Tell me if this sounds familiar: You have a big exciting vision for your business, you’ve been working hard to reach your goals, and there is still more to do…but you’re just not feeling into it. Problem is, you have a team to motivate too, so how are you supposed to do that when you can’t even find the motivation yourself?
Friend, you are not alone! This happens to the best of us. We can’t stay motivated 100% of the time. There are seasons in life and business where we’re on top of the world. We feel invincible, have endless amounts of energy, and are knocking things off our to-do list left and right. And then there are other times when, well, we find ourselves eyeballs deep in busy work feeling burnt out and over it all. What can we do when we don’t have the energy to make one more decision, deal with one more problem, pour into our team, or simply do the work we know we need to do?
Have you ever had those days when you felt like you did a ton of work, but when you look back you realize you spent the entire day doing busy work? You feel frustrated, down on yourself, and like you just want to throw the towel in, right? I know I have.
3 Tips to Help You Manage Motivation
When we use up our energy stores, we can become tired, irritable, and unmotivated – which can, and likely will, affect our team. It’s helpful if we can learn some ways to refresh ourselves when we need it versus slogging through our task list until we’re completely burnt out.
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Rather than being lost in a sea of busy work and living on the verge of burnout, I want to share three ideas to help you hit the reset button, so you can stay motivated and can motivate your team as well.
#1: Learn to read the signs of waning motivation.
When your energy is starting to dip, what does that look like or feel like for you? Do you find yourself getting more distracted (aka the endless social media scroll)? Putting off important work because you don’t have the energy to deal with it? Or something else?
It’s important to learn what the early warning signs of a waning motivation look like for you, because it’s different for us all. I get a bad case of what I like to call “procrasti-gramming” – which means I spend ridiculous amounts of time scrolling around on Instagram. I know when I find myself mindlessly scrolling on Insta versus doing the work I should be doing, that my motivation is suffering.
By learning how to identify these warning signs, we can learn when to rest and not struggle. This is a very common issue that I see with so many of the women I work with and have conversations with every week. As women, we are culturally conditioned to constantly be doing more, putting ourselves on the back burner, and taking care of everyone and everything else around us first. This is not healthy and is not helping you to show up and be your very best for your business or your team. In fact, this is often what leads to burn out, lack of motivation, and feeling just downright cantankerous (people don’t use this word enough, right?!) sometimes. I’ve definitely been there myself. But you don’t have to end up in the land of no motivation. Learn when you need to step away, take a break, and rest versus burnout or blow up.
Ideas for taking a break include: reading a book, going for a walk, playing with your pup, watching a 30-minute show, drinking a cup of tea on the back porch, or whatever it is you enjoy doing that isn’t work. By taking 10 – 30 minutes away from work, you can come back feeling refreshed and ready to go.
#2: Pre-plan for burn out.
Before you even start to lose steam, it’s a great idea to pre-plan for burnout with re-energizing tasks for both you and your team. When you have big projects with lots of moving parts that require several weeks of your team’s time and attention, and will likely result in long days, build in time to rest and refresh throughout the project. You and your team will both need time to take a break, switch gears, and do something a little more fun. Remember, if you’re feeling burnt out your team probably is, as well. And if not directly, they might be feeling anxiety and burnout indirectly from the energy you’re putting out. Harsh, but oh-so-true.
Consider opportunities to change the pace up with your team during big projects. Go on a group paint night, volunteer at a local animal shelter, or have a virtual video chat to catch up, see how everyone’s doing, and talk about anything other than work. Whatever you do, make sure it’s a downtime activity that allows your team to take a break and rest. Bonus points if it’s fun or allows you to give back to your community!
#3: Check in with your team.
When you’re not feeling motivated, it can be a huge boost to simply check in with your team. Ask what they’re working on, how things are going, and if they have any ideas or suggestions for the business. By stepping outside of your own whirlwind of to-do’s and responsibilities and stepping more fully into their world, you get a different perspective and your brain gets to shift gears. You can offer your help and guidance and keep your team motivated by spending a little quality time with them. Then, you’ll be able to come back to your work feeling refreshed.
I encourage you to check in with your team regularly to keep the momentum going for everyone, not just when you’re feeling over-extended or unmotivated. We can avoid burnout in ourselves and within our teams by staying engaged with them. Make it a priority to do this by personal contact, either in-person, over the phone or by video chat – not by text, DM, Slack message, or email. You’ll learn so much more about your team and how they’re doing through personal communication because you can hear their tone and/or watch their body language.
An Important Note: Be cautious of how much you share with your team when you’re feeling unmotivated or discouraged. Your team will take a cue from you and will feed off of your energy. Learn to vent your frustrations and concerns to a colleague, friend, mentor, or community of leaders – not your employees.
I hope this post gave you some fresh ideas on staying motivated or re-energizing when you’re just not feeling it. I know that it can be hard when everyone on the team is looking to as the sole source of energy, inspiration, and motivation. By knowing your unique warning signs of a waning motivation, pre-planning for burn out, and engaging with your team, you’ll surely be prepared the next time you find yourself heading toward demotivation station!