Yes, sometimes you do have to fake it until you make it. It’s important to clarify that when I say fake it I’m talking about making even a bad day count. Sometimes, you need to plow through what needs doing even when you don’t want to do it.
Pick your bad day tasks carefully
You’ll have to identify your own moods and limits. For example, I know that once I reach a certain down mood, the absolute worst thing I could do is pick up the phone and start calling customers. On a bad day like this, I used to do just that in hopes of selling something and then having the adrenaline rush that goes along with the sale lifting my spirits up. As you might imagine, more often than not the exact opposite happened. My customers and prospects picked up on my down mood and made sure the calls didn’t last long.
Instead, take a look at your to-do list and pick off some of the low hanging fruit. The other day I was in one of my down moods and realized I was a bit behind on balancing bank statements and other business paperwork. That’s not work I love doing but it still needs doing and it’s the perfect kind of task for a bad day. I put some music on and started digging into the pile. The feeling of relief several hours later did in fact drag me out of that down mood. Something I really don’t like doing was off my plate for another month or so.
The payoff comes on the good days
Over the course of this summer, I’ve struggled a bit to find the intense motivation that has transformed ColorMetrix and this blog over the last couple of years. I’ve found myself sleeping in (which is 7 a.m. for me) and relaxing while watching TV with my first cup of coffee. That really isn’t me. That first cup of coffee usually joins me at the computer while I start to plan out my day between 5 and 6 a.m.
I’ve arrived at the realization that your body and mind know when to rest. This does not, however, mean you can lay around all day eating bonbons and watching 24-hour news channels. At some point fairly early in the day, you need to get yourself to do the work that needs doing.
When you are self-employed, motivation can be tricky
If you work for someone, they have an expectation you will show up for work even when you are having a bad day. If you don’t or show up late too often, eventually you won’t have a job. When you work for yourself, it can be a slippery and slow-moving slope. First, your income will decrease but you’ll be able to cut back and blame it on the economy. Then, you’ll lose a big customer or two and your income will be slashed. Once this happens to you a time or two, you begin to realize the importance of working hard every single day even when you don’t feel like it.