The 500 days of January are now behind us, and with Spring just around the corner, there’s a lot to look forward to. But with around 80% of New Year’s Resolutions already out the window (source: https://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/why-set-yourself-up-for-failure-ditch-new-years-resolution-do-this-instead.html), cold, grey and wet weather a-plenty and the Christmas break feeling like a lifetime ago, it’s easy to feel a bit ‘meh’ in February – and that’s okay!
Don’t feel bad if you feel bad, occasional drops in productivity and motivation are natural and understandable. If you find that this drop is long-lasting, it might be time to speak to a business coach, mentor or even a health professional to review the root causes and tackle the issue. If it’s only been a few days and you just need a little hand getting back on track, why not try one of our motivational top tips!
Step away from the desk – feeling frustrated or struggling with procrastination? Why not head out of the office for a brisk walk? Yes, I know it’s probably raining/sleeting/snowing sideways, but sometimes a brief spell of fresh air and moderate exercise can get the blood pumping and the brain working again, and might help give you the clarity you need to carry out your work more effectively
Have a planning/reviewing session – take an hour or two out to take a look at the highs and lows of business in 2019. What went well? What didn’t go well? Where would you like to be in 12 months, and what would you need to do to get there? If you haven’t had a chance to review your business over the last few months, this is a great way to remind yourself of all the great things that you have achieved over the last year. Admittedly, you do have to look at the less-than-positive stuff too but consider that an exercise in growth and what not to do this year!
Establish your own systems and processes – if you find that things are taking days when they should only take hours to complete, it’s time to review your working processes. Write down the exact steps that you have to take when you carry out a specific task for a client, and then consider them carefully. Is there a tool out there that could help you work more efficiently? Could you outsource any of these tasks? Breaking your workload down into bitesize chunks or micro-tasks that you can then tick off your to-do list can really help to keep you focused and motivated, and make it easier for you to stop and start time-consuming tasks without losing your place. If this is of interest to you, a task management system like Todoist or Asana could prove beneficial.
Set a goal – and reward yourself: Give yourself something to work for this year. It could be an income figure, getting an article published in a mainstream publication, getting a certain number of new clients, or simply getting to Q2 (or Q3 or Q4) without resorting to passive aggressive email sign-offs in your daily correspondence. If you achieve this, celebrate it! If you work alone, the only person who can fully appreciate and understand your achievements is you, so do something to mark the occasion (with or without cake and a fanfare of bugles, you decide…).
Book some ‘you’ time in the diary – I know we go on about self-care, but it’s because we mean it. It is important that you take time to look after yourself, mentally and physically. It’s all too easy to push through with a brave face when you really need to just take a break, and I wish it wasn’t! If you’ve got associates around you who have the knowledge and experience to take the slack when you aren’t around, lean on them for assistance and pay them appropriately. A reduced income is far better than no income at all, so trust that your peers have got your back.
As I mentioned earlier, if you struggle to find the good days amongst the not-so-good ones, reach out for help. It might be that you need to refine the focus of your business this year, or change the services that you offer. It might be that self-employment just isn’t the right career path for you at the present time, or that you need some help from a medical professional to get ‘back on track’. The most important thing is to know that you aren’t alone, and that there are people out there who can really help.