Social media is blowing up with pictures of all your friends at the beach, you can’t get a solid night’s sleep due to your antique AC unit, and it seems like there is a long weekend every other week... Summer is definitely not the easiest time of year for anyone to be productive, even the most driven of entrepreneurs.
In the fast-paced startup world, distractions are everywhere, but the "work hard, play hard" ethic is strong. However, despite being some of the most dedicated and motivated people out there, sometimes even entrepreneurs have a hard time staying on track when the sun is shining and "play hard" temptations abound. So how can we stay motivated during these peak summer months?
Motivate Yourself From the Ground Up
In my years of working with startups teams, I've been able to identify a few central themes behind the working habits of most successful and prolific entrepreneurs. I advise you to use these tips as a starting point, not as a prescription. We all have to find the balance that works best for us and the most realistic way to integrate it into our daily routine.
1. Create a Positive Workplace Environment
There's nothing worse than trying to get work done in an environment that you dislike. Luckily, there are many ways to create a better and more productive workplace for ourselves. Personalizing our work space, setting aside areas for relaxation or quiet reading, filling the office with plants (real, not fake!), even painting the walls a different color can make a big difference. Create a space that inspires you to look forward to coming to work rather than dreading it. As an article on Business News Daily puts it,
"Everything from physical changes (like lighting and organization) to shifts in the company culture and management techniques can turn company from a place to merely put in hours and get a paycheck into a place employees love going everyday."
2. Find a Form of Release
Whether your style is yoga, kickboxing, or swimming, the important part is that we find a way to release stress and avoid burning out. Anything that gets us out of our chairs and allows our brain a brief respite from the heavy burden of constant decision-making helps us recharge both mentally and physiologically. As an article on Forbes mentions,
"By nature, exercise is similar to entrepreneurship - both involve hard work, excuses are not welcome either, and they're all about personal development. The dedication and motivation that comes from exercise carries over to entrepreneurship..."
At the end of the day, everyone is different: one person might find solace in meditation and a cup of Rooibos tea, while another might enjoy a rigorous workout or a friendly game of ping-pong. It’s up to each of us to find our own individual routine that helps us stay focused and motivated.
3. Don't Lose Sight of the Big Picture
It is often easy to get sucked into the daily grind of our To Do List and lose sight of what we are really working towards. When we keep our heads down, the light at the end of the tunnel can seem further and further away with each passing day. Finding a way to remind ourselves of our larger goals is important to staying inspired and motivated. An article on Entrepreneur suggests,
"Do whatever it takes to keep your goal in sight. Write it down on a huge sticky note and plaster that note to your computer. Find an image that represents your goal and hang it in your line of vision."
4. Set Quantifiable, Achievable Goals
While overarching goals are helpful for seeing the big picture, it's equally important to set short-term goals that give us the satisfaction of achievement and forward momentum each day. Evaluate your long-term goals and the vision you have for your company and then break them down into more manageable daily or weekly goals. Achieving these milestones serves as a reminder that we are making progress, even when our goals seem far off.
Creating and monitoring short and long-term goals also gives us the opportunity to hold ourselves accountable for our progress, and personal accountability is one of the best ways to keep ourselves motivated. An article on Inc. suggests,
"Surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable for the goals you have set to achieve. These accountability partners will be there to provide support, a listening ear, and motivation when you most need it."
Through experimentation and trying new tactics that have worked for others, you can create a routine for yourself that works to keep you motivated each day. When we spend the day working hard, we give ourselves the opportunity to play hard without sacrificing our progress and momentum. This not only helps us avoid the seasonal temptations the summer brings, but it also starts us on a path to greater productivity and success.
What helps you stay motivated during vacation season? Tweet @SparkLabKC to share your tips!