The most common question I receive when coaching people is how to sustain motivation and how to let go of stress.
“How do you stay motivated after the initial rush of inspiration has faded and the hard work begins?”
“I have so much to do today, how can I not be stressed?”
Without motivation, producing quality results is near impossible.
With motivation you can accomplish extra-ordinary things and become hugely successful.
I have had times when I have barely been able to get myself out of bed, because I didn’t feel as though I had a reason to get up.
I have been through times when I can’t sleep because there is so much fun to do!
Motivation comes and goes, but there are a lot of things we can do to keep it for a longer time and keep the lowest levels of motivation from getting too low.
Motivation at work
When I got my first sales job I was very, very motivated. I couldn’t wait to get started.
I started working hard from day one and pushed myself harder than I ever had before.
Things went well for me, for about six months. Then I realized that this job wasn’t really for me, there were a lot of reasons I didn’t like the job, but the main one was the atmosphere at the company. The business plan was to “trick” customers into buying, which didn’t sit well with me.
My motivation started to wane and so did my results.
I stayed at the company much too long, over a year before I quit, but when I found a new job with a better culture and product, my motivation came back.
Since then I have learned several techniques that help keep motivation high.
You cannot motivate someone; they can only motivate themselves
This is both a true and false statement (at least in my belief).
Motivation comes from within, it is our own driving force, but there are tools that can be taught to help you increase and focus you motivation.
The clearer your goals are the more motivated you will be, you will have a sense of purpose, a reason to work harder and to produce results.
As we progress through this book we will be working more and more on bringing clarity to your goals, this will bring you the greatest burst of motivation and the strength to achieve them.
Before we get to that stage though I want you to read these 5 exercises on how to increase your motivation, by using these before and after you have set your goals and made your plans, you will get an even stronger effect from it.
Write down all your projects
To get a better overview of why you are stressed it is important to know where you should start.
Two years ago I was having an introductory meeting with a new student and she told me something very interesting:
“I really want to become better at time management and I have worked at it a lot, I have a weekly plan, I prioritize it, but still when I get ready to start I just feel like there are so many other things I should do. I feel overwhelmed and start running in circles in my mind. All of a sudden an hour has gone by and I haven’t done anything, is there any way to cure this”
This is a very common problem, I am sure you have felt it yourself at one point or another.
Know everything that needs to be done
Keeping an overview of everything that needs to be done makes it easier to focus at one at a time.
This might feel stressful
The first time my wife listed everything she needed to do it was because I had told her to do it about 2000 times, too shut me up she finally did it. The reason she didn’t want to do it was that she was afraid that looking at that list would make it all more real and make her even more stressed.
It is keeping it in your mind that makes you stressed.
When you have to constantly think about and remind yourself about everything that needs to be done you become stressed, you can never put anything away.
Getting it onto a list makes it a lot easier, you can put it aside for the time being knowing you will come back to it soon.
You know what you are working on
Listen to your mind, what are you thinking about? What projects need to be done?
Write down everything, small and large on a list.
Identifying next actions
By identifying next actions you will have an easy actionable list. Things become smaller; you can do these small things to move the project forward. It also helps you from having to think about what needs to be done every time you pick up a new task.
You know you aren’t missing something
When you know you aren’t missing anything you can focus and start working on task number one. This will make you much more efficient and make that list smaller making you even less stressed.
Quickly you can start to get into a positive spiral and become more and more efficient.