Trying to run your own business is tough enough, but the slow days of late summer can be the hardest time to stay motivated.
Here are 10 tips to keep your business going during the dog days of summer.
1. Find motivation — even in the smallest things
It’s something of an athlete cliché to find motivation in the smallest things – Michael Jordan was famously motivated by not making his high school basketball team.
That’s not always a healthy attitude, but a healthy sense of competition can keep you going. You earned your place – hard work can help you keep it.
2. Make a list
Before you go to bed each night, take a few minutes and write down what you want to get done the next day. Try to get through all of them, but if not, just add them to the next day’s list.
Writing down your objectives serves two purposes – it clears your head for a good night’s sleep and gives you a set of directions to start the next day with.
3. Create your own quitting time
Owning your own business can feel like a 24-7 anchor around your neck. Give yourself dedicated time off so you can recharge.
By telling yourself that you have Sunday off or that you’re quitting at 7:30 pm, it gives yourself time to relax. Sometimes, to keep going, you have to allow yourself to stop.
4. Indulge in small summer pleasures
Looking out the window and seeing summer rushing by can make you feel like you’re being punished – why don’t you get to have any fun? That’s why it is important to keep a folder of fun summer events nearby. Scheduling one a week will help give you a break.
If you can’t get away, do something small, such as taking a walk at lunch and stopping by the ice cream truck.
5. Revisit your vision
Why are you running your business? What are your goals? In the daily grind, it’s tough to keep your vision and goals clear and sharp. Summertime is a good time to create a vision board – a written down elucidation of what you want and where you’re going – so you can refer back to it.
6. Alter your routine
Summertime is a good time to change things up. Small changes in context can make a big difference in motivation levels, bursts of fresh thinking and increased drive.
Try taking a meeting or two outside. Work from a coffee shop for the afternoon. Turn what’s usually a solo responsibility into a group effort, or vice versa.
7. Follow the 15-minute rule
If there’s an ugly task you’re finally getting around to, try working on it for just 15 minutes. No matter how bad it is, you can stand it for 15 minutes. By working on it bit by bit, you can get a lot done.
The hardest part of a task is usually starting, and knowing you can quit so soon can help you get through it.
8. Rethink your time zone
If you live on the West Coast, try a week of keeping East Coast hours, especially if you do business with people on the East Coast. Book all of your bicoastal meetings on New York time, between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. By noontime, you’ve got the afternoon off.
9. Keep up with your exercise
Working at a desk can leave you feeling sleepy, especially in hot and muggy weather. If you’ve got a treadmill desk, though, you can keep your energy levels up.
Walking raises your serotonin level, which is good for sharpening attention and keeping your focus up.
10. Offer summertime incentives
Working at a small business, whether it is a startup or well-established, can be a lifestyle choice as much as a job. Reward employees who put in those extra hours with some perks, such as happy hours, massages, gift cards and healthy lunches.