If you’re feeling uninspired, unproductive or burnt out over a long period of time, you may be in a slump — and that’s completely normal. Even the most motivated and positive people can experience this from time to time.
While it may be frustrating in the moment, getting into a slump doesn’t mean you have to stay there. To find out more, we asked the members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:
What is your preferred way of boosting your motivation when you feel like you are in a slump?
1. Reward Yourself
When my motivation is low, I like to reward myself with a nice dinner or new suit. The reward helps to remind me of the benefits of hard work. Additionally, it provides enjoyment and an opportunity for downtime to recharge my batteries. Celebrating my achievements also helps to boost confidence and be a reminder of overcoming adversity.
2. Listen to Music
Slumps are increasing because people are able to communicate faster than ever before. The result is we are able to get less done, which brings on a slump where we fall even more behind. When I find myself edging towards feeling down, I put on a playlist with all of my favorite albums since I was in high school. I find that this is a great way to improve my mood and boosts my motivation.
3. Take a Step Back
When I feel my motivation slipping, it’s usually due to the fact that I overexerted myself on our last project. I take a step back and analyze the situation. Sometimes I need some rest, sometimes I realize that my diet is lacking essential nutrients, and other times I’m overthinking and bringing myself down. Identifying what’s leeching your motivation is the first step in resolving the issue.
4. Change Locations
It’s normal to sometimes have a motivation slump. In these instances, I find it helpful to give myself a change of scenery. I’m usually really productive from my office. But some days, it’s better to go work at a coffee shop, co-working space or library for an invigorating change of atmosphere. If you can’t leave the office, consider sitting someplace new within your office for a different energy.
5. Take a Creative ‘Time Out’
When I feel like I’m in a slump, sometimes I’ll try to take a creative “time out” by reading a thought-provoking book, scrolling Pinterest or Instagram, or hit up an art gallery. Essentially, I need to clear my head and shake it out to get my juices flowing again. Undoubtedly, this reinvigorates me to jump back into whatever I need to with a fresh outlook.
6. Focus on Long-Term Goals
When I feel like I’m in a slump, it’s usually because I’m missing the big picture and getting stuck on some temporary obstacle. To get inspired again, I take a step back and consider what I want to accomplish, long-term. If it’s a specific problem, it helps to focus on something else so I can return with a new perspective. Getting feedback from people I trust is also useful if I’m in a mental rut.
7. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Tasks
I’ve noticed that motivation is hardest when you’re trying to achieve a big goal, but haven’t broken it down to smaller tasks and sub-tasks. To boost motivation, I break down goals into smaller, more manageable tasks and reward myself after completing each task.
8. Listen to Podcasts
Self-help podcasts are my main way of boosting motivation when it’s running low. Listening to someone as if they’re talking to you is therapeutic because it makes you feel included in the conversation and you can ease into it.
Exercise has been really good, and very healthy, for me. I’m completely addicted to exercise because any time I feel some kind of stress, some intense cardio really helps me. My favorite is SoulCycle or any kind of really good workout class that is set to really good music.
10. Revisit Your Purpose in Life
I hardly ever lose my motivation because I’m deeply in love with what I do. But if I were to give others some advice, I’d say you should regain your meaning. People lose motivation because of two things: They are either burned out or they’ve lost their purpose. If burnout is not the case, then you need to add more purpose to your life, and there’s no better way to do it than by helping others.
11. Create a Vision Board
Create a vision board that is easily accessible (take a picture of it to keep on your phone). Include on the board everything to do with your “why.” You can have pictures of vacations you want to take, causes you want to give to, your dream home, family pictures, etc. Whatever it is you are aiming to accomplish, feature it on your vision board to look at when you are in need of motivation.
12. Have an Adventure
I love to travel and make sure I stay in the physical shape that allows me to participate in adventure sports at the drop of a hat. When I hit a wall and find my motivation is lacking, I hit the road or the skies. The rush of adrenaline surfing an unfamiliar break in Costa Rica or zip lining in Belize is just the mental jolt that restarts my system.
13. Spend Time With Family
When I am feeling unmotivated or apathetic, I gain a boost after spending time with my family. Whether it’s a lunch date or a weekend trip, I always find happiness, gratitude, energy and motivation when I spend time with my loved ones.
14. Talk to a Customer
The best thing I know is to talk to one of our customers. I set it up as a research call, then I ask them about how they use our product and the value they get from it. As they talk, I listen closely for problems they have that we haven’t solved — and there is always something. Every time I do a call like this, I come away energized and full of new ideas.
15. Remember Why You Started the Project
When I lack motivation, I ask myself why I started this project in the first place. Remembering what it was I was going for in the beginning usually fires me back up.
16. Practice Gratitude
To boost my motivation when I feel like I’m in a slump, I think about all the obstacles that my company and I have been through and how far we’ve come and give thanks for all the things that we have been able to achieve. I usually do this with a short meditation by stopping everything I’m doing for five minutes and just taking deep breaths and being thankful for all the good things.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.