6 Actionable Ways to Stay Motivated When You’re Self Employed

By Rian Ervin |

Updated Thursday, September 7, 2017

consultant talking on the phone

When you put in long hours without seeing immediate payoff, it can be easy to lose steam.  Find inspiration, keep on task throughout the day, and maintain focus on your goals by following these six motivational tips.

1. Reflect on Your Accomplishments

When you hit a rough patch or mental block, take a step back and think through everything you’ve accomplished. Review the projects you are most proud of. Why were these projects so successful? What steps did you take that made the end result different or unique? Reflecting on what you’ve accomplished can help you see your current work in a new light and perhaps approach it from a different angle.

It’s also important to take time to think back on why you went independent in the first place. Were you looking to pursue a career that let you put your specific talents to use? Did you want better work/life balance? Remind yourself of your initial goals and ensure your daily work is helping you to achieve them.

2. Get into a Routine

It’s not uncommon for independents to struggle with not having a set schedule. Creating a daily routine that helps you stay on track can help you avoid procrastination and distractions and help you stay motivated. List out your objectives for the week and break them down into manageable tasks. You know what time of the day you work best, so structure your days accordingly to maximize productivity.

If you struggle with staying on task and aren’t sure where to start, try the Pomodoro Technique—working in 25-minute increments followed by 5-minute breaks and one longer break when you complete a big task.

3. Stay Social

As many independents know, working from home can be lonely, so be sure to schedule in some social time. Meeting up with other independent professionals to talk about their recent projects, challenges, or future plans can help inspire new ideas and provide perspective. It’s always helpful to have someone you can turn to for advice or bounce ideas off of.

4. Switch Up Your Scenery

Flexibility is a big asset of being independent, so put it to use. If you’re feeling unmotivated, switch up your office for the day. Work from a coffee shop, try out a co-working facility, or rent an hourly space. Sometimes a change of work environment is just what you need to clear your mind and get a fresh start.

5. Reward Yourself

When you run your own business, there’s no boss or coworker to give you praise for a job well done, making it sometimes difficult to stay motivated. Feeling appreciated is an important aspect of work that’s easy to overlook. Encourage yourself and stay driven by planning out a reward that you can work towards. Save larger rewards such as a new office gadget or a weekend trip for when you achieve big goals, and set smaller rewards such as a walk outside or 20 minutes to catch up on news or social media for when you complete more minor milestones throughout the day.

6. Let it Go

Despite your best efforts, some days you simply won’t accomplish anything at all. While that feeling can be frustrating, recognize that it’s okay and that it happens. Even if your productivity varies day-to-day, you still have the luxury of flexibility. Use it to your advantage; if you’re having a slow day, work on a personal project, read a book, or do some networking. Then, use days you’re feeling particularly productive to your advantage.

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