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How to Stay Motivated and On-Track When You’re Struggling

How to Stay Motivated and On-Track When You’re Struggling

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    Maybe you’ve been trying to kick-start your business and it just hasn’t worked yet. Maybe you’ve just started but you’re already frustrated. Or maybe you’ve wanted to hit that next level for years and haven’t been able to get there. Regardless of your situation, getting motivated and on-track isn’t difficult. It’s staying that way that’s the trick. And when you’re struggling to “make it,” sometimes it’s even harder. You find yourself wandering, letting yourself get distracted, and wondering if you’ll ever really make your mark. Want to end the cycle of struggle? Master these tips and you’ll be virtually unstoppable.

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    First, know that this is a temporary state. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been where you are. All that you need to know is that nothing is permanent. All things change, even if it seems that they don’t. It’s simply a law of nature — nothing stays the same forever. The universe is constantly moving, evolving, and changing, and so are you. So instead of seeing this as a neverending path into darkness, know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and every day, it’s getting closer. And as soon as you get a new client, sell your first product, or hit that next target, everything within you will shift.

    Second, remind yourself what you’re fighting for. When you’ve been trying to make something happen for awhile, you can start to lose sight of the end goal. Instead of focusing on the reason you started this journey in the first place, you begin to focus on smaller, more immediate outcomes. For example, if you started your business so you could eventually free up enough time to spend with your family, but you’ve been working for a long time and haven’t seen the results you’d expected or hoped for, your goal may have shifted from “be with my family” to “make my business work.” This has exactly the opposite effect than you originally intended. By shifting your priorities, now you’re probably spending less time with your family.

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    Sometimes it’s helpful to create tangible reminders of the reason you started down this path.  A vision board may be useful, or just a statement, penned boldly and tacked to a bulletin board near your workspace. If you want to remind yourself of a forgotten goal and reintegrate it into your thinking process and mindset, set your alarm a few minutes earlier each morning and spend that time meditating on what you’re working towards. Reaffirm what you’re fighting for and you’ll find the will to fight is restored and renewed once more.

    Third, believe in yourself. It can be hard to believe in yourself when you’ve been trying to make something work for a long time. Sometimes you just lose faith in your own ability to make it work or see it through. One of the best ways to stay strong in your belief in yourself is to keep track of your successes, even the small ones. When you’re feeling down on yourself, go back to the list of successes and review them. Remind yourself that you are capable and you can make this work.

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    Another way to rebuild your confidence involves something social psychologists have known for decades — that our feelings about ourselves are frequently a reflection of how we think others perceive us. So take advantage of that! Read through your client testimonials and e-mails. Ask your clients for periodic evaluations and you’re bound to receive some fantastic feedback (and if there are some negatives, folks, that’s a great learning experience — it tells you exactly what you need to do to improve and make your clients happy). Even if your faith in yourself falters, others still believe in you.

    Finally, get help before you’re in crisis. If your business isn’t where you want it to be, if you aren’t making the leaps ahead that you want to be making, there’s obviously something going on. Before things go too far, before you get lost and become totally unmotivated, get help!

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    The problem may be with your business — it could be a branding issue, a marketing issue, or maybe just you aren’t giving your clients what they want.  Hire a consultant who can turn your business inside out finding ways to improve your results. The problem may also lie within — you yourself might benefit from some “fine-tuning.” Hire a coach and work through any roadblocks that may be getting in the way of your success. Hire a mentor and model his/her behavior. Or if you’re struggling with self-discipline and need a budget solution, ask a reliable friend to be your accountability partner so you both can improve.

    As you begin to master the ability to keep your motivation high, it will become easier to stay on-track. Moments of frustration will be fewer and farther between and, as you master your mindset, you’ll find that you actually achieve success and reach your targets faster.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

    How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

    We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

    So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

    While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

    Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

    What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

    How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

    But what does being productive actually entail?

    Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

    Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

    It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

    Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

    9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

    1. Avoid Multitasking

    Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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    Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

    If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

    2. Turn off Notifications

    According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

    Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

    The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

    Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

    3. Manage Interruptions

    There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

    Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

    If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

    By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

    4. Eat the Frog

    Mark Twain once famously said that:

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    “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

    What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

    We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

    Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

    5. Cut Down on Meetings

    Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

    You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

    The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

    But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

    If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

    6. Utilize Tools

    Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

    If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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    And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

    Some examples of tools that could be used:

    Communication
    • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
    • Samepage for video conference software.
    • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
    Task Management
    • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
    • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
    • Wekan for an open source option.
    Database Management
    Time Tracking
    • Clockify for a free tracker.
    • TMetric for workspace integrations.
    • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

    You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

    7. Declutter and Organize

    Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

    Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

    Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

    Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

    8. Take Breaks

    Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

    As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

    Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

    Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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    9. Drink Water

    Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

    Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

    Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

    A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

    If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

    You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

    The Bottom Line

    The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

    After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

    In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

    A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

    Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    More About Boosting Productivity

    Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

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