Have you had a difficult time maintaining your motivation while working from home? As we continue our discussions to help business owners during the COVID-19 situation, working from home and running your business from home have become the only way for many businesses to continue operating. While working from home has its perks, it’s not as easy as many make it out to be, so we’re discussing some of the tools we use, since we have operated as a distributed team since 2015.
What we cover in this episode:
- 01:13 – Intro
- 02:19 – It’s not easy
- 04:07 – Just do it
- 08:07 – Find an external motivator
- 09:56 – Framing and perspective
- 14:02 – Mindset
- 17:57 – Exercise
It’s not easy
Working from home and maintaining a high level of motivation isn’t easy in normal circumstances, especially if you have kids home with you. Add in the state of our world right now and what we’re facing, even if you’re used to this environment, and that complicates things further. We still have our tools and our tips that we recommend and we’re going to review those but just know that if you were thrown into this environment, it’s going to take some adjustment to find your groove.
The uncertainty surrounding us is also going to continue affecting us mentally and emotionally. Our team has been doing this for a while and current events have made it difficult for all of us to keep our motivation and positivity at the levels we have normally.
Just do it
Planning and structure are essential parts of running a business, as we’ve talked about in prior episodes, but sometimes we use “planning” as a replacement for doing. Sometimes you just need to jump in and start somewhere. Many times getting started is the hardest part, but we’ve found that jumping into something can get you into work mode and start the momentum you need to continue moving forward. Taking action can change your mindset and get you on the right path.
In addition to taking action, being self-aware of your physical reaction to stress is important as well. There are times when you’ll feel like your mind is racing as you juggle your team’s questions and a global pandemic while trying to get a handle on your business. It’s easy to continue operating without checking in with yourself, but your heart rate could be high, you may be taking shallow breaths and your body could be experiencing other impacts of stress. Take a moment, stop yourself, and breathe. You could incorporate meditation into your daily routine if that helps. Your body will be calm, your mind will be calm and you’ll realize that it’s going to be ok.
Many people think of productivity and associate that with a hyper or very active individual, but true productivity and efficiency comes from a calm place. It sounds counterintuitive, but it really works to calm your mind before taking action so that you’re coming from a centered place. So ask yourself, what can I do to calm myself, calm my mind and calm my body?
Find an external motivator
One of the ways you can maintain your motivation is to find an external motivator. Many people operate better when they’re thinking of others and what your actions will do for others, which can be your customers, your team members or your family. Finding someone outside of yourself who relies on you for that action puts things into perspective and can make keeping your motivation easier.
Public speaking is a great example. Rachel Hollis, an American author and motivational speaker, has a tip that she discussed recently when it comes to finding this external motivator. She said that one of the best ways to avoid that feeling of nervousness during public speaking is to think about what your audience needs to hear from you today. The presentation is not about you. It’s not about if you mess up or look silly or say the wrong things. It’s about addressing what your audience needs to hear and how you can show up for them during that speaking opportunity.
It’s that mindset that we need to take into account when we’re working with our business clients. How can we best serve them and help to improve their situation? Answering these questions will help you find that external motivator in your business and your life to keep you moving forward.
Framing and perspective
Framing and perspective are two important shifts that can help with your mindset overall. For example, instead of saying “I have to do the laundry again,” you can reframe it to “My kids need clean clothes to be happy and healthy and I get to do the laundry. I get to do it in a washing machine and a dryer, not down at the creek.” Changing that perspective can be helpful in looking at how fortunate you are that you get to do those things to help your family and to be of service to your family. It’s a similar situation with regards to customers and clients as well. You have the privilege of working with them to serve them and improve their lives.
Another way you can frame your mindset is by thinking about your role. Dr. Phil has talked about how everyone fulfills a role in life. You have this idea of the type of person that you are and you have certain adjectives that you would use to describe yourself. You tend to carry out actions that prove that to be true. If you want to be known as reliable, as accountable, or as a provider for your family, you’re going to take actions that fulfill those adjectives every day. Setting those expectations of the role that you want to fill not only to yourself but to other people in your life, your family, your friends, will help you take actions on those expectations.
Ask the question, “Who am I and who do I want to be?” You can answer that by thinking about the type of person, professional, parent, friend, etc. that you’d like to be everyday. Realize that you’re doing this because you’re striving to be reliable, professional and have those types of attributes. It takes some work to do but sometimes you have to just jump in and do it.
We addressed mindset briefly earlier, but it is a great idea to establish a routine that allows time to actively work on your mindset daily. Even taking 5 minutes out of your day to meditate, breathe and reflect can make a difference. Take a couple of extra minutes to think about who you are, who you want to be and how you want to show up for your clients. Taking this time to think about and answer those questions allows you to be more proactive rather than reactive.
Journaling is another habit you can implement to improve your mindset. This takes that reflection a step further because in addition to thinking about it, you are physically writing it down. That action can make these thoughts more concrete and help you visualize more clearly. Journaling is a great way to incorporate a gratitude practice as well. Take time to think about everything you have to be grateful for and start there. When you start with gratitude, it often puts your mind in a better place for planning.
It is your responsibility to make time for things that you find most important. If you’re having anxiety and your heart rate is always high, you need to make the time to calm yourself. Otherwise, you’re not going to be productive and you’re going to face health issues, which can affect everything else in your life. All it takes is five minutes to sit down and take a breath. If you can take more time, that’s even better, but it’s amazing how much more efficient and productive you can be if you invest that time in yourself. It will change your whole day and improve productivity if you can make that investment.
Exercise is another important component of maintaining motivation. Moving your body for at least 30 minutes every day helps your mind stay fresh. Hopefully with all of us stuck at home, you’re able to get outside and take a walk. Physical strength actually equates to mental strength and everybody has their own version of that but it can be a direct correlation to being able to do more and have more motivation in general.
Whatever physical activity you choose, such as weight lifting, walking, running, swimming, etc., you gain that endurance and consistency by practicing it regularly. Although it might not take much strength to walk, it’s a practice in dedication, endurance and commitment. It helps with your mindset even though maybe you’re not consciously thinking of it, it definitely still applies. Many successful business owners practice some type of endurance training. It’s mind over matter and trains your brain that it can overcome difficult situations.
Overall, with regards to motivation and working from home, especially during this time, it’s a similar process with what we would normally recommend for motivation in general. It takes more diligence and just remembering to still do these things or start implementing things if you haven’t done them before. Start with something small, maybe even 5 minutes. Do some breathing, meditation or research your own solution that makes you comfortable and serves you well. And again, don’t overthink things, just jump in, start with something and get going.
Remember that during these turbulent times, it’s not easy to maintain your motivation. It’s easy to get lost in the media, the stress and the ever-changing information that’s coming at us every day. Think of your external motivators and who you’re working for and who you’re trying to be as a person. Realize that you’re doing this because you’re striving to be reliable, professional and have those types of characteristics. It takes work, but sometimes you have to just jump in and do it. You want to have that integrity to yourself to what you want to be in life.
Be thankful for what you have in your life. Be thankful you have your health, your business, your community and your family. Take some time to control your breathing, to calm down and reset your mind. All it takes is five minutes to sit down and take a breath and you’ll be amazed at how much more efficient and productive you can be. It will change your whole day if you can take that short time and will make you so much more productive during the day.
Finally, recognize that exercising can truly bring strength to you, both physically and mentally. Just start with something small, maybe just 5 minutes. There’s so much information that’s available to us however just doing something can help put things into perspective, calm the situation down. And again, don’t overthink things, just jump in, start with something and get going.