Many people dream of becoming an entrepreneur—turning a cause close to your heart into a viable business opportunity is an exciting prospect.
Plus, you get to be your own boss and set your own timings—you answer to no one but yourself.
But that isn’t as much of a perk as entrepreneurs expect it to be. Being your own boss means managing everything yourself—there is nobody else who can do your job.
As a result, you are always ‘on the job’, which means long hours working through problems and finding solutions, even when the clock ticks 5pm.
Being an entrepreneur 24/7 is equal parts mentally taxing and invigorating. While your mind being constantly engaged is exciting when first starting out, it can be wearing if day after day, you have no break from work.
Even if most entrepreneurs enjoy being on call for the majority of their time, the demands on them can eventually become overwhelming.
This could lead to poor work quality, difficulties communicating, and decreasing motivation. All qualities that an entrepreneur needs to possess in abundance throughout their career.
After all, you don’t want to be part of the 70% of startups that don’t survive till their tenth anniversary, according to these startup statistics.
So, the question is, how do you keep yourself motivated when you’re always switched on? Here are the top five ways entrepreneurs can keep themselves motivated.
1. Create Task Lists
Task lists are an essential part of office workflow—they help keep you organized during your day and ensure you don’t miss important appointments or duties.
For an entrepreneur who has a lot more on their plate than employees and managers do, a task list is essential for working efficiently, and consequently, staying motivated.
There is nothing worse than walking into the office in the morning, ready to tackle certain projects, only to find out that you had missed a deadline for a task.
In corporate life, there are always unexpected interruptions in your day—you can’t prepare for those, but you can be ready for tasks you already know about.
You can make checklists for different items on your agenda—things to do on a daily basis, tasks for a particular project, presentation ideas, meetings, among other things.
Create a detailed task list and prioritize your items according to urgency and importance. You will always find some tasks that can be dealt with later so you can concentrate on others first.
Using a checklist to manage your work and time is a great motivator—there is no better feeling than checking off an item on your list.
Take some time out every morning to update your task list, and add items as they come, so you are at the top of your game at all times.
2. Take Time Away from Work
Being an entrepreneur is more than a full-time job but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a break from work every now and then.
Working all the time doesn’t make you productive—in fact, you can end up feeling more fatigued and less inspired if all you think about is work.
Instead of spending your mental energy planning out meetings and growth strategies, unplug from work for a little while every day.
Set aside sometime when you don’t look at work emails, don’t answer phone calls, and switch off from work-mode.
This could be the time that you spend with your family, reading a book, or listening to a podcast.
Whatever you do with this time away from work, the point is to rejuvenate your mind so you can come back to work afresh, motivated, and brimming with new ideas.
3. Meet People Outside Your Company
As we have reiterated, being an entrepreneur is a non-stop job. But one of the consequences of this is that you end up spending a large portion of your time with people within your company, or at the very least, affiliated to it.
You will be meeting with managers, employees, stakeholders, partners, and board members on a regular basis. But you will find that these interactions are too internally-focused.
How do you broaden your mind, your horizons, and your company’s prospects if you are only looking within? You can’t do so with such a narrow focus.
Take the time to meet with people outside your company, and even outside your industry, if you can. Networking has always been great for business and to boost motivation.
Is your company in the hospitality industry? Perhaps you could meet with someone who creates ecommerce apps. This meeting could lead to a new proposition, or to generate new ideas.
By meeting people outside your sphere of influence, you not only increase your pool of ideas and contacts, but you keep yourself motivated by knowing how many possibilities are out there for your business.
4. Find Hobbies
You might be thinking: how can an entrepreneur even think of spending time on hobbies? But this is actually a crucial way to avoid burnout and stay motivated.
The hobbies you take up can be as simple as doing an inbound marketing course, or going kite-surfing, as Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, enjoys.
Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, bakes cupcakes, not just to relax, but to help her innovate new ideas for her company.
As an entrepreneur, you will struggle to find time in your busy schedule to do anything but work. But as we have already said, looking internally won’t help you ideate new growth plans for your company, nor will it keep you motivated.
Take up a hobby that you enjoy and you will find yourself working harder and better at your job.
5. Embrace the Power of ‘No’
You can’t do everything on your own, no matter how much you may want to. But entrepreneurs have so much to do—what other choice do they have but to keep slogging away?
This is when you have to learn how to say ‘no’. It won’t be easy to say no to potential new clients, or a new idea from your team, but it is something you have to do.
The point of saying ‘no’ to things is so that you can make the most of what you have on your plate currently.
By accepting every request that comes your way, you may be able to increase your client list, but the quality of your work will suffer. Which will lead to clients leaving, and your motivation levels dropping rapidly.
Instead of taking on every task that comes your way, delegate it to others, and if that’s not possible, reject the task entirely.
Executing your current tasks to the best of your abilities will lead to better customer retention and will keep you motivated.
Being an entrepreneur is a full-time, stressful job, but you needn’t lose your motivation because of it.
Stay organized with detailed task lists and take regular breaks from work.
Meet people outside your company to boost ideas and motivation, and spend time on hobbies unrelated to work.
Finally, learn to say ‘no’ when you can and delegate tasks to others who can execute them.
With these five tips, you can keep yourself engaged and motivated as an entrepreneur.
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at the online infographic and design platform Venngage. She has a keen interest in writing about subjects related to marketing, productivity, pop culture, and diversity. When Ronita isn’t writing about these topics, she’s thinking about writing.