My dad is one of my biggest work inspirations. When I was a kid, he worked as a stockbroker and went to law school at night. After graduating and passing the bar exam, he became an attorney and has worked almost exclusively for himself, as opposed to working at a law firm. It might be a slightly different form of self-employment than we’re used to hearing about, but he still wears many different hats and has an enormous amount of work that he somehow accomplishes. I tell you all this because he is the epitome of a hard, focused worker (in my totally unbiased opinion!). Sometimes I wonder how he does it — stuffing himself in his office all day, doing work during our family vacations, and still managing to achieve great things, even with a vacuum or crying baby in the background. Since I’m starting my own journey to self-employment (this is my first week!), I decided to email my dad for advice. I asked him one question, which I think can apply to more than just self-employment…
How do you maintain such a diligent focus?
I found my dad’s suggestions to be really motivating, so I decided to
plagiarize him share them here! Want some motivation to quit procrastinating and start DOING? Read on, my friends!
1. Find a job/profession that you like. He spoke specifically about jobs, but really this could be applied to anything. Quit saying “yes” to the things you know you hate doing and start opening up more time in your schedule for the things you LOVE! Does my dad’s story sound like yours? “When I was a stockbroker, I often came to the office late and typically “watched the clock.” I didn’t really enjoy being there. However, since becoming a lawyer, I get up early (when necessary) and, as you know, often work late.” Because it sure sounds like mine! By the way, my dad said that his calling (of becoming a lawyer in his specific field) came into focus when he was 34. I think many of us (me included!), feel like we need to have ALL THE ANSWERS right out of college, but oftentimes this just isn’t realistic and guess what? IT’S OKAY! My dad only figured things out in his thirties, but now he’s successful at and happy with what he does. Isn’t that all that matters?
2. Appearances matter – both in terms of you and your environment. This one hits home since I normally work in my pjs with a desk so cluttered, I have to carve a space for my laptop. My dad told a story about when he first started out and got a job working for another attorney in an old, run-down building. “It was in poor condition – bad carpet, a broken a/c unit (which was horrible in the Summer months), walls in need of paint, etc. When I started there, he gave me my own office. The walls had marks from wear and tear, so I took matters into my own hands, even though I had a limited salary. I found a painter and had him paint my office (four walls) for $80! I felt better about being there for 8-10-12+ hours a day. Now, I enjoy my office at home. I have a nice TV, a nice desk, enough room, great tile, a self-designed bulletin board, a view, and cool colors on the walls and ceiling. I like being here, which eliminates the ‘I can’t wait to get the hell outta here’ mentality that so many people have where they work.”
A self-designed bulletin board? Cool colors on the ceiling? Isn’t he just the cutest? He also mentioned that my grandma used to encourage him to shave and take pride in his general appearance since, she told him, it would help provide self-confidence and good self-esteem. So basically, if we don’t take care of ourselves and make our environment a place that inspires us, we’re going to have a hard time finding motivation to actually get things done. Sounds about right to me!
Here is my dad, stepmom, and sister. Take their advice, k?
3. Good work results = Good rewards. Or in other words, work hard so that you can play hard. Though I still think my dad could probably use a little more vacation time, he does always seem to surprise me with all of the things he manages to do in terms of rewarding himself. This advice is simple, if you work hard, whether it’s at blogging, your desk job or anything really, there will probably be rewards (not necessarily monetary). Focus on the fact that the harder you work, the more benefits you will reap and use them as inspiration to get going.
4. It’s okay if you’re unmotivated to get started. I confessed to my dad that even though I LIKE what I’m doing, sometimes I just feel unmotivated to even begin. He shocked me by saying, “same here!” WHAAA? But he’s like, the hardest working person I know! How can this be?! “That happens to the best of us,” says ol’ papa. “So, I wouldn’t sweat it. I think the key to dealing with this phenomenon is to try to limit the frequency and length of these occurrences and to not get too down on yourself when it happens.” Doesn’t the fact that he called it a “phenomenon” make you feel a little better? It’s nice to know that just about everyone has a bit of difficulty getting started sometimes. In other words, I’m not a worthless hunk o’ junk. And not feeling bad about yourself when this happens? Yes yes yes!
5. Take breaks. “It helps to keep a strong focus when you take an occasional break. Go out to get coffee, run a couple of errands, take the dog for a walk, workout. Hopefully, we come back to work after these forays ready to hunker down, again.” You said it, dad!
Now tell me, what do YOU do to stay focused and stop procrastinating?
Now I have a little announcement to share with you all! Recently, this here blog surpassed 30,000 monthly pageviews! WHOA! It is still kinda totally crazy to me that people visit or read my blog at all and I don’t think there has been one day since I started that I haven’t felt totally in love with this hobby. Thank you to everyone — from the people who occasionally drop by, to those of you who leave comments on just about every post — I am incredibly grateful for your support. 🙂 I haven’t offered many discounts on my sponsor advertisements recently, not because I don’t absolutely love you, but because the income I make from ads does help me pay the rent. But as a thank you, I’ve decided to do a flash 48 hour sale for 20% OFF anything in my sponsor shop. Use the code, “monty” — my dad’s name! I also added one NEW sponsor spot for social media mentions only. With starting my own business and seeing lots of my new clients come from Pinterest, I’ve realized how useful social media can be for promoting blogs and businesses, which is why I decided to add this new option! 🙂 Thank you all again! Have a beautiful day. 🙂
p.s. I know my blog’s design is different. And I KNOW I said I was going to keep the previous one for at least 6 months. But people, you KNOW I can’t be trusted with these things, right? I think I’ve come to accept that I just have so much fun designing my blog….every two weeks. 😉 I hope you like it!