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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

How Positive Self-Talk Boosts Motivation and Productivity

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“I’m a born failure. There is no way I can get that job. I can’t carry that dress off – I’m too fat. Why do these things happen to me? Why am I so unlucky?” Are your conversations with yourself along these lines? Do you find yourself reprimanding yourself every time you make a mistake or wallowing in self-pity? (more…)

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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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