How to Get Motivated (especially if you work alone)

May 18, 2021
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You can’t be boss, without doing the work. Whether you are a business owner, an artist, or a freelancer, taking control of your work and living life on your own terms always starts with doing the work. But what happens when you lack the motivation to tackle your to-do list? It can be hard to get focused and excited to do the work at times and it can be a special kind of struggle to find motivation when you are the boss or the only person in it – wearing all the hats.

In this episode of 10 Minutes to Being Boss, Emily shares her habits and tactics to help you get and stay motivated to do the work.


Top Habits and Tactics to Help You Get Motivated

1. Know your WHY and Set Some Goals

Identifying your why and keeping it at the center of your work will help you tap into the essence of motivation. If your goals are closely aligned with your why, you will be able to see the purpose in a seemingly simple or mundane task. Our Four Goal Setting Business Questions worksheet is the perfect tool to help you set some non-traditional goals that speak more to your why and keep your motivation ignited.

2. Reduce Overwhelm

Overwhelm can be a motivation killer. If your to-do list is miles long and just getting started feels like a project in itself, it’s time to break down your tasks into manageable steps. When you can easily see the steps you need to take to achieve a goal, you will have a much easier time staying motivated than if you are looking at a giant mountain of a project and wonder how you are going to get to the top.

3. Stop Multitasking

Multitasking is an easy way to find yourself in overwhelm and as we already established, reducing overwhelm is a key tactic for finding your motivation. By truly focusing on the task at hand, you are much more likely to make progress. As you make that progress, you are naturally going to gain momentum and more motivation. Who doesn’t like to check off a to-do list?

4. Share your Progress

If you are lacking internal motivation, sharing your progress with a business bestie can help you soak up the excitement and energy they share with you! And even though many of us choose to work alone in our businesses, additional accountability can be a powerful motivator. When you share your goals with others, they can be accountability partners for you and lend that extra push when you are lacking the motivation.

5. Reward Yourself

Creating key milestones for larger projects and aligning them with rewards for yourself, is a great way to stay motivated along the way. If you know you have a hard-earned extra day off at the end of a huge project milestone, you will most likely find motivation in achieving that goal and enjoying your reward. It can also create a snowball effect for your motivation, as you will earn your reward and get the feeling of achievement from completing your goal.

So what is the real secret to staying motivated? It is that more than motivation, you need discipline and dedication to your craft. Because the work will be there whether you are motivated or not and relying on motivation as the sole way to get work done, can be detrimental to your business. This is a key mindset shift that you need to make as a boss and a habit that will come with a commitment to doing the work.

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In this episode, the 4 Goal-Setting Business Questions worksheet was mentioned. Download your copy here!

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[00:00:00] Do the work be boss. Usually, I sign off with that little tidbit, but today I'm leading with it. You're here because you want to do your work on your own terms, but to do that, you have to do the work. That's why that comes first. You do the work and then you can be boss. But if you are your own boss, either as a business owner or an artist or a freelancer, you know, that doing the work either at the top of your organization or as the only person in it is

[00:00:28] special kind of struggle, which is why today I'm sharing with you at some habits and tactics for assisting you in finding the motivation to do the work.

[00:00:37] Welcome back to 10 Minutes to Being Boss a bite-size show, offering tips, tools, and tactics for helping you do business. I'm Emily Thompson. And today we're talking about finding motivation, especially as a boss, especially, especially if you work by yourself. But before we dive in, I do want to share more about our sponsor Podia.

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[00:01:44] By going to Now let's talk about motivation because it doesn't matter where you are in business, where you are in your professional life. You will find yourself occasionally struggling with having the motivation to show up, do the work and be boss. So I'm gonna be sharing with you a couple of habits and tactics that you can adapt and letting you in on a little secret as to why motivation isn't really what you need, but we'll get to that piece last to get us started,

[00:02:16] I want to talk about really the foundation of finding and having motivation in your daily work. And that is for you to know your why and set some goals. When, you know your, why you create this like the essence of motivation that you can tap into whenever you'd like to help you bring some purpose into the drudgery of the day to day to help you start to figure out what your, why is, or to help you set some sort of non-traditional motivational type of goals I actually have for you a worksheet to called

[00:02:49] four goal-setting business questions that you can find down in the description or in the show notes for this episode to assist you in navigating some important questions to help you identify your why and your goals that will make tapping into that motivation easier. So if you ever find yourself in the day-to-day grind, needing some motivation to continue grinding, you can go back to this worksheet or a member of these goals or your why to re-ignite the motivation as to why it is that you're here doing all of this in the first place.

[00:03:26] Next up a lack of motivation often comes when it is replaced with too much overwhelm. For me, I always feel more overwhelmed and less motivated when I'm looking at a large set of projects that seem too big for me to tackle, my solution for this is obviously, hopefully for you to take these large projects and chunk them down into bite-size pieces.

[00:03:52] Whenever you can see the step by step steps that you need to take. It's significantly less overwhelming than you simply looking out at an entire range of mountains that you need to climb. So find some motivation in your work by reducing the overwhelm of everything that you have in front of you taking your large projects and chunking them down into bite-sized tasks that you can easily start taking one step at a time.

[00:04:19] My next step for you is to stop multitasking. You want to know what kills motivation, having the overwhelm of all the things that you're doing just in this moment. Once you've taken your overwhelmingly large projects, chunk them down into bite-sized task, focus on doing one step at a time, and focusing on those steps as you're doing it, you're much more likely to make it the headway in your progress that you want to make, which will only enable you to feel more and more motivated as you start checking off every single thing that you're doing, but you can't accomplish this

[00:04:55] if you are not focusing if you are multitasking, multitasking only lends to the already huge amount of overwhelm that you already feel as a business owner. So by disciplining yourself to stop multitasking, to focus on your work that you are doing and making the headway, will you naturally gain motivation to keep going?

[00:05:20] Speaking of keeping going my next tip is for you to share your progress. If you lack sort of internal motivation, feed off the motivation of others. If you're sharing with the right people, they will be excited for you. They will lend you some energy that I encourage you to just kind of suck up for yourself, hold it within you as motivation and just keep going.

[00:05:43] Also, oftentimes creatives, even though we choose to work alone, really do work well with additional accountability. I, whenever you're sharing with others, these other people. Can be accountability partners for you. It's a very powerful relationship that you can easily tap into defined extra motivation to keep going.

[00:06:04] Am I final sort of motivation tip is for you to actually reward yourself along the way. So whenever you take your large projects and you chunk them down into bite-sized steps, create a couple of key milestones for yourself along the way. I know I find it significantly easier to be motivated and do the work.

[00:06:24] If I know that once I make it to a certain milestone, I will give myself a day off of work. It's a really simple thing that I can put into place that will allow me to stay motivated to hit these milestones and the motivation to hit one step and then hit that milestone. And then it hit another step, step, step milestone.

[00:06:44] And before I know it, the project is done and for me, motivation really does act as a snowball. Once I can get a little bit of motivation, it feeds into me getting more motivation, more motivation, and more motivation until I am just busted it all out. I'm getting everything I need done, done. And I'm having a fun time doing it.

[00:07:07] Which actually leads me to the final thing that I want to say here. And that is that you don't actually need motivation to the work. More than motivation, you need discipline and dedication to your craft. If I'm being quite honest with you, I am motivated probably only 20% of the time. I don't need to be motivated because I'm here doing the work with her without motivation.

[00:07:31] Sure. I have this like underlying sort of low simmer of motivation that comes from me knowing my why, and having my goals in mind and knowing that my work will help me reach my goals. But overall, it's just a low sort of simmer in there and I don't need any additional motivation to come and do the work that I need to do.

[00:07:52] I show up whether I'm motivated or not. I stay focused whether I am motivated or not. I take the steps that I need to take. I hit my milestones. I complete my projects, whether I'm motivated or not. Granted, this has come from being an entrepreneur from being a small business owner for well over a decade.

[00:08:09] But as someone who's been in it, as long as I have, you don't need motivation. You need to be dedicated to doing what it is that you are here to do, and you need to be disciplined to show up and do it, whether you really I feel like it or not. I know that doesn't sound super dreamy, but that's also another mindset shift that we all need to make sure you are building a dream job, but it's also still a job.

[00:08:33] We oftentimes think of these dream jobs have to be dreaming all the time. We're going to show up with an immense amount of motivation all the time because we're living the dream. But in reality, it's still work. And I do think that it's kind of detrimental to our calls to expect motivation to accomplish anything.

[00:08:51] Sometimes you just gotta show up. Do the work and then you can be boss. So with that, I hope I've given you some tactics and habits to assist you and finding motivation if, and when you need it because sometimes you do need it to do the work. But I also hope that you understand that motivation is not the most important thing for you to have its discipline and dedication.

[00:09:15] And with that go out and do what it is that you need to do, whether it's with discipline, dedication, or with motivation, do your work. And then you can be boss. Well, now I put myself in a weird position where I need to say, do the work be boss to sign off don't I, well, until next time, do the work be boss.