3 Things To Do When You Can’t Motivate Yourself To Do Anything

June 19, 2009

Ever have one of those days where you just wake up in a funk? Maybe it’s a lack of a sleep, maybe it’s a spouse/friend/business partner relationship that has you in a tizzy, or maybe you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. No matter the cause, once in a while you find yourself with a bundle of items on your to-do list and absolutely no motivation to start crossing them off. You’re cranky, annoyed, and not only do you not want to do anything productive but you don’t want to do anything PERIOD. One of the amazing benefits of being a business owner and entrepreneur is that you only have yourself to report to. But therein lies the biggest obstacle of entrepreneurship – you only have yourself to report to. When motivation is lacking there’s no one else to take responsibility. So, if wasting the day away watching a Seinfeld marathon or catching up on those DVR’d episodes of Lost isn’t something you’re willing to resign to, what DO you do when face to face with a lackluster level of get-up-and-go?

First, identify and admit to the problem. Yes, I know entrepreneurs are a fairly self-confident bunch that tends to shy away from ever admitting something’s wrong, but do I need to mention the Lost episodes again? They will be your day’s fate if you don’t admit to needing a jolt in the motivation department. Even before admitting to it, though, is the need to realize that you could even have a problem. This comes from nothing else than previous effort to personally develop yourself to be a confident, perceptive, positive businessperson. Read this on a good day and repeat out loud: I am a confident, positive person overflowing with motivation, drive, and commitment to working towards my goals. Some days making positive progress will be easier than others, and I am ok with that. I realize that on those days it will be up to me to identify, admit, and fix the problem to get myself back on track. My achievements are no one’s responsibility but my own. WAHOO ENTREPRENEURSHIP! Ok, that last bit is optional, but you get the point. Admit on a good day that it could happen, so that when the just-kind-of-so-so day rolls around you’ll be willing and able to get right to work on fixing things.

So, you’ve identified you’re in a funk. You have admitted a need to step back and take a moment to fix it. Now what? A few suggestions:

Remind yourself of your purpose Call your business partner, review the About page on your website, re-read your mission statement. Step back in time to when you first launched your business. Why did you do it? Who inspired you to begin this crazy journey? What is that passion, that purpose, that pushes you forward day after day after day? Reinspire yourself with that core purpose and your list of daily tasks will suddenly seem less of a burden and more of a means to a very important, and very passionate, end.

Trim your to-do list If you’re anything like me, your daily to-do list can often turn into more of an in-my-dreams wish list than a useful display of necessary tasks. On a day you’re struggling this can cause distraction and stress and can easily stall you from completing a single thing in its entirety. Identify three items that, even if you accomplished nothing else all day long, the day would still be declared a success if completed. Get rid of all the mental noise and focus your efforts on those three important tasks.

Go to work on yourself Remind yourself how you got into this entrepreneurial situation in the first place. Most likely it was an inspiring self-improvement book, a motivating audio, an encouraging mentor, or some combination of the three. If nothing else, find a comfy spot and curl up for an hour with a great personal development book. Lean back in your chair, close your eyes, pop in an inspiring cd of your favorite motivational keynote speaker, and soak it all in. Remember how you developed yourself into someone who takes responsibility for their life and goes after what they want. Remember what placed the seed of passion that launched your business in the first place.

Everyone has those days. Let the day slip by if you want; everything will still be there tomorrow, after all. Like most things in life, though, if you want to save your lackluster day you most certainly can. Pause and step back from everything for a moment. Remember your purpose, review your list of tasks, remind yourself of the type of person you’ve become. You’ll know it’s time to stop when your inspiration bubbles up and your brain starts buzzing again.

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