Sometimes being a business owner is all sunshine and productivity, long lunches, bursts of creative inspiration and general fabulousness with the odd afternoon nap thrown in. But sometimes you wake up feeling a bit flat, your motivation is at an all time low, you're not really sure why you're working so hard. More often than not this feeling goes as quickly as it comes but it's best not to let to funk take hold. I'm a pretty optimistic person most of the time but occasionally I need a little help to boost my mood. Here's some of my almost failsafe ways to put the perk in my day.
1. Step Away From The Computer
Sometimes, we work too much. Do you sometimes have days when you sit at the computer for 8 hours and achieve sod all. So walk away for a while. What's the worst that could happen? Treat yourself to an hour in the fresh air. Go to a coffee shop with a book and have an hour away from it all. Or do you know what, sod it, have an entire day off. You'll come back to your desk feeling refreshed, re-energised and ready to work.
2. Book something.
Here's a tactic I only use once or twice a year - mainly because it's expensive! Book yourself on something you'd really like to do. Maybe that's a workshop with your favourite photographer, an activity day or perhaps a holiday with your family. Once that's in your diary you'll be motivated to work and earn the money to pay for it.
I'm an avid reader. I have been since I was a child. In the days before I had children I used to get through two or three books a week. In the first couple of years of running a business I really let my reading habit slip. Whenever I wasn't working I felt guilty. That was such a mistake. Now I make sure I read for at least an hour a day. It feeds the soul.
4. Goal Setting
How do you know if you're achieving your goals if you haven't even set them? How do you define your success if you've not decided what success means to you? Everyone's idea of success will be completely different (another good reason not to compare yourself to others). Writing down your goals is an amazing way of making yourself aware of what you want. Last year I wrote a business plan with my goals on for the year. Each month I'd go back and update my progress. It was so satisfying and motivating to see myself achieving the goals I'd set. This year I've gone one step further. As well as my business plan I've also made a list of 101 goals. (Well, I'm on 53 but I intend to keep adding to the list.) There's some massive goals on there that would take me years to achieve (the second home by the sea for instance) but there's lots of little and medium sized ones too. I've literally listed everything I would like to happen in my business and importantly, in my life. I'm going to go back to it regularly to add more things and to take pleasure in ticking off the ones I've already achieved! If I'm having a down day and motivation is lacking, I only need to go back to my goals and see how far I've come.
5. Make A Vision Board
This is a great technique if you like to look at your goals. You can make a board of all your goals and aspirations and stick it in your office where you can see it everyday. Or you could make a Pinterest board of images so you can carry it round with you all the time. Pin things to your boards which represent your goals and dreams. Having that in your workspace is a daily reminder of what you're working for and gives you a dose of motivation when you're flagging.
6. Motivational Reading
If you'd have told me a couple of years ago that I would be reading self help books I'd have laughed in your face. Actually laughed. They're not for everyone but some can really lift you out of a funk. I try to read 10 minutes of something motivational in the morning to get me in the mood for the day. Here are some of my favourites
Girl Boss by Sophie Amoruso - not a self help book as such but a very motivational story of one woman's journey from destitution to riches.
Get Rich Lucky Bitch - Denise Duffield Thomas - Brilliant and less woo woo introduction to some of the concepts of the Law of Attraction (with swearing)
Coming Up Roses - Cath Kidston. If you've read my blog you know I'm a massive Cath K fan. This book was brought out to celebrate her 20th Anniversary in business and one of my lovely and oldest friends bought it me as a gift when I left my day job. I devoured it. It's not a self help book, it's not a 'how to' book but it's so inspirational to see how she went from junk shop owner to multi millionaire. Plus it's pretty.
7. Dwell on the good things in your life.
This is such a powerful technique to get you out of a bad mood. If you're having one of those days when the universe seems to be against you and everything is going wrong - do this. Write a list of 10 good things that have happened to you in the past month, or week or even day. Little tiny good things to big good things. They all count. At first you might think you could never get to 10 but it's actually pretty easy. It's often easy to forget to celebrate the small successes you have every day when you're running a businesses. This is a great way to remind yourself just how well you're doing.
8. Listen to a podcast.
As a photographer, a lot of my time is spent at the computer editing images. Listening to podcasts whilst I work is a great way to keep my mood up and learn something whilst I'm working. I love the feeling of multi-tasking. There's a lot of great podcasts out there. For photographers try Sprouting Photographer, James Wedmore's Mind Your Business or even You Tube. There's also a ton of motivational audio books too. I've already mentioned The Secret which is one of my favourites but I also love The Aladdin Factor and The Fire Starter Sessions too. Pop them on in the background as you work. If you listen to them again and again, it all seeps into your consciousness.
9. Try some positive affirmations.
I know. Totally flipping hippie right? Probably best to try this somewhere quiet and private rather than on the bus or something. Repeating positive affirmations to yourself even for just a couple of minutes is a really quick and easy way to boost your mood. If you're not sure where to start check out James Wedmore's podcast. Mine include (don't judge me) "Prosperity and abundance flows to me easily." "I deserve the successful business I have built." and other such hippie woo woo. If you've got something particular on that day you can repeat some positive affirmations about it, such as "I'm going to do an amazing job of photographing this wedding today." Honestly, give it a go. If someone walks in the room you sound like a knob but aside from that it's very effective.
10. Take up a hobby.
This might seem like a weird one. We're creative business owners. We've made a business out of our hobbies. I love photography, that's why I started this business. But the bulk of my time is spent on editing, admin, blogging and marketing. Most of the time I love every aspect of running a business but just occasionally the daily grind can make you forget why you started it. So my advise is to take up another hobby. Something you do purely just for the enjoyment. It doesn't matter if you're not very good at it, it only matters that you enjoy it. I enjoy being very mediocre at crochet, knitting and sewing.
Do you have any motivational tips? Leave a comment below and share them with us all.