Momentum is a precious commodity in any field. If you build enough of it up, it can help you coast through rough spots, boring days, and the “I don’t give a shit” spells.
As an entrepreneur, maintaining this momentum can be even more challenging, because there are no bosses, co-workers, or interns. There aren’t a hoard of people who have expectations you must fulfill or you’ll be fired – it’s just you. Before you say, “But I have to put food on the table and pay my bills – that’s plenty of motivation!” – I say this article is written for the ‘just making it,’ ‘second income,’ and the ‘I’m not currently drowning’ entrepreneurs out there. You could still learn something, no matter your situation – but I’m writing to those people directly today (“Hi People!”).
Since we don’t have external motivators like we used to (bosses and ramen noodle nights) we often hit a place where we’ve lost our momentum. We’ve gone stale and we’re not sure why. Entrepreneurs are a funny breed – we jump headlong in, kill ourselves when we start, and then we start to sputter and stall. We start rapidly losing our momentum.
Here’s how we maintain our momentum and keep getting shit done – even if it might seem counterintuitive at first blush:
- Lower Your Standards
That’s right, lower them suckers! You’re not going to always feel so jazzed about the latest project. Losing some of your excitement is OKAY – it’s normal, it’s healthy – because you’re a human. Beyonce loves to sing and dance, but her passion is not the same everyday. Some days Beyonce eats a cookie and binge watches TV. She (and now you too) knows that motivation and excitement ebb and flow. Give yourself permission to flow and take things easy once in a while.
- Set Time Limits
Set limits on your productivity. If you work everyday for 12 hours on a project after a while you’re going to start resenting the project – it’s taking too long, it’s taking up all your family/me/friend/date time. Pros know that to finish a project, you must be consistent and maintain your momentum. Set a timer, break up your day, take breaks, be a human.
- Ditch Due Dates
“WHAT?! No due dates how will I ever get done?!” Slow your roll babe, if you’re working consistently, with shorter bursts of activity, you WILL get done – promise. Due dates, for a lot of entrepreneurs, are death sentences. The due dates aren’t realistic, they don’t motivate you, they freak you out, make you feel guilty (or worse, ashamed), and create a false sense of outward motivation. Slow and steady wins the race.
Again, before you freak out on me, try it. Don’t read this one little article, change everything in your life, and then get mad when shit still doesn’t get done! Ease into it. Try this approach with a new project. Even better, try it with an old project that has lost some steam. Tweak it modify it, but use this as your starting point. I officially give you permission to be human, try different approaches, fail, succeed without knowing why, and relax a little.
Let me know how this works for you – I’ve watched this approach work for clients and in my own life. Did you tweak it? I’d love to know how.