It's staying productive. And eating chocolate.
Sure, you're productive when you first start a company. You may not be getting enough sleep, but you're working towards your goals, and that's what matters.
Until it isn't anymore. Now, your business is now set up and gaining momentum. You have goals, you have a path laid out to achieve them, but that spark of motivation is missing.
It's not that you care less, or don't want what you're working for anymore. You're just burnt out. You feel spread a little thinner each day.
You need to refocus on not just the what, but the why of your goals. Here are eight ways you can combat burnout, stay motivated, and achieve your dreams--and have time for a full night's sleep:
1. Forgive Yourself
The first step in fixing a slump is to forgive yourself.
Whether your slump was prompted by a demoralizing event, or if it's the result of burnout, you likely feel you've wasted time, missed opportunities, or even put yourself on the road to failure.
None of those things are true.
Your journey is your own, and every step is a learning experience, even if they seem more like stumbles.
2. Revisit Your Planned Path
If you feel overwhelmed or bored, it's almost definitely an indication that you're going about achieving your goals the wrong way.
Revisit your plan, and dial back the workload. Incorporate more variety, and be realistic about what you're able to accomplish each day.
3. Make Mini-Goals--and Rewards
There's a reason this is a popular piece of advice for dieters and athletes: It works.
You're likely working towards a big goal, such as a promotion, a level of revenue or a degree. However, make sure you reward yourself for the steps along the way.
That may mean a positive review from your superior, the successful hire of a key talent, or a semester or quarter GPA above a 3.5. Every time I land a new client I treat myself to a new book. I love reading (and get obsessed with buying too many at a time).
4. Find Support
If you feel like you're alone or overwhelmed, find support.
Having someone there to help can mean the difference between success and failure. This could mean a team member or a friend who can listen to you talk through problems and vent your frustrations.
I just joined Karma, which is a social club for successful entrepreneurs, to be surrounded by like-minded individuals. It's been a blessing to be able to talk openly with other successful entrepreneurs about similar challenges and earning business from people I truly enjoy being around.
5. Stop Trying To Multitask
Trying to multitask is worse than just taking a break. You have the same end result, but you're still tired by the end and feel like you've been working hard.
Instead, focus on doing one thing at a time, and doing it well--so you never have to go back and repeat due to silly mistakes.
6. Schedule R&R
This is an incredibly important extension of "forgive yourself."
It doesn't matter how important your task is. At a certain point you need a break.
Even parents hire a babysitter sometimes--so don't feel that you have to work at your goal every second you're conscious in order to achieve it. You'll produce better results, faster, if you give yourself a chance to rest and recharge on a regular basis.
You've been wanting to go on a vacation? Go.
7. Invest In Other Projects
It's also important you aren't only doing one thing all the time. Make sure you give your brain a chance to think about other things, or you risk becoming stuck in your ways and resentful of what was once your passion.
(Hint: this is why many people caution to not make a career out of your hobby)
8. Re-Inspire Yourself
Allow yourself to look beyond your own work, and see where others have gone. You'll rekindle that desire that originally put you on this path, as well as stay up to date on what's going on in your industry.
Read the blogs and articles of those you admire, investigate relevant news, and watch movies about those who accomplish the same goals.