Ten Tips To Stay Motivated — Even When You Really Don’t Feel Like Working

It’s a beautiful sunny day. The temperature is just right, and there’s a slight breeze blowing. You’d love to go outside and enjoy the sunshine, but you can’t. Once again, you’re stuck at your computer because you have to meet a deadline.

(Of course, you could take your laptop outside, but you’d still be chained to work and not really free to enjoy the outdoors.)

As a freelancer, you’ve probably experienced those times when you just don’t feel much like working. Personally, I know that there are times when staring at a computer monitor is absolutely the last thing that I really want to do.

It’s normal to lose your motivation for work from time to time, even if you totally love your job. Giving in to a lack of motivation, however, can lead to missed deadlines and lost clients. To run a successful freelance business, you have to stay motivated.

What’s a freelancer to do when there’s work to be done, but work is the last thing that he or she feels like doing?

Ten Handy Tips To Stay Motivated

Here are ten handy tips for staying motivated even if working is just about the last thing that you want to do.

  1. Remind yourself of the reason that you freelance. Perhaps you’re freelancing because you really need the money — a quick look at your checkbook may be all that it takes to bring yourself back to the reality of needing to finish your project. Or, maybe you freelance because you really disliked the corporate cubicle environment. If so, taking a moment to picture yourself back in a cubicle may jumpstart your productivity.
  2. Make sure that your work environment is comfortable. It’s easy to forget about comfort when setting up a home office, but an uncomfortable workspace can definitely deflate your motivation. If you’re going to spend long periods of time on the computer, then you should make sure that you have a comfortable environment. Make sure that your chair is adjusted properly and that your monitor and keyboard are at the proper height for your body.
  3. Change your work environment. As a freelancer you can work pretty much anywhere — the kitchen table, the couch, the car, the backyard, you name it and you can probably work there. Also, remember that many public areas such as libraries and coffee shops offer WiFi access. There’s no rule that says you have to work inside your home, so you may find that a change of scenery helps bolster your desire to work.
  4. Schedule breaks. If you find your motivation is waning, make sure to schedule regular breaks for yourself. Tell yourself that you’re going to take fifteen minutes off after you complete x amount of work. When you do take a break, don’t just continue to sit at your computer. Get up and take a walk, run a short errand, or do some exercises. You’ll find that not only do you look forward to each break, but that each break renews and refreshes your energy and creativity.
  5. Plan a reward for yourself. Bribery can and does work when it comes to staying motivated. If you’re working on a particularly long or difficult project, tell yourself that when you complete this project you’ll be able to do x (with x being something that you’ll look forward to). Your reward could be as simple as watching a movie that you’ve been wanting to see, or as large as buying something for yourself that you’ve wanted for a long time.
  6. Alternate projects. In general, it’s best to avoid interruptions. However, if you find yourself getting bogged down in a particular project (and your schedule allows for it), then you may went to switch to a different project for a while. Be careful to choose something that uses a different part of your skillset. Often working on something different for a while lets you return to the project that you were “stuck” on with fresh energy and fresh ideas.
  7. Picture the work already completed. When you are working alone on a large project it can seem like the work is going on forever without any end in sight. In such instances, it can be helpful to look ahead and envision what it will be like when the project is completed. Imagine the relief that you will feel knowing that the project is finally done and done well. Try to picture yourself getting payment and perhaps compliments for the final work.
  8. Have regular routine. Habits can be powerful things. It’s a proven fact that a habit can be very difficult to break. Some people have made a small fortune with books and courses to help people break their bad habits. In the case of freelancing, habits can be a good thing. If you develop the habit of working during a certain part of the day, every day, then you you’ll find it much easier to schedule your time and ensure that all projects are completed on time.
  9. Take care of your health. It’s no fun working when you are sick, and that’s a fact. Fortunately, a lot of health problems can be prevented. Take measures to make sure that you stay as healthy as you possibly can. Eat right. Get enough rest and exercise. See your doctor on a regular basis and follow his or her recommendations. The better you feel, the more work that you will be able to get done.
  10. Develop a support group. It’s important to have friends and interests outside of your work as well as colleagues who can understand and support what you’re going through. We’ve already discussed the importance of overcoming loneliness and building a flesh-and-blood support group. If you haven’t already taken these steps, you should. I can’t emphasize enough the value of having friends and confidantes for a freelancer.

How Do You Stay Motivated?

What do you do when you just don’t feel like working?

Share your best tips and ideas here.

Top photo by limaoscarjuliet