We’ve all had down days. Days where it’s hard to get motivated; days where you just can't seem to get anything done. As luck would have it, your motivation often starts drying up right around the time something big is scheduled to happen at work or in your business. You’re launching a new program or your nonprofit has a huge capital campaign coming up...but, life is overwhelming you. Your child is sick, there are troubles at home, you were in a car accident, or a family member is struggling financially.
I’ve been tested like this more times than I'd like. Being a mom who runs a business is extremely challenging, but I can say I’ve found ways to stay productive and sane, even during the worst times.
Here are the three things I do to stay motivated and productive when life throws me a curveball.
Look at what’s required of you and what it really means to be productive. Does “productive” mean that every little thing on your list gets crossed off? If you analyze your to-do list, you’ll find several things you can hand off to others. Pick the most important, "I gotta get it done" items off your list, then delegate the others to colleagues or drop them altogether.
Do the same thing with your personal life. Does the house need to be spotless or are you just adding to your stress? Take a second look at what you’ve said “yes” to and allow yourself the opportunity to say “no.”
Build Up Your Energy
Productivity increases when you have more energy. Give yourself the time and space you need to build your energy stores back up. Part of that includes dropping activities that zap your energy, like surfing the web, hanging out on Facebook, or watching endless hours of TV. I know how good it feels to marathon a show when life is getting you down, but that’s probably the worst thing you can do if you’re lacking motivation.
Try exercising for just 10 minutes. Listen to uplifting music. Eat some superfoods, like walnuts, avocados, chia seeds, yogurt, or blueberries. Meditate. Go for a walk or a hike. Doing these things will help restore your waning energy.
This may seem overstated, but SO many people neglect this. Whether it's talking to a close friend or sharing with your significant other, do what you can to make this burdensome time less lonely. Don’t forget to tell the other person that you just need to vent; no advice is needed. When someone else tries to solve your problem when you’re just looking to vent, you can get frustrated and regret sharing.
Asking a friend or family member to brainstorm solutions is another great idea, but make it an actual brainstorming session with markers and flip charts. Really get them involved in figuring things out so you aren’t fighting alone.
Remember, as tough as things are now, you can get through it. Redefine what productivity really means to you. Do things that build up your energy; and as much as you might want to hide what you’re going through, take time to confide in someone. These three simple things will set you back on track to maintain your motivation and productivity.
Here's to your illumination!