I was always dreaming about having a business and working for myself. I finally have my own business, I work for myself, but it doesn’t look that great and easy as I imagined it. Most likely I was just imagining the results of having my own business like a flexible schedule, working in my underwear, no boss standing behind me and staring at my screen, shitloads of money in my bank account and a cool lifestyle.
Turns out it is far from what it is in reality. At least at the beginning.
There are so many successful examples in the world so there must be ways to stay motivated when working for yourself. And there are, nothing amazing, no secret potions or formulas, just simple discipline and self-awareness.
Ironic or not but discipline will set you free and will let you do things that you were imaging you will have time for.
There are sacrifices everywhere, it is physically impossible to learn a language, play guitar, dance salsa, be a rockstar designer and run a successful business. Stop watching series, stop scrolling facebook, or at least cut down the time you spend on entertainment and do something valuable.
Take time off
Most of the time in 2013 I spent in London working on Despreneur, Refe, freelancing and working part-time as a designer at Studio N3RD. At the very beginning I was achieving quite a lot, felt super productive but then suddenly I burnt out. I was not socialising very much, just having a drink after work and a meetup once a month. I am surprised how can I still communicate with human beings as I spent most of my time “working hard” on my projects. After some time, nothing really excited me anymore and working for myself on my own projects didn’t look that attractive. Simply taking time off on weekends will do the magic, you won’t die if you will not answer your emails and will not update social media accounts.
Set up a workout routine
What really helps me every morning to get into the working mood is a regular workout routine. Most of the time I get up before 7 AM, pick up my gym clothes and go for a short run to the gym, once I get there I do a quick 40-50 min workout working on different muscle groups 5 days a week. Having a regular physical activity boosts the immune system, prevents diseases, helps to prevent depression and maintains self-esteem.
Generally speaking, exercising scientifically makes people happy, and I can confirm it myself.
Stop competing and comparing
Life is beautiful. Turn jealousy into inspiration. I was writing before on Medium how important it is to stop comparing and turning jealousy into inspiration. People sacrifice their social life, health or entertainment to become wealthy, well trained or famous. Don’t just look at the surface, try to break everything down and appreciate the hard work and frustration that are left behind the scenes and are not visible at the first sight.
I don’t say to eat healthy because I don’t eat absolutely healthy myself. I love eating pizza and drinking coca-cola on weekends but on the occasional days I try to avoid sugar, junk food and other food that is not contributing to my overall health & wellness. Eat more fruits and vegetables, more of good fat like avocado, fish, peanut butter, less bad fat like oils, sauces and sweets. Drink more water.
I find myself really inspired to take an action when I read. I love reading physical books just because it is usually more relevant than reading articles on blogs or magazines just because most of that stuff is very repetitive and you can easily spot that it was written for search engines instead of people.
Anyway, reading really helps in the process of coming up with new ideas and moves you closer to the mental state where you want to take an action immediately. Don’t let that feeling go; write, create, do something when you are inspired.
I wrote this post reading an article, actually just an introduction of the article by Belle Beth Cooper: The Psychology of Limitations: How and Why Constraints Can Make You More Creative. I set myself 2 hours limit and started typing.
Set time limits
I am not surprised anymore by the success of Startup Weekend or any other time-limited hackathons and competitions. Having limitations let you focus on what is really important, allowing you to let go all of the “maybes” and creating something valuable when the limited time is over. Remembering school and college exams, I can clearly see that it had used the same model for forcing productivity, creativity and overall responsibility. (What a rhyme!)
Constraints are pushing you to create something really remarkable and put all your effort and creativity into your end result, whether it is a thesis, website or pitch presentation.
Do something for fun
Do something just for fun. Stop thinking about money, health, other people opinions and just have fun. Sometimes I instantly change my mind to some bullshit and start watching weird videos on YouTube like Conan Visits The American Girl Store or booking a return ticket to Paris from London for £10 on Megabus. It’s just fun.
So there you have it. Things that work and help me stay motivated. Most of them are not directly addressing motivation but certainly contribute to making you more productive, happy and inspired. Let me know what works for you.
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