Battle Burnout: Tips for Designers, Managers, Entrepreneurs
This is an excerpt from Go Media President William Beachy’s book, Drawn to Business. Drawn to Business is the best reference for those looking to start their own million dollar business.
Building a business requires massive amounts of focus and energy. It’s perfectly natural to have moments where you feel absolutely fried. You won’t feel motivated to lift a single finger. Finding ways to motivate yourself are key in business and in life. Here is a list of motivators I’ve used to keep myself productive:
8 Secrets to Battling Burnout
1. Start with the low fruit. It’s always easiest to start with simple tasks and build up to larger ones. So as you look over your list of everything you need to do, pick something simple to get the ball rolling.
Block out the noise with these apps:
Anti-Social: blocks social media sites which take you away from what you need to be doing
StayFocused: an extension by Google Chrome which increases your productivity by limiting the time that you can spend on time-wasting websites
2. Make checklists. I’m not sure why exactly, but checklists have always been a motivator for me. Perhaps it’s because I can see a well-defined list of the things I need to get done. Or perhaps it’s the visceral satisfaction of crossing items off my list after I’m done. Whatever it is, I believe in lists.
Try Teux Deux: a straight-forward and simple to-do app
Lift App: employs coaching, community and data to help get things done
Any.do: a task list app available on Google Play and the Apple App store
Wunderlist: an easy way to manage and share your to-do lists
2Do: allows for color coding of tasks, scheduling, notifications and tags
Todosit: enables you to access your tasks anywhere as well as collaborate on shared tasks
3. Break down your large to-do items into smaller tasks. Sometimes when I’m having a difficult time getting started on a particular project, it’s because the project is large with lots of work required to finish it. The size of the project alone is what’s intimidating. “Well, I know I’ll never be able to finish that project today—so why start? That won’t be very rewarding.” But any large project can be broken down into smaller steps - baby steps. Focus on one of the baby steps and give yourself a reward when you’ve finished it.
4. Make a game out of it. This works particularly well when faced with boring repetitive work. How many widgets can you design in an hour?
5. Make a story out of it. If the context of your project is boring, then you need to use your imagination! Imagine for a moment that your logo design project is not for the local private school, but for a covert military organization. This shift in perspective can really boost your enthusiasm. Also, it can push your design to a higher standard.
6. Find Inspiration. Read a book, talk to other entrepreneurs, or browse the web. Do whatever it takes to reignite the fire in your belly. When illustrating was the focus of my business, I would drive to the local comic book shop to get inspired. These days it’s a good business biography that inspires me the most.
7. Do Nothing. When nothing else is working, I will turn to this technique. Now, I know this might seem contrary to what you’re hoping to accomplish, but let me explain. Sometimes if I’m having a really hard time focusing and working hard, I just don’t. I just stop. I’ll take a nap, watch TV, go for a walk or browse the web. In my experience, if I just let myself take a little break, my motivation will come back on its own. It’s only when I try to force myself to work hard when I’m not in the mood that I feel really bad.
8. Set a time limit. Before you try the “Do Nothing” technique, try giving yourself a short-term goal. Like: work hard for one hour. Sometimes you just need to get the ball rolling and before you know it, three hours will have passed. So, pick something manageable—maybe even break it down to 15 minutes. I’m going to sit and write my book for 15 minutes (yes, I’m using this technique right now)!
Rescue Time: tracks time spent on applications and websites, gives you detailed reports about your day
Toggl: tracks time, showing you what you spent your day on and for how long you worked on each task
ATracker: for iPhone and iPad – tracks your time and reports via pie chart, bar chart and data export
Eternity Time Log: for iPhone and iPad – tracks and times your daily tasks with a simple start and stop feature
What tricks and tools do you use to keep yourself on track?