— November 22, 2017
There are loads of advantages to working online doing your own thing. The Internet has created an astonishing amount of new industries and jobs that didn’t even exist 15-20 years ago. Actually, some didn’t even exist 5 years ago! But the Internet has also brought us a few bad things, like trolls, abuse and the ability to suck every last shred of motivation out of you.
If you work online, or perhaps you work from home alone, you will understand this. You drag yourself out of bed, sit at your desk and then look at a blank screen for several hours. The only productive thing you manage to do is get up to make a coffee or nip to the loo. You may even answer the door to the postman. You feel like you’ve achieved something if you answer more than 2 emails or not ‘accidently’ hit delete on all the ones you can’t even be bothered to read. And then you stumble down a rabbit hole of reading a comment thread on Facebook about something you have absolutely no interest in. But the comments just reel you in. Until you realise you just spent 2 hours reading hateful comments aimed at some reality star you’ve never even heard of.
Losing your motivation when you work alone or online can be a nightmare. A bit like trying to climb a mountain in your slippers. So what do you do when your mojo has taken an unscheduled week off and you’ve got work to do?
REMEMBER YOUR WHY
Chances are, you, at some point, made the choice to work online. You didn’t just wake up one morning sitting at a MacBook Pro designing websites, or trying to engage a community on Facebook, from the comfort of your home (makeshift) office. What made you make that choice? Was it to have more freedom? Work-life balance? To follow your dreams? Escape some form of corporate hell? Was it a lifestyle or purely business choice?
It’s always good to re-examine your why. Often your why can change along the way and you can lose sight of that main, motivating reason that makes you want to sit in front of a computer for 80 hours a week rather than go to someone else’s office for 40 hours a week. If your why creates some form of future image in your mind of the life you are aiming to have, then create that image somewhere that you can keep it in your line of sight. A simple vision board propped up in your office or on the end of your desk can work wonders. Instead of reading what idiots on the internet are commenting on, overt your eyes and look at the images on your board and remember what you’re aiming for.
Honestly, do you really want to sit in traffic, do battle with the train, endure a packed bus 5 days a week? Do you want your mornings to be stress filled just to get to work? Do you want to deal with office politics, annoying co-workers and endless meetings about meetings? I’m guessing just the sheer fact that you found my blog and you’re reading this suggests to me that you don’t want any of that. Be thankful every single day that you don’t have to go to work for someone else. Be thankful for the freedom you have. Ok, so it may not feel like freedom when you’re still up working past midnight and you’ve forgotten what a day off feels like.
But it’s more freedom than any of your suitably employed by someone else friends or family have. You get to choose when you work, where you work, how you work and who you work with. And that is truly a blessing and something to be extremely thankful for. And if you need a little reminder then read more blog about what I don’t miss about working for someone else.
LOVE WHAT YOU DO
You know those people who constantly whinge and moan about their jobs? Not enough pay, hate their boss, hate their co-workers, hate the place, hate, hate, hate. Do you think they love what they do? Yet they stay working there for 20 years! I’m sure that’s a definition of madness! If you don’t like something, change it. It really is that simple.
If you aren’t feeling motivated by what you’re supposed to be doing then ask yourself some serious questions. Is it just that you’ve had a couple of bad days, perhaps a client annoyed you? Or you accidentally stumbled into the comments section of the Daily Mail and it made you feel bad about the world? But is it that your industry has changed and you no longer love what you do? Or is there something else you’d prefer to be doing?
If you don’t love what you do then stop doing it and stop wasting your precious time. Life is too short to not be doing what you love.
Those internet rabbit holes can suck every last drop of motivation out of you. They can make you feel like your very soul has been snatched from you and make you question everything. And that’s only after spending 2 hours on Farmville!
If you find that after 30 seconds on Facebook you are suddenly wanting to start an online war with the high school friend you haven’t seen or spoken to in 20 years because of their casual racism postings. Maybe don’t go on Facebook in work time! And if you have to, like really have to, then don’t scroll. Just go to what you need to. And if you don’t want to unfriend those that annoy you or suck up your time, then just mute them so they don’t invade your newsfeed.
Personally, I find the huge amounts of negativity on social media can be very draining if you give it too much of your time and attention. So I avoid it. Which kind of sounds a bit weird from someone that earns their living from social media. Instead, I have a lot of filters set up, a lot of accounts muted and because I have to visit a lot of clients business pages during the day, I have it set up so that’s all I visit.
If you do find that you’ve had your soul sucked out by the Facebook newsfeed then make sure you have your remedies to hand. Be it your vision board or a banging playlist that makes you want to sing along at the top of your voice. Know what will lighten your mood and shift your focus to that, quickly!
This can be really difficult when it’s your own business. Now that many people can effectively run their businesses on their smartphones, you can end up being ‘on-duty’ 24/7. But it’s still important to take time away. I’m not saying cut yourself off from your work as this isn’t always practical. But set some boundaries. Little things like no laptops in the sitting room or phones at the dinner table.
When you work online you can easily become a hermit so make sure you take time to actually go outside for slightly longer than the few steps to the car. Go for a short walk if the Internet is trying to steal your motivation. Your business won’t collapse if you just take the dog for a short walk mid-morning. Go for a walk around a supermarket (this is one of my tricks). Supermarkets tend to be mobile phone signal killers so it can be a very peaceful 20-minute shopping trip.
Just make sure that your life doesn’t start revolving around your screen. Watch films, watch the tv, read an actual book (a paper one not a Kindle one). Keep your phone at arms length whilst you do other things. This is your switching off, refreshing time. It’ll do you and your business the world of good.
Sometimes your motivation take s a break because you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere. Building a business can be so hard and often you will feel like you aren’t getting anywhere. This is when you need to believe in yourself. Have absolute 100% faith in what you do, why you do it and that you are going to achieve. Success is coming, you just need to stay in your lane and keep on keeping on. And if you can’t believe in yourself then don’t expect anyone else to. Be your own greatest cheerleader.
AND IF ALL ELSE FAILS……….
There are thousands and thousands of really good motivation videos on YouTube. I know a YouTube binge isn’t very productive, but create yourself a playlist in there of videos that will give you a kick up the ass and get you fired up and ready to get working again.
The whole point is to know what motivates you. When you feel your motivation trying to get away from you, have your go to, foolproof methods to hand to get you through your slump and back on track.
What motivates you? How do you overcome your slumps? Let me know your tips in the comments.