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Moving Beyond ‘Blue Monday’ 21 January 2008

Filed under: Creativity,Small Business — worddocdooley @ 11:00am
Tags: , , ,

When I switched on the morning news this morning, I wasn’t entirely surprised that we are facing what has been dubbed “the most depressing day of the year” – aka Blue Monday.

Why wasn’t I surprised?

Well, I’ve been feeling a bit down in the dumps lately (it HAS been raining pretty much constantly all year). And this morning I was woken up at 5.30am by my next-door-neighbour’s little girl (“Mummy, mummy, I want a wee… Mummy! Daddy! MUMMYYYYYYYY!”).

Having failed to go back to sleep, I was a bit drowsy when getting up, and so gashed my leg on the stupidly designed bedstead (it has ridiculously sharp edges that stick out a mile). I avoided – marginally – falling over the dog (who seemed a little moody, not like him). But I ended up spilling coffee all over the sofa (cream, as it happens) as I my hands suddenly became unaware that they have to co-operate with my cognitive functioning.

All in all, not a good start to the day.

So when I sat down to write this blog post, I felt a) frustrated, b) lacking in motivation and c) a bit sorry for myself. I just didn’t have the energy. I just wasn’t ‘bovurd’. The constant yawning and blinking eyes (trying to wake myself up!) didn’t help.

So what do you do for motivation when you can’t quite ‘ready’ yourself up for the work day ahead?

Here is what works for me…

1. I’ll throw myself into some other activity such as yoga or even filing! Anything to make you take a break from that which is getting me down. Actually, the thought of filing is usually enough to get me started on whatever task it is I’m procrastinating on!

2. Breaking a seemingly overwhelmingly huge task into smaller chunkshelps makes things more manageable.

3. Starting with the bit I like best. For the blog writing, it’s usually reviewing reader input. That makes it all seem worthwhile, and can trigger an idea for a great post.

4. Focusing on what reward I can give myself when I’ve completed the task in hand is, for me, a HUGE motivator.

5. Remembering the reasons why I started this business in the first place also keeps me slogging forward. Seems to do the trick.

6. Sometimes, it’s simply a question of trying to get those irksome ‘roundabout’ thoughts out of my head and onto paper. Seeing challenges in black and white somehow offers clarity and calms the mind. Well, it does for me, anyway!

7. And if things get really tough, I’ll phone a friend for a good brainstorm to get those creative juices flowing.

Something that I haven’t tried yet, but I plan on doing so soon (there’s that evil procrastinator tendency again) is creating a ‘dream board’.

You get yourself a big piece of cardboard (about A3 size, so you can’t really not see it!) and pin onto it pictures of what you want to achieve or have in your life. For example, there might be a picture of a really nice self-build in a picturesque setting, with fields and sea surrounding it. There could be a horse. A few donkeys. A happy family. A scene of some far-flung place you want to visit… That kind of thing.

Then you place it somewhere you can see it throughout the day. Above your computer is a good location.

Apparently, by looking at it every day and imagining you already have those things on the board, you set yourself in motion to do whatever it takes to get there.

Finally, one more motivator that is bound to work: Looking at your bank balance. Cruel, but effective. ;-)

What about you? Do share your motivators with me and readers of this blog. Oh, go on…

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2 Responses to “Moving Beyond ‘Blue Monday’”

  1. Ian Denny Says:

    Well we want bust. If I had a dream board, it would have exploded into flames.

    All of the dream of me and my partners have been built into the business. We write them down on the web-site. In the form of things we need to do in the business FOR CLIENTS that will help us achieve those goals.

    When we went bust, we had the most unusual meeting with the insolvency practitioner.

    We were just about to lose everything, and it had been suggested that we start again.

    Oh how we laughed!

    What a ridiculous thought! There were 3 of us sat across the table from the insolvency practitioner. It was a bit like one of those inappropriate moments. Perhaps someone relating a story about a really stupid comment someone made at a funeral.

    Because of the setting, it’s hilarious – in a black comedy sort of
    way.

    So there we were, laughing our socks off, cracking jokes about our failings. Speculating about how if we messed up so big-time, what was to stop us ballsing up again.

    The insolvency practitioner was laughing too. A few months down the line, they still talk about that meeting. They’d never had one like it before. They’re usually like funerals. Very sombre, full of tears.

    The hysteria though has been turned into dream boards.

    I started a private blog tracking each excruciating part of the journey from liquidation. It was free therapy ranting out to the Internet and whoever cared to listen.

    Lately though, things are getting better – better than our wildest dreams. If last year was black, this year is white. White is the new black.

    So our dreams are personified in service, service, service. And it’s all going on the company web-site.

    that’s our dream board. Focus on improving the service at the back-end, then talking about the great changes on the web-site.

    On the company site, I even speculated that small businesses should invest in foreign property. There are some great deals, and the deposit/mortage repayments could be stolen from a marketing budget.

    And because IT has made the world smaller, you can log on to the office from anywhere nowadays. You can even plug your IP phone into a router anywhere and hey presto your internal extension is live.

    Use it as an incentive to staff. Give away flights and accommdation to your foreign company pad to clients as a marketing exercise.

    But more importantly, that dream is ours too. Why not set these goals publicly?

  2. Sound advice, and a moving story. Thanks, Ian!

    Laughter is, ‘they’ say, often the best medicine. I think it can break the brain out of the ‘pain’ mode and free up thinking for more positive outcomes. As seems to be the case with you and your partners.

    Everyone needs to fail in order to succeed.

    And by taking those lessons and applying them to your next business or life venture, you are surely on a more promising path, provided one has a sound business/marketing plan in place.

    My dreams and goals change constantly. But there are a few core ones that always remain the same. I think I talked about these in my last newsletter. Some are made public, others are kept private. ;-)


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