The universe has bestowed upon you the BEST idea ever. You’re sure of it.
You’re excited to get started, and you know that this idea is going to propel your creative business forward.
You take out your bullet journal, break the project down into small, actionable steps, and you get to work.
At first, everything feels simple. You’re checking things off each day, and you think that this is the best idea you’ve had to date.
Until one day you just aren’t excited anymore.
Each morning you hit the snooze button on your alarm sixteen times and seriously consider throwing your phone across the room. You’re not psyched to face the day and get to your creative work because it’s stopped feeling creative.
It doesn’t feel fresh, and new, and exciting. It feels stale and hard.
Your idea notebook is calling out to you, begging you to open it up and try out a new idea. You feel the flutter of excitement again in the pit of your belly.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Your idea notebook is calling out to you, begging you to open it up and try out a new idea.” quote=”Your idea notebook is calling out to you, begging you to open it up and try out a new idea.”]
Maybe it would be easier to just start over with another new idea. This project is somewhat complete, right?
The temptation is so strong just to move on to one of your other ideas.
So where do you find the motivation to keep on with this project that’s lost its luster?
Think about the people that this product/service/blog post, etc. will help.
A lot of times, you misplace your motivation for a particular project because you’re focused on how challenging it is for you right at that moment. You’re not thinking about the result and how the finished project will help others.
Instead, you’re focused on the difficult-ness of the situation at the moment.
Just like with exercise or other activities that require endurance, you can give up quickly just as soon as you’re focused on the pain or difficulties that you’re having in the moment.
But if you focus on who you’re going to help instead, you’ll be able to move past the momentary discomfort.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Focus on who you’re going to help and you’ll be able to move past the momentary discomfort.” quote=”Focus on who you’re going to help and you’ll be able to move past the momentary discomfort.”]
I find looking at the people I want to serve in my business, as well as the big picture of why I’m doing what I’m doing, very motivating. So take a step back and focus on who you’re trying to help, take in a deep breath, and keep moving forward.
Break the task down into small actionable steps and think about how you can make tiny steps forward.
Often when you’re feeling overwhelmed with a project that you’re working on, it’s because the project seems massive and never-ending. I can feel this way when I’m updating my web design, for instance. Each page needs to be redone from top to bottom and with over 20 pages on my site that can feel a little daunting.
But if I break it down into small actionable steps that I can focus on one day at a time, I only need to work on the things on my list for the day. I can set a timer, turn on some music (if it’s a task that doesn’t require complete silence), and then I can focus on the tasks for an hour or two.
If I shut out the world and just focus for a solid few hours, then I’m likely to complete all the tasks that I need to finish. Sometimes, just wrapping up those few things is enough motivation for me to jump ahead and do tomorrow’s work for my project too.
Give yourself rewards for getting your project tasks completed.
I’m not the best at rewarding myself, to be honest.
Part of me just wants to put the sticker in my planner or read the fiction book I’ve been craving and tell myself that the project can wait for another day. But if I force myself to sit in my desk chair until I’ve completed at least three things on my project to-do list, then when I go to read my new paperback, I feel like I deserve to read.
I’m not focused on the guilt that I might feel, yet again, that I didn’t finish what I wanted to do that day.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Give yourself rewards for getting your project tasks completed.” quote=”Give yourself rewards for getting your project tasks completed.”]
Some people motivate themselves with a pedicure or with a night out with their spouse. I’ve known other business friends to propel themselves forward with a staycation or a trip to a nearby city for some rest after a colossal course launch.
You’re in charge of the reward that you get for completing your project. Just make sure that the reward is enticing enough and that you don’t cheat (like I’m often tempted to do) and reward yourself without doing any of the work.
Have a business friend hold you accountable.
This method of motivation does wonders for me. It’s not that I can’t get work done without someone holding me accountable, it’s that I get more stuff done when someone is.
One of my favorite ways to take massive action is to have a retreat day with the Sunday Society ladies (a membership group for creative women led by one of my favorites, April Bowles-Olin). I love when we all meet up, and we let one another know what we’re going to do throughout the day and then we break and get to work. We will check in throughout the day to see where everyone is and how we’re all doing on our projects.
Best accountability resolution EVER. It’s seriously changed my life.
I’ve even done this very same thing with business friends, just in a smaller, more intimate group. It’s so motivating to know that someone out there is working on the same or similar things at the same exact moment as you are.
I find that during these co-working days or “retreats,” I’m able to get five blog posts written or three sales emails. Or I can record four videos for my new course.
It helps to push me through to completion.
Promise yourself time off at the end of a long sprint.
Time off after a sprint is a little similar to giving yourself rewards, except that you’re going to try hard to get the entire project done during the sprint (the first time I heard this term used was by Mariah Coz.)
A sprint is a two week or three week period where you are focused on nothing but the project on hand. You take massive action during the sprint to bring a new project to completion.
By working in sprints, you can start and move through a project very quickly.
[clickToTweet tweet=”By working in sprints, you can start and move through a project very quickly.” quote=”By working in sprints, you can start and move through a project very quickly.”]
Anytime I’ve worked on a project sprint, I’ve had an easier time figuring out which tasks to complete, and I’ve also found new creative things to do for the project at hand. Because you’re eating, breathing, and sleeping focused on your project.
By the end of the two to three weeks, you’ve earned yourself a mini-vacation. You could even do sprints once a month, where you’d take massive action during the first few weeks of the month and then take off the second couple of weeks.
Know that once you’ve completed one project, the next time you do something similar it won’t be as hard.
This may not be true for everyone, but when I complete one project and then start a similar project just after, I usually have figured out a system. The first round allows me to put a framework in place that makes duplicate or similar work easy.
For instance, if I’m planning out and creating a new consulting package on my website after I’ve gone through building the first package, the next time I’ll know what things I want to include and how I want the package set up because I’ve done one already.
Then I can focus on how to improve the overall experience for my clients, rather than creating a bunch of new things from scratch. The more I do projects with similar results, the better I can make things with each subsequent attempt to do the project.
So, there you have it. When you’re feeling exceptionally unmotivated to push through to the completion of a project, you can refer back to this list and figure out how you can set yourself up for success.
How do you motivate yourself when you’re in the thick of a project that’s not sparkly and new anymore? Leave a comment in the comment section below and let me know!
[…] I’ve been writing a lot about finishing your projects, finding motivation, and breaking your goals down into actionable steps. It’s just my mind space right now, as I […]