It happens to everyone: periods of low motivation and productivity otherwise known as a slump. There are two big problems when a slump happens in home business. The first is that slumps can become a never-ending cycle of low motivation and inactivity. The more you give into your slump, the more of a slump you feel you’re in. The second problem is that if you indulge your slump, your income will drop.
What Causes a Slump?
Before you can take action to get out of a slump, you need to figure out why you’re in it. In many cases, knowing the cause can reveal the solution. Some common factors that lead to a slump include:
- Overwork and stress leading to a burnout
- Seasonal affective disorder
- Failure or disappointment
- Detachment from your goals
In the case of burnout, a little planned R and R can help. For seasonal affective disorder, moving your office to a place where you have natural light or getting a special lamp can improve your mood. However, if your lack of motivation is because of the other reasons, especially if you’ve experienced a failure or disappointment, or are no longer are excited about your goals, it can be difficult to pick yourself up and get moving again.
How to Motivate Yourself When You’re in a Slump
Action is the best remedy for a motivational slump. In many cases, any action is helpful unless your plan is to binge watch Netflix all day. Of course, during a slump, it’s extremely difficult to take positive action. Here are some tricks you can try to get your entrepreneurial mojo back.
Nourish your mind: If you can’t motivate yourself from the inside, let outside factors stir up your desire to reach your goals. A few ways to do this include:
- Reading: Most successful people who have a morning routine, include reading as part of their A.M. ritual. Reading can give you new ideas to try in your business, solutions to problems, as well as inspire you.
- Listen to podcasts: If reading is more effort than you can manage, listen to a podcast or watch a videocast. Similar to books, you can learn new strategies to use in your business and get inspired by the success of others.
Release Negative Energy through Writing: You don’t need to be eloquent or grammatically correct. You don’t even have to know what you’re going to say. Simply get a piece of paper or a journal and start to write whatever comes to your mind. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, suggests writing 3-pages every morning as a way to clarify, prioritize, and synchronize the day. Even you don’t want to take on the task of daily journaling, writing when you’re in a funk is a great way to release the negative energy, put your thoughts and frustrations out on paper, and get clarity about what’s in the way of your success. To offset the negative, you can also spend time reminding yourself and appreciating the good in your life and business. Releasing the negative and refueling with gratitude can give you the energy to take positive action.
Network with Your Tribe: Networking isn’t just about making connections that can grow your business. Through your network, you can also commiserate, receive feedback and help, and get inspired. If possible, connect with your network in person. The level of action required to get out of the house, being in a new setting, and receiving positive energy from those around you can boost your motivation. But if you can’t get out, connect online.
Listen to Music: Believe it or not, music is good for the brain. According to a University of California, Berkeley article, research shows that music can heighten mood, an important factor in getting out of a slump. Music can also reduce stress, improve health, aid in memory, and make us want to move (another way to get out of a funk).
You can choose music that inspires you, such as Ode to Joy by Beethoven. Or put on dance music and your boogie shoes, and move to the rhythm.
Move: A lack of motivation can become a downward spiral of lower and lower activity. A great way to counteract that is by moving. You don’t need to do vigorous activity at a gym. Instead, you can take a walk or a bike ride, stretch or do yoga, dance (see music above), or clean the house. Moving gets the blood flowing which delivers more oxygen to your brain and muscles, which is important to boosting mood. Taking those first steps can be hard. One trick is to play with your kids (i.e. tag in the yard) or ask a friend to go for a walk with you. People are more likely to follow through if they’ve made a commitment to someone else.
Change Your Schedule: If your funk is because you’re bored and uninspired, changing your routine can mix things up to make them interesting again. As a home business owner, you’re the boss, which means you can organize your day however you want.
Change Your Surroundings: Along with re-doing your schedule, changing your surroundings can also boost you out of a slump. One option is to simply go work somewhere else, such as a café, park or museum. Another option is to redo your home office. Moving your desk and redecorating your space can make you feel like you’re in a whole new place. Consider adding a few office plants, which research has shown can help boost health, mood, and productivity.
Reward Yourself: Studies on motivation suggests that in the long run, dangling a carrot doesn’t work to inspire motivation. However, it can work in the short run. If you’re having trouble getting yourself in your desk chair to do the work, give yourself a reward when you do. Choose something that you want and will work for. An example can be, once you complete task A, you’ll have coffee with a friend.
Do Something, Anything: Newton’s first law of motion states that an object at rest (slump) stays at rest (slump) and an object in motion stays in motion. Basically, activity is the best remedy for a slump. Forcing yourself to do something, even just one simple little thing can give you that jump start into further activity. This could be as simple as checking email or calling a client.
Recognize that This Too Will Pass: Life is filled with energy ebbs and flows. While there can be external and emotional causes for a slump, sometimes a drop in energy and motivation happens. The key is to not give into it and instead, keep moving until you get through it.