Few things feel better than being struck with a sudden burst of motivation. Suddenly, those tasks you've been putting off seem easy to tackle and your to-do list doesn't seem too overwhelming.
Because this unexpected bout of energy can be fleeting, it's helpful to have a plan in place to take advantage of the inspiration and productivity created by this motivation. Sometimes this means starting with an easy task, but other times it means starting with hard tasks you've been putting off.
Below, a group of successful entrepreneurs share what they like to do when they get a burst of motivation and how it helps their business.
Tackle your hardest problems first.
Alex Furman, co-founder and head of organizational development at Invitae, keeps a list of the "hardest problems" on hand for moments when inspiration may strike.
"These are the unanswered questions that will have a big impact on the business, the looming scalability challenges and potential customers that seem just out of reach," says Furman. "When I have my moments of inspiration, when I feel like I can move mountains, I pick one and work on it with 100 percent focus."
Work on tasks that will help your business.
When Alfredo Atanacio, co-founder of Uassist.ME, is feeling a big boost of motivation, he takes advantage of it by performing the task that will give his business the most leverage, such as tackling a strategic or creative task.
"It could be working on a presentation or perfecting a pitch," Atanacio says. "It's very important to learn to use your energy throughout the day and tackle the most important tasks first."
Journal your thoughts and feelings.
According to Candice Georgiadis, founder of Digital Day, journaling your ideas and feelings extensively when you're motivated can help you better understand and harness that feeling.
"I take notes about what I am feeling, what is motivating me and how this motivation is guiding me," Georgiadis explains. "I can leverage these notes later to motivate me when I need them the most."
Work on tasks you've put off.
If you're feeling more motivated than usual, capitalize on that energy by working on the tedious things you don't like or have been putting off the longest, suggests Syed Balkhi, co-founder of WPBeginner.
"This could be tasks like clearing my inbox or a bit of data entry," Balkhi adds. "A surge of energy will make even boring things feel manageable, and it's a great way to help my business by making progress on important tasks."
Set small goals.
Motivation can be a powerful tool to propel you toward your goals, says Kristin Kimberly Marquet, founder and creative director of Marquet Media, LLC. The best thing you can do in these moments is to set new small goals that will help you reach your bigger goal.
"The first step is to identify what's holding you back from reaching your goal," says Marquet. "It could be fear, lack of time or even just laziness."
Stop and write down your best ideas.
For Salvador Ordorica, CEO of The Spanish Group LLC, some of the best ideas have come while doing something unrelated to work or even something completely mundane, like washing dishes. When this inspiration hits, you can't store it away for later, he says -- instead, you should learn to "ride it like a wave."
"Stop what you are doing and put it in your audio notes or on a notepad," Ordorica recommends. "You will feel the weight of those thoughts lift away afterward, and your brain can move on and refocus."
Create a lasting habit.
Andrew Powell, co-founder and CEO of Learn to Win, advises using a burst of motivation to create a lasting habit, because real change comes from regular effort.
"You can't lose 25 pounds in a single day, no matter your motivation," Powell explains. "The same is true in business, whether you're building a team or fundraising. Use motivation to create a list of tiny behaviors that move you toward your goal -- ones that you can do every day, regardless of how motivated you feel then."
Remember what success feels like.
During your bout of motivation, Daisy Jing, founder of Banish, recommends coming up with a lot of reminders that will help you boost your motivation next time you feel down and unproductive.
"Take photos and document what it feels like to be successful in whatever you accomplished by being motivated that day," says Jing. "The idea is to remind yourself why and how you have to stand on your feet again so you won't have to try so hard to feel productive again."