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5 Ways To Rekindle Your Motivation Through Mini-Vacations

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Sometimes we may not even realize that we are getting burned out. But the warning signs are there — our productivity is slipping, our minds are wandering, and we find it difficult to stay focused on the task at hand.

You might think that the answer is to use self discipline to buckle down and work harder, but the opposite is often true. Often, what we really need is a mini-vacation, a short one day outing that is a break from our ordinary routines.

This happened to me recently. I had been pushing myself to get my most recent app finished, but there were many little details that still needed attention. I would find myself floundering, allowing myself to get distracted rather than focus on the task.

Valentine’s Day came, and my husband suggested an outing to the beach (yeah, I know, Southern California in February). My first thought was — “But I really need to get this app released!” Then I realized that a break might be just what I needed. So off we went.

The day was such an enormous break from my normal activities. But the following day was when I felt the change. I was refreshed and reenergized, and ready to wrap up my app.

Here are five tips for refreshing yourself and rekindling your motivation through taking a mini-vacation:

1. Go someplace different

Think about the places you have been in the last month. Have you mostly been confined to the city? Mostly indoors?

It is time to make a change and go someplace fresh that will blow out the cobwebs. Think of places that take you away from your normal surroundings and pursuits. How about a visit to a museum, or a bike ride, or cross country skiing?

If at all possible choose a destination where you haven’t been before. But if you have a favorite place to get away from it all and want to go back, just make sure to view it with fresh eyes, and leave your troubles at home.

If you can’t get away from home, do something really different at home. How about eating brownies by the fire while you learn a new musical instrument?

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber

2. Choose your partner in crime

Who you go with on the mini-vacation is an important choice. Often it will be with your significant other. But you could go with a friend, or a family member, or go by yourself to a meet-up where you will meet new people.

As you go forth on your mini-vacation make sure that both you and your companion are caught up in the spirit of adventure. If one person is worrying about work or home it can ruin the mini-vacation for both. Make a promise to each other that the problems at home can wait. This is a day to get away from it all.

 

3. Don’t think about your goals

While you are on a mini-vacation, it is important to not think and plan and figure ways to get ahead. Your mind needs a break.

Our best ideas often come when we aren’t actively thinking about a problem. Our brains churn away, unnoticed, while we are doing something else. New sights and experiences can trigger new thoughts, and we can come back with new, innovative ideas.

Keep your mind in the present, really savoring the unique experiences of the day.

 

4. Pay attention to your body

It is hard to relax and enjoy if you are too hot, or too cold, or tired, or hungry. Pay attention to what your body needs, and work that into the mini-vacation. Nobody said that if you go to a museum that you have to push yourself to see every exhibit. Take your time, sit and think a little, take a break and go to the coffee shop. Go ahead and leave when you are tired. You will enjoy the whole experience more.

With a little forethought you can choose your mini-vacation to rejuvenate your body. You can sleep on the sand at the beach if you are overtired. You can go for a hike to get tired and hungry, then truly enjoy a nice meal at a restaurant afterward. Find a cooler area if it is hot at home (in southern California we are blessed with the beach and the mountains). Find someplace warm if it is cold. Nothing beats sitting next to a fire on a cold and rainy day.

If you are like most people these days you might feel tired, but actually need more exercise. Going for a bike ride or hike can do wonders to elevate your spirits.

“Laughter is an instant vacation.” – Milton Berle

5. Be in the present moment

Most of all, to get the greatest benefits from your mini-vacation, you need to be in the present moment. Pay attention to your surroundings. Watch people, and see what you can understand about their lives from the way they act. Take a deep breath of fresh air, and smell the grasses, trees, ocean, or snow.

When you come back from your mini-vacation you may not be able to pick up exactly where you left off, because you will be in a different frame of mind. But you will benefit from the fresh ideas and perspective you gain from the experience.

Where will you go today? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Susan de Jong is an app entrepreneur who loves to write software. Her apps include Lucidate, a brainstorming app that helps you explore your innermost thoughts, and Insight Personality Tests, a fun and motivational app. Download the apps today for free.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Thea

    Mar 8, 2016 at 1:26 am

    This post gave me some great ideas. Nice tips on how to be motivated with mini vacations. I really need one 🙂

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Motivation

The Guide to Staying Motivated While Working Alone

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Working alone at home might sound like a nightmare to some, but as a fully signed up introvert, working alone at home is an absolute dream. No energy-draining small talk, no noisy distractions, just peace and quiet to complete deep and focused work. Well not quite. Working alone at home has more challenges than you might expect. Boredom, lack of focus and lack of motivation to name a few.

When you start working for yourself, you quickly realise that one of the biggest problems you face isn’t the job itself. Maintaining your motivation poses a potentially huge difficulty. Much of that difficulty stems from working alone, rather than in a traditional office setting. There is also the challenge of staying focused on the task at hand. With no boss or supervisor looking over your shoulder, social media can distract or cat videos interrupt you.

But the greatest problem by far is a simple lack of motivation. There doesn’t seem to be a pressing need to finish this project right now, making it far too easy to put it off until later. Left unchecked, a lack of motivation can cripple the work you are trying to accomplish. Over the past few years I’ve developed a few go-to tactics to improve my lone working motivation.

Here are some of the tools I’ve used to stay motivated and on-task.

These first few tips focus on using different tweaks in your personal work schedule to provide some variety and maintain your focus.

1. Include short breaks

My eye doctor once told me that for every 20 minutes of staring at a computer screen, you should look away and focus on something across the room for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset. Do something similar with the rest of your body; don’t just look across the room, walk, jog, or run across the room. Give your body a break, and try to reset your thoughts. If you don’t have the discipline to take regular breaks, use an app to remind you.

2. Block out an afternoon for social activities and networking

Set aside one afternoon a week for your social life. Friday afternoon works best for me. If you feel guilty about not working, think of it as a chance to network. Either way, be sure to spend this section of time with other people. Socialise and network.

3. View your personal schedule as your work schedule

A 9-to-5 job requires getting up every morning, preparing for the day, leaving the house, and commuting to your workplace. In other words, it requires going to work. You want to recreate the same rhythm at home. You may not actually need to leave your house in order to work, but try to stick with the schedule. Filling the old job timeslot with your new work helps to keep you motivated – you can’t clock out early!

These next few tips are little things you can do to trick yourself into staying focused!

1. Music

This tip may sound cliché, but try listening to an upbeat song loudly whenever you feel unmotivated. It’s a simple trick, but a surprisingly effective one!

2. Have somewhere else to work for a change of scenery

When procrastination sets in, sometimes a quick change of scenery is all you need. If you work at home, going to your favourite café can be a huge help. Other freelancers I know have even gone so far as to hire office space outside the home, and rotate between the two to help stay on-task.

3. Love what you do

This is arguably the most critical point on the whole list. If you don’t love what you do, it will be hard to keep yourself motivated – particularly long-term. Sure, you may be able to push on through sheer force of will for a while, but sooner or later you’ll lose motivation entirely. Do something you genuinely enjoy, and you’ll find it much easier to stick with it for the long haul.

These last few tips are Industry-related!

1. Make sure you have fun projects

Not all of your work projects will be fun, but fight to make at least a couple of them fun. These might even be personal side projects, not particularly related to your main job. Or they might be in the same general field, but not your specific focus.

2. Attend industry events a couple of times a year

Nearly every imaginable industry has an organising body of some kind. Find the local branch, and use it to keep tabs on industry-related events. Attend some seminars, network, and maybe even glean some new tips and tricks from industry insiders.

3. Schedule at least one call a week to learn something within your industry

View this as an opportunity for personal development. At least once a week, try to learn something new about your industry. For me, this might mean calling a new tool provider to demonstrate their gadgets. Whatever your industry, try to expand your horizons a little bit every week. You’ll learn new methods and make new connections at the same time.

These tips worked for me, hopefully, some of them will help you out as well. Above all, strive to enjoy what you do, stick to a “work schedule,” and look for opportunities for constant self-improvement. With those ideas in mind, you’ll find staying motivated much easier to do alone or in a group!

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7 Ways Yoga Effectively Motivates You to Achieve Success

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Yoga is an appointment with your own self. It is time to meet your true self and receive a return ticket to your true nature that is bliss and happiness. You will naturally feel happy while doing yoga. Many people don’t realize they are in a distressed state until it’s too late. The same thing happened with me when I failed to understand my life’s circumstances. I was struggling with a lack of motivation, depression, insomnia, and maintaining my personal relationships, which eventually started affecting my physical health.

Last year, I struggled with depression and general anxiety disorder. I was constantly chasing after money, a lucrative career, happiness, and success. I was afraid that if I told my colleagues about my mental health issues, they would criticize me and eventually it would hamper my progression and I would not be taken seriously.

Last winter, my responsibilities in life increased in a short period of time, which created a lot of anxiety. It began to disturb my mood at home as I was unable to relax and felt low. I hated my own egotistical self because I was an extremely competitive individual as well. I always felt that I did not have the career of my dreams and I was not where I aimed to be. It felt like I was failing because I was not able to attain any of the goals I set in my own life.

I decided to share my emotions and feelings with someone who could potentially make things easier for me. I ended up explaining my struggles and mental illness to my manager. His reaction was amazing because he thanked me for being honest, and he introduced me to yoga. I am happy that I made this decision because it felt better after sweating it out in the Yoga workshop.

Yoga helped me in focusing on what I truly had, instead of on what I didn’t have. I learned how to embrace my competitive side and to use it in a way that pushed me to become a happier person. Yoga taught me that instead of wasting most of my life chasing after success and competing with others, I had to let life run its natural course. Happiness and success will then come to us naturally.

Below I have listed some reasons as to why yoga works effectively to motivate yourself to achieve success:

1. It Solves Your Problem

When it comes to challenges and tackling problems, yoga works amazingly. When you get on a yoga mat and begin to practice, you are made to deal with everything that comes to you and asked to face it gracefully. In turn, this increases your focus and patience levels, so that you will be able to face the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical challenges at every turn.

2. It Lowers Your Anxiety and Stress

Yoga doesn’t mean that you will heal instantly, but constant practice can help you destress. The simple breathing and moving exercises can help a lot in releasing your tension and anxiety. 

Yoga helps in stretching your muscles by relaxing them as most of the stress and tension is stored there. The breathing exercises energize your body by increasing the blood flow, which eventually refreshes your body and mind. The daily practice of yoga makes you aware of the surroundings by making you control your emotions and stress.

“Learn to relax. Your body is precious, as it houses your mind and spirit. Inner peace begins with a relaxed body.” – Norman Vincent Peale

3. Increase Your Focus

Yoga helps improve your focus through the breathing exercises you do during the yoga postures. It relaxes the body and mind so you can think clearly, and in time build up the ability to concentrate. 

Yoga is focused on concentration, breathing,  and the alignments. Additionally, yoga’s claimed to bring mental and physical relaxation by energizing the parasympathetic nervous system, and this is the reason why yogis sleep well at night. No wonder they have such a healthy and a stress-free lifestyle.

4. It Helps in Redefining Success

Real success comes when you use yourself to your full capability. It does not matter what you become, the only thing that matters is that you are living your life to your full potential. 

If you want to be successful, then you must see everything just the way it is, without any distortion. Yoga helps you with just that. Through practicing yoga daily, you will start to see the results and live more joyfully.

5. It Boosts Your Health

Mental health affects your work and your physical health. Your physical health can drastically  affect your work as it will make you work less and take more time off, which will lead to lined-up pending assignments. 

Yoga helps your body with almost every physical problem. Yoga increases your blood flow, oxygen, and improves your circulatory system. All the postures of the Bikram yoga help to improve the flow of fresh and oxygenated blood to every part of the body and mind.

“Move your joints every day. You have to find your own tricks. Bury your mind deep in your heart, and watch the body move by itself.” – Sri Dharma Mittra

6. Gives Mindfulness and Makes You Present

Mindfulness teaches us to become more present at any given moment. It makes us more aware and conscious of our inner thoughts, feelings, emotions, and hence makes us strong enough to control our actions towards situations. 

Practicing breathing in yoga teaches you to experience and live each moment to the fullest. Over time, yoga will help you live in a deep sense of fulfillment and inner peace, which will ultimately help you in making the right decision for yourself and your team.

7. Stay Aware and Positive

A yogi tends to have a balanced outlook on life. Yoga sessions of meditations, breathing exercises, and mindfulness will aim at making you conscious and aware of yourself. Additionally,  it will open up new possibilities of understanding your true self. 

Yoga also aims at making you a positive person, and the effects of yoga are not limited to relaxation after a workout but are exceptionally long-lasting. Yoga makes you attain the attitude of gratitude that helps you identify the brighter side of life.

To achieve success through yoga, you must adapt it into your day to day life because having good health is a basic necessity to live a happy and healthy life and no one but you can keep yourself healthy.

Have you tried yoga? If so, share with us how it’s positively impacted your life below!

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5 Ways to Find Everyday Motivation in the Least Likely Places

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When you’re down in the dumps, the natural thing you want to do is find motivation to recharge and restart. But unlike computers or phones, people don’t work that way…or do they?

Think of it this way, people are natural sources of motivation, and we may not even be aware of it. Recall the last time you went to the store, chatted with the happy counter girl, and the helpful guy in the queue, you came out smiling and feeling good, didn’t you? That’s because those people charged you with their positive energy.

The problem is, just like them, there are people with negative energies who drain you of your motivation. After you interact with them, you feel listless, depressed or just simply low. In such a scenario, I would advise you to go to that grocery store again, but that’s just not practical.

Here are 5 unlikely places to get your dose of motivation:

1. Wind from Within

Where else would you find motivation quickly but yourself? You are the ultimate source of inspiration. Don’t believe me? Try these tactics.

Think about the reason why you’re feeling down, and treat it as a challenge. Consider it as a game, and you need to beat your competition with any strategy that you can think of and come out on top. Feel that boost of energy?

Next, dive in and consider why you feel like such a failure. Is it the career choices? The face-off incident with your ex at the office gathering? The boss who is always criticizing you? Take these issues one by one and devise plans to tackle them.

Change your career if you must, or give this one your 200 percent. Avoid your ex or talk it out with them. Face your boss by telling them how disappointed you are with their behavior, or keep on taking the criticism. The point is, not to overthink but to resolve what’s bugging you and pulling you down.

Perhaps this feeling of failure which is dragging you down stems from your fear of it. To make it right and regain your motivation, you’ll have to face your fear head on. There is no way around it so might as well deal with it like a “challenge”. There’s that word again, you know what to do now.

2. Tune in to Ted Talks

What if you still can’t find motivation from within, and still feel down? Ted Talks are the best sources of inspiration.Real people. Real experience. Real talk. You can’t get any closer to real motivation than a Ted Talks. From career to personal, emotional, educational etc. each Ted Talk takes you on a journey of the speaker, forces you to face their reality, and end up with a solution, which might be yours too.

One of my favorites is by Adam Grant, “Are you a giver or a taker?”. It has really given me thoughts about what my life is all about and what I would like to change. One of the lines which struck me and turned my life around was: “If you’re a matcher, you try to keep an even balance of give and take: quid pro quo — I’ll do something for you if you do something for me. And that seems like a safe way to live your life. But is it the most effective and productive way to live your life?

That’s just one Ted Talk. There are tons out there. The point is not what you watch but what you garner from their experiences, wisdom, and lessons delivered.

3. Soul Searching Speeches

While Ted Talks are about your average Joe, whom you can relate to and may even bump into in your everyday routine, speeches from successful people are another thing entirely.

We are talking about golden nuggets from dynamite, successful tycoons who have changed the world. They’re revolutionizing the way we live and breathe.

And you know what else they are? They’re powerhouses who have the immense capability of giving you the much needed motivation spark to come out of your lowest low. When famous people like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Jack Ma, Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama get invited to deliver commemorating speeches, they share with you their world.

They tell us about using smart decisions to solve complex problems. They share with us their dilemmas, and how to come out of it without harming yourself. But most importantly, they tell us about their fears, challenges, and failures which they’ve successfully overcome.

One of the most famous speeches, and my personal favorite, is Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford University. Jobs, who has revolutionized home computing, mobile devices, and luxury branding of technology, tells us if we live each day as if it were the last, then there is nothing to fear. After all, fear is the reason why we don’t do a lot of things that would boost our motivation.

4. Tap Into Teaching

People say that teaching is a noble profession but nobody tells you about the motivational aspect of it. Even if you’re down, nothing brightens your mood up instantly like a student looking up to you. You feel thousands of feet tall.

You don’t have to be a full time teacher to feel motivated. Help someone at the workplace and teach them a skill. Teach your kids about what you know. And if you’re single, teach the neighbor’s kids.

When you teach someone, you are actually learning and discovering yourself. It gives you a new perspective and forces you to look at problems from the student’s point of view. And, you might discover the reason for feeling demotivated, or stressors that are pulling you down. When you are able to identify the problem, you’ll be able to find the solution.

5. Interest in Interviews

What do Humans of New York, Larry King Live and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon have in common? You guessed it…interviews. Funny or serious, interviews are meant to bring out the inner person of the interviewee, but I bet you didn’t know they also bring the humane side of the interviewer.

Interviews force you to wear the interviewee’s shoes, think like them, and understand their dilemmas. What better lessons to learn and get motivation from real life people who’ve been there and done that?

Of course it doesn’t mean you start grabbing any Tom, Dick or Harry to interview. Find an angle, seek permission and have a purpose for your interviews. Maybe you want to find out where people go to find inspiration, or motivate others. Or, ask people what they do when they hit bottom, or at the peak of their career.

You’ll be surprised at the rationale, humbling experiences and feelings these individuals will share. Let their answers be your motivation. 


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4 Simple Yet Effective Ways to Boost Your Team’s Motivation as a Startup

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Many startup leaders are able to grow their organizations quickly, thanks to their off-the-charts motivation and productivity. Unfortunately, when the organization is no longer a one-man show, it becomes very difficult to equip their team members with the same degree of motivation. This can negatively affect the organization’s morale, productivity, and possibly revenue.

Below are the four simple and effective ways to boost your team’s motivation as a startup:

1. Evaluate your own leadership as a leader

Many leaders had their own share of experience with bad leadership. Tim Denning, Addicted2Success contributor, also goes as far as saying, “working with a bad boss is a soul crushing dream killer.” No leaders want to be known as a bad leader. Unfortunately, some startup leaders unintentionally fall into the trap of micromanaging and never listening to the team members because they might not always have an experience as a leader.

If your team is big enough, you can also consider doing an anonymous survey that evaluates your leadership. But if that is not an option, there are tools that allow you to assess your own leadership performance. Go through the assessment, and focus on implementing the changes. Even if the team members’ motivation does not skyrocket overnight, there will be an improvement overtime.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn

2. Focus more on intrinsic motivation

A study of 200,000 U.S public sector employees by Yoon Jik Cho and James Perry showed that intrinsic motivation, rather than extrinsic motives such as position and salary, makes triple the impact on employee motivation and engagement. This study shows that motivating team members through position and salary is important, yet the biggest transformation will show when you get team members to focus on internal rewards.

For startups and teams with a limited budget, this represents a powerful way to be able to attract and retain the best team members. Though there will be some team members that might be disengaged because they are more motivated by position and salary, there will also be team members that may choose to stay in the organization because of the team’s culture– even if they get other job offers that might be more extrinsically appealing.

Challenge your team members with bigger responsibilities and goals. Encourage them to continue developing their skills or learn new ones. Show them you appreciate their loyalty. The internal rewards and the personal loyalty that your team members develop by working with your team will ensure that they can continue to stay engaged to the work and stay motivated to get the work done.

3. Be specific on HOW their work matters, and how much you care

Most leaders are aware of the importance of great team members and focus on recognizing the team’s efforts. However, when specificity as to how their work makes a difference in the team is added on, it can become extremely powerful. Team members want to know that the business cares about their work and jobs, but also about making a positive impact on the society.

Everytime you remind your team members about how their work makes a difference in the company’s growth, and how the organization makes a difference in the community, your team member will not only feel pride in their work, but they will also be fired up with an extra dose of motivation.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford

4.  Encourage team members to become self leaders

An article by HR Digest shows that 25% of millennial team members are looking for a chance to prove their leadership skills. Although it is highly encouraged for startup leaders to challenge their team members and give them opportunities to showcase their leadership abilities, it can be risky if they do not have a previous leadership experience. That is when self leadership comes in.

Self leadership is a concept developed by Bryant and Kazan and is about having a clear individual identity as a leader. This can mean having a clear understanding of the vision, who they are as a leader and what their capabilities are as a leader. This helps your team members embody an identity of a good leader while developing their leadership skills.

There are many ways of empowering team members to develop self-leadership, such as encouraging them to take on new challenges or allowing them to partake in professional development activities. It can also mean giving them room to innovate and make their own decisions with their authority.

As the team gets bigger and the organization is no longer a one-man show, it can be challenging for leaders to keep their team members motivated. However, with these simple ways, it’ll be easier to equip your team members with the extra dose of motivation to continue doing their best and boost the team’s performance as a whole.

How do you keep your team motivated and excited? Share your ideas and thoughts below!

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