celebrate.
Whether your celebration looks like eating a whole bar of low sugar dark chocolate or singing your favorite mantra while you dance around in your underwear (or both), make sure it makes you feel good about yourself.
You can write down on sticky notes all the things you’ve done to build your business and post them around your work area or house so that you are constantly reminded of all your wins. Feeling good and celebrating yourself will allow you to persevere during the harder times.
Tip #4: Look at Green
Now this one may seem strange, but is an easy and fun way to support yourself. It’s time to put on your interior designer hat and decorate your space with green.
Our brains are highly influenced by color and what we see, so why not use this information to help support yourself to become more motivated?
Dan Wang in buffer.com explains,
"Researchers have found in two studies that surrounding yourself with a bit of green provides a boost in motivation; and also that a glimpse of the color green sparks creativity."
This tip is especially helpful if what you need to work on is artistic, such as writing a song or painting the next masterpiece. Since the color green incites creativity, keep it in clear eyesight at your next art session to ensure yourself some inspiration. However, even business-like tasks need creativity, so this is an all-around helpful motivation hack.
Make this a fun exercise and figure out all the ways that you can incorporate green into your space. Maybe you have a vision board above your desk that is covered in green to help you stay motivated, which will also constantly remind of the dreams you’re working towards.
Pay attention to the areas and things you look at most while you’re working, such as your watch or a specific corner of your desk. Then go out and get yourself a green watch or a plant to put in your eyesight. Even better, you can take a walk outside and look at the trees and grass, which leads us to our last tip.
Tip #5: Take a Break!
Who doesn’t love taking a break from something they’re not motivated to do? One of the fun tips to stay motivated is to actually step away.
George Dickson, in his article about increasing motivation in the workplace, states that we need to actually stop and move to be able to stay focused on what we’re trying to get done:
"Sitting all day isn’t good for you, and neither is working nonstop. Taking a short break every hour or two can have a positive effect on both your mind and body. Get up, stretch your legs, rest your eyes — and come back to work with a refreshed mind and body."
While it may seem counterintuitive to leave work while you’re trying to actually get work done, it’s science, people! Moving your body can release tension that you’re holding while struggling with focus and allow you a fresh set of eyes when you sit back down. Space and time away can help the brain to focus better.
To make this motivating strategy even more fun, you can play your favorite song, dance, and sing along as you gear up for another motivated session of work. Get some movement in during your break to refresh the body after staying sedentary all day.
Getting to work and staying focused may require some training, but these five ways are fun and can soften the challenge of staying motivated. If you can create an environment of play, you’re much more likely to enjoy your work session and actually want to get to work everyday!
Good luck, and don’t forget the chocolate.
Brittany Noelle Roa is an interdisciplinary artist with an MFA in Physical Theatre who uses her art and creativity to heal herself and others. She loves learning about health and wellness so she can optimize her human potential to live a full and happy life.