As many folks do, I apparently have rose colored glasses on when thinking about how I started my private practice the first time around. For some reason, I have forgotten about days (and probably weeks) where I lacked motivation to do what needs to be done. I don’t remember the struggle of putting on pants and doing something productive. It was five years ago, but I’m sure it happened. I’m still figuring out what is going to work for me this time around, but here are a few things that keep me going:
Exercise in the Morning
Whether it’s a walk on the beach (yes, I know I’m spoiled), a bike ride, or a quick kettlebells work out, I am more likely to get things done when I get my blood pumping in the morning. I’m sure there’s some biology behind it as well, but starting the day off doing something that makes me feel stronger is a sure-fire way to be more productive during the day.
It’s next to impossible for me to be super productive at home. There are too many distractions: doing laundry, working on a puzzle, reading, napping on the couch. When I get to the coffee shop down the street, I’m transformed into a work machine. Sure, there are other distractions, but it’s easier for me to stay focused on what I need to be doing. Also, the promise of a second cup of coffee is always a motivator.
Writing action items down makes them more likely to happen in my world. I’ve found two different ways to check these off quickly. First is to use pretty paper and write with a fun pen. As far as I know, there’s no science behind this one, but it happens to work for me. Second is the app To Do List. I tried out several to-do list apps it would always be hand. I like To Do List because you’re able to assign a due date and the whole list shows up when you open the app. You can also create multiple lists if you want. There are others out there (Todoist, Wunderlist, Any.do), so find one that works for you best.
One of the joys of working for yourself is that there’s no boss telling you what to do. It is also one of the pitfalls. Find someone to help keep you accountable to your to-do list. Whether it’s your spouse, colleague, sibling, or friend, check in at least once a week on what you’ve been accomplishing. Provide the same support for them and keep each other honest.
Motivation comes and goes, but when you’re starting out, keeping it going will get you the practice you’ve been working towards. Figure out what works for you and repeat.