You’ll never outrun your challenges, no matter how hard you try. We live in a digital age and of course, there are tools that will help you stay productive even when you feel overwhelmed. Let's talk about practical, low-tech steps you can to take to stay motivated and productive when faced with big issues.
1. Find your balance.
Productive people tend to find avenues to take a break and recharge their mental powers. Rest your brain by sleeping, exercising or pursuing an interest outside of work. Pick an activity for your mind, body and soul. This can include meditation; listening to soothing music, watching your favorite movie or going out to meet with friends.
When you engage in activities that make you happy, you tend to see your challenges from a different perspective and focus on the bright side of the world that exists around you.
The ability to strike a reasonable work/life balance is just one of the lessons the rest of us can learn from millennials. We need to reject the notion that working ourselves to death is a virtue. Humans are more productive when they are rested, refreshed and rejuvenated. Did we learn nothing from eating pizza and ramen noodles while cramming for finals at the last minute?
2. Embrace the unknown.
All successful people take risks. Do something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Go ahead, speak in front of a crowd or make a presentation to people who you know will be against your proposition. Rather than let your worries take you down, use them as positive energy to surge forward.
Uncertainty makes most people nervous. When you work as an independent contractor, as I do, you have to learn to step out of your comfort zone and jump off an occasional cliff.
3. Surround yourself with positive.
Having positive people around you keeps you motivated and on track. Negative people, on the other hand, sap your energy and infect you with their negativity. Positive people feed your own positive attitude; which lifts your spirits and boosts your energy.
Even negative news raises your stress level. If only three minutes of negative news can affect your entire day...maybe it's time to start your day with something that makes you feel good.
4. Make an action plan.
Plans are my secret weapon. When I am overwhelmed and it seems like there is no way to achieve my goals, I know it's time to strategize. My plan usually revolves around the amount of work I need to accomplish in order to meet unexpected bills or finish before a deadline.
Strategy allows you to break projects into manageable tasks, set a timeline, and decide whether you need to hire new office staff to help you get everything done. In my case, this might mean outsourcing tasks like finding sources or facts for an ebook or long article, asking my tribe of other freelance creatives to help me come up with ideas, or handing off task management to a virtual assistant. Outsourcing the repetitive, time-consuming stuff lets me concentrate on the big, creative stuff. Even after paying my assistants, I make more money because more work gets done.
You are far more motivated and productive when you have a workable strategy in place to tackle your obstacles.
5. Solicit positive advice.
Did I mention my tribe? Sometimes we need help. Playing the Lone Ranger isn’t going to work. You need to find the right people to help you with your challenges and reach out to them. So practice the three step process:
- Seek the right person.
- Ask for help.
- Share how important their help is to take you in the right direction.
Successful people tend to have the right team of people to help them get through tough times. I bounce idea off other writers, social media experts, business people, marketers, SEOs and other contacts all the time. I invite my friends to do the same. I can't imagine working without that collaboration.
6. Practice gratitude.
Whatever situation we are in, there is always something to be grateful for. Look back at your actions daily and focus on the things that have added value to your world. It doesn’t have to be the big things. Find time to think about the little things that enrich your life on a daily basis.
Today, for example, Florida's winter weather makes me feel happy an energized. It's about 75. We had a cold front.
7. Keep learning.
Knowledge is power. To attain the success in any industry, you have to be willing to learn and discover those things that help you deal with troublesome situations. Lack of knowledge, or outdated knowledge, can be devastating to your continued success.