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How to follow your motivation to get things done, working towards the big picture and staying happy.
My motivation tends to go through peaks and troughs as my interest in business projects moves from one focus to another. I’m always interested in business, that’s a given, but I don’t stay focused on one particular business and certainly never stick to one activity for very long. This is because my patience also goes through peaks and troughs and of course like most people, my interests change on a daily basis.
My bet is that you are similar but you struggle through your day repeating the same tasks over and over always looking at your watch waiting for the next break and going home time. Some tasks in your work are stimulating and you enjoy them — if you are in the right mood — but that is a rare combination. If ever your mood doesn’t match the task at hand or you simply don’t want to work it is tough luck, you must struggle to get through the working day.
The web entrepreneur that sets up a good system earns the benefits of flexibility. That is what you are missing when you work for others or you are a slave to your own business.
One of the true perks of being an Internet entrepreneur is being able to be as finicky with your work tasks as you like, to a certain degree. Today I feel like focusing on writing an article. Tomorrow I’ve had enough of the computer so I’m going to head outside and do some ground roots flyer advertising and get some exercise. Wednesday I’m not going to do much besides my laundry, clean the house and meet up with some friends. I wake up Thursday very motivated and finish two sections of an e-course I’m writing. Thursday night I spend a few hours reading a new e-book on the changes to Google AdWords. It’s all random, changing day-by-day as my mood and interests change. Yet things always get done and money keeps coming in.
All these tasks may appear quite scattered, but there is a method to the madness and collectively all work towards growing my business and more importantly, I love each day. Best of all you too can work towards being in charge of your working day provided you follow a few simple but important rules. Let me share a few with you now.
Interest = Motivation
Above all else make sure you choose a business that you are interested in. You don’t have to love the product you sell, but you need to believe in it and more importantly, love the process of selling it. Same deal for services, especially if you plan to provide the services yourself.
Remember you are human so look after the human needs as a priority. This means socialization, food and drink, exercise and time away from work. If you keep your body and mind fresh and stimulated your work output will be that much more productive and enjoyable.
I’m not going to launch into yet another instructional diatribe about structured goal setting. I’m sick of reading articles and listening to people rave about how important goal setting is. Yes it is very important, goals are great, they give you objectives and help to motivate you but I’ve never been one to carefully plan and dictate every short, medium and long term goal creating a step-by-step diagram leading from little milestone to slightly bigger milestone eventually culminating with the huge milestones.
If you work better with a lot of structure and detailed planning I recommend you visit Steve Pavlina, he is a master of efficient use of time.
I know what I want to achieve at both a micro (daily/weekly/monthly) and macro (quarterly/yearly) level and I work towards these goals each day however I do it by following spontaneity and energy, not a documented plan. Perhaps I’m lucky and things are working out well despite my haphazard goal setting, but I don’t believe that. I believe it’s because I work towards *something* everyday and I’ve been doing it for a long time.
Follow Your Energy
I might spend a big chunk of my day eating out with friends or walking the park or reading a book. On the surface that doesn’t look like productive business output. Indirectly though it is. By following my energy I complete each task effectively rather than struggling from lack of motivation. The times that I spend away from business tasks make me eager to get back to work or provide education that will no doubt be valuable for my business tasks at some point down the line. When the motivation to write, to strategize, to brainstorm, to market, to network, to design or to create hits me it is a strong urge and a lot gets done in a short period of time.
Don’t Be Lazy
There is a fine line between recharging your batteries, living a varied lifestyle and procrastination. If you find yourself always interested in the days off and your energy directs you to endless afternoons sitting in front of the television your business is not going to take off. If you never get the urge to work then perhaps you have selected a business model that doesn’t fit your interests. If you can look back and remember loving article writing, website building, online marketing, search engine optimizing or any aspect of your business process then chances are that no, you do like your business, it’s just that the lazy bug has got you.
The solution? Do something. Work itself is motivating (especially the results from work) and tends to create a desire to complete more work.
An Internet business is flexible because your computer is your workspace and as such you have flexibility in where and when you work. There is no 9-5. Provided you meet client needs when they arise you can be proactive with work when you feel like it – in the early mornings or late at night or with a sandwich in your hand at lunch. However not every Internet business has the flexibility of time on their side. The working world works 9-5 and if you service this world chances are you must be available during those times too.
The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to be proactively working on business tasks all the time. If your energy is not there, don’t waste time, move on to another task. It should be easy to tell when you enjoy the work you are doing and when you don’t, so despite being confined to a standard business time schedule your working schedule doesn’t have to be always on 9-5 too.
The main message I’m trying to get across here is to have fun with your time. That includes work time and away from work time. Be proactive. Do something for your business everyday even if it doesn’t directly impact your business. Keep goals in mind because they are motivating and guiding lights, but don’t get bogged down with stringent planning unless you work better that way. Look within yourself for the most productive way you can work and if you experience roadblocks, make changes. It all works out in the end.