This post is part of the series, Small Business Guide to Getting Organized: Ideas, how-tos, products and news about ways those who run a small business can get organized, more efficient and productive. You can browse other posts in the series below.
When it happens to them, authors call it “writer’s block.” Small business owners and managers may not have such a label for it, but we all know the feeling. It’s that inexplicable urge to organize your sock drawer whenever a big project is looming and you can’t quite pull everything together to get started.
Feelings of boredom and frustration can hold us back from taking the first step each working day, even if we know it becomes much easier once we find our flow. Rather than beginning what feels like yet another day’s work, splitting your work into separate tasks and defining today’s workload as a discrete project can create a feeling of purpose.
Recently, NetCredit developed an infographic that includes several scientifically tested ways for making yourself work when you are not quite into it.
Here are nine of our favorites.
1 | Tell yourself you are starting anew
Researchers found that new mental accounting periods can create new perspectives and improve motivation. Remind yourself of the goals and reasons behind it, and reconsider the best way to tackle it.
2 | Reward yourself before you begin. Perhaps a piece of chocolate cake?
Research has revealed that dopamine levels are important to self-motivation before you embark on a task. A little shot of dopamine levels will help motivate you. Start with a slice of cake or a short comedy video to break the procrastination loop.
3 | Start with a smile
Studies show smiling reduces stress and anxiety-levels, which in turn helps you feel better about the work you need to get done.
Kraft TL. (2012). Grin and bear it: the influence of manipulated facial expression on the stress response. nih.gov
4 | Strike a Superman pose
Sitting with an open, expansive posture can increase testosterone, decrease cortisol, and increase your feeling of power and tolerance for risk as you settle into work.
5 | Start small
Studies have shown that those who are successful at self-management break down their work into small, achievable, measurable tasks. No one builds a house. They lay one brick again and again and the end result is a house.
6 | But also remember the big picture
You are more likely to see your work is important if you think of the benefits it will have for other people.
Wright, B. (2004). The Role of Work Context in Work Motivation: A Public Sector Application of Goal and Social Cognitive Theories. oxfordjournals.org
7 | Make a contract with yourself
Commitment devices have been shown to be a great way to conquer a task you may be trying to avoid.
Rogers, T. (2014). Commitment Devices Using Initiatives to Change Behavior. harvard.edu
8 | Take a stroll
Researchers have found that going for a leisurely walk or using an exercise bike for 20 minutes can reduce fatigue levels by 65 percent and increase energy levels by 20 percent
EyeofJ via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Fahmy, S. (2008). Low-intensity exercise reduces fatigue symptoms by 65 percent, study finds. uga.edu
9 | Get some artificial regulation
Regular reminders of what you’re supposed to be doing can keep you on track. Use an app such as Be Focused Pro (formerly, Pomodoro Time). Click start and watch the seconds tick away until your next break can get you going.
Free, C. (2011). Smoking cessation support delivered via mobile phone text messaging, thelancet.com
Photos: iStock except where noted