When I started Morrise Products last year, I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to actually sit in my office in the basement and work for 8+ hours a day when there was no external pressure being applied to me. For many years, I have had extremely low energy, a combination of anxiety, low testosterone, 10 kids, and some other factor that I have yet to figure out, though I know it isn’t sleep apnea, this goofy picture of me is from the sleep study I did to rule that one out. This, added to my high level of distractability, I have been diagnosed with ADHD, was not a good combination for getting things done.
I know from experience that when I have something that has to be done, like a job where I am expected to be working all the time, or a school class, I can do it, and then I come home and crash. However, this new venture was me directing me. Over the first few months, when I had no idea what I was doing, this was especially hard, but I am pleased that I have actually done pretty well despite. Below in list fashion are the things that I think enabled me to push past these issues and stay focused and on task, for the most part.
- To Do Lists – When I start the day, I make a list of everything that needs to get done that day. Those tasks give me a purpose for the day, and also keep me working on the things that are important to grow my business, instead of the easy to do but unnecessary types of things that I would otherwise be doing. For example, I find I can check my email 600 times a day if I am not paying attention.
- Schedule – If I know I am going to work starting at 8:00 and then have lunch from 12:00 – 1:00 and then work again until 6:00, I can usually stick to that. It may result in some solitaire every now and again, but solitaire gets pretty boring after a short time and working becomes preferable.
- Events – Early on, I started going to events on a weekly basis. These local events, sponsored by various local entities, have been primarily educational experiences, business owners talking about how they were successful and lessons on how to grow a business types of things. This not only gives me a break from the basement, but also teaches and encourages me.
- Collaboration – Finding other people to collaborate with not only gives me other people to work with, making things more enjoyable, but it also gives me someone to be accountable to. If I have a project of my own and I am not making progress, I only have to answer to myself, but if someone else expects something of me, I have to be proactive.
- Consulting – I have a couple of consulting activities that I do that help me stay focused. For example, I work 2 days a week at my previous employment, which gives me a requirement twice a week that I can’t push off. I also help local university students a couple times a week on their senior engineering design project. These types of work give me a place I have to be a few times a week, along with some consistent pay which is always nice.
Overall, I have found that setting expectations for myself helps me to work harder and feel like I am accomplishing what needs to be accomplished. I definitely have room for improvement, but am coming along. What tips do you have for staying motivated?