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No matter how much you love your work—no matter how energizing you find it—we all have days where our enthusiasm flags. When the daily grind causes your momentum to stall, it’s important to reach deep into your reserve of self-motivation and keep on pushin’ forward.

Something I think a lot of leaders don’t realize is that self-motivation is an actual skill that you can cultivate—but how? Here are a few of my personal strategies for self-motivation.

How to Keep Yourself Motivated

  1. Keep a list of things you’ve accomplished. Consider it your Done List, as opposed to your To-Do List. Pause at the end of each day just to review the contents of this list and allow yourself a brief moment of celebration. Often, this is just what you need to put some wind in your sails!
  2. Start each day doing something that’s actually productive—and by productive I mean working on something tangible, creative, or strategic. Don’t start with administrative stuff, like answering emails—because often, those are the tasks that sap all your enthusiasm. They can send you into the remainder of your day already feeling fatigued or frustrated. Score some quick wins before you tackle that stuff.
  3. If you feel like the day is getting away from you, or that you haven’t chalked up any wins, pool all of your energy into just getting one important thing done—one thing that will keep the day from being a bust. Often, that can help restore some of your sense of drive.
  4. Allow yourself some breaks. That may sound a little counter-intuitive but hear me out. A lot of the time, the thing that saps our motivation is burnout—and that’s not something you can just plow through. You may benefit greatly from taking an hour to go for a walk and clear your head, or relocate to a park bench and read a chapter or two of a good novel.
  5. Talk to the people who inspire you—whether that’s a mentor or a colleague. Ask them to share with you some of the most exciting work they’ve done lately—and who knows? Their enthusiasm may prove contagious!

You’ve got to maintain some drive if you want to stay productive day after day—and I hope these quick pointers show you how.