No one feels motivated to give it their all 100 percent of the time. Whether it’s your job or your personal goals, there are some days where you simply feel like you’re out of energy and you can’t muster up the willpower to do anything productive. These are the times when you need to listen to your inner self and give your mind and body the break they need to recharge.
While what motivates people can differ, it sometimes helps to know what others in your shoes have done to relight their own fires. That’s why we asked the following question:
No matter how passionate you are about your work or pursuing your personal goals, there are times when you feel completely unmotivated, when you have to force yourself to do something — anything — productive, and you know that you’re not doing your best work. What is the best way to regain your energy and drive?
Here’s what members of the Young Entrepreneur Council said:
I’ve found that listening to classical music helps me regain my focus and drive to accomplish tasks I may not otherwise be excited to finish. Something about the different melodies help boost my energy and concentration. I also like that the songs don’t have distracting lyrics and it’s just instrumental.
When I get stuck, I go hang out with my friends. We don’t talk about business; we talk about our personal lives and have fun. It’s a big distraction from my previously unmotivated-self. Usually, after being with friends I feel completely refreshed and ready to tackle the tasks at hand.
The brain needs rest, too. There is a feeling that if you are not always working, you are lazy, and that is just not true. If you are unmotivated or are not doing your best work, step away. Take an hour, a day, a weekend and don’t think about your work. When you return, you will likely find yourself motivated again.
I’m a believer that you should listen to your mind and body and do the tasks that will get you back into some kind of flow. Feeling too lazy to tackle that presentation? Buy the Amazon office supplies you’ve been eyeing and clean out your paper tray. Hopefully you’ll hit on some good energy or motivation by succeeding at easy things, and be able to channel that into your meatier tasks.
Too many people in startups are hashtagging #grind and #hustle. Many are burning out by thinking they have to put in the 12-hour days. The truth is, operating like this does your business a disservice. Go on a digital hiatus for a couple days. Your business is not going to die because of it. Take time for yourself and you’ll find the energy to give your business the time it needs.
In the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, author Angela Duckworth states that those with grit have an overarching goal for their lives — a mission statement, so to speak. Create a goal hierarchy with your life mission statement goal at the top, as well as medium-sized goals that help you reach your overarching goal. Tape a printed copy of it next to your workstation to help inspire you.
If you are feeling disconnected or ambivalent, it is a clear sign that you need to hit pause. Take 30 minutes, an hour, or a day and do something that energizes you. Maybe you need to take a yoga class, grab a drink and catch up with an old friend, read a book or maybe you just need to sleep. Whatever it is, indulge in something that helps you step away from work both physically and mentally.
There is a really cool journal called the 5 Minute Journal that you can get on Amazon. Every morning and evening, you spend five minutes writing to reflect on your day and life. The journal is templated so it is really easy to write and it makes you think about your goals. This always gives me energy and reminds me to drive forward towards my goals.
The best and quickest way that I have personally found is to take a break and go to the gym and work out — transforming the mental focus into a physical focus. The brain is a muscle, and through physical activity we will increase oxygen flow, boost our memory, improve concentration, enhance creativity and most importantly, slow cognitive decline. Regain your energy by making exercising a habit.
Ask yourself one question in a variety of different contexts. That question is, “Why?” Why are you unmotivated? Why are you in the business you are in? Why is it that you’re not performing at your best? All of the questions will help you identify your overall purpose either in business or in life, or both, and the result should be a more motivated you who is back on track.