What is your best advice for seeking motivation outside of the office (through hobbies, learning opportunities, etc.) to stay inspired inside the office?
The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Try Something New
Go out and do things that challenge you differently than your work does, change your perspective or make you laugh. I use travel as a regular perspective shifter. I also meditate daily to juxtapose all the noise with times of quiet. I love to try new experiences — whether it be a hip hop, pole, cooking or acroyoga class — to get out of my comfort zone and stretch myself.
2. Perform Music
I aspire to play some of my favorite piano pieces each morning, no matter how heavily scheduled my day is. I find that the focus required for difficult piano pieces provides inspiration for my business activities.
3. Go to Conferences
I find attending conferences with topics I’m interested in has always been the best way for me to recharge and reflect more. The key is surrounding myself with individuals that are either going through similar challenges or are further along in their careers. It has been a positive light in times of much needed inspiration.
4. Mentor New Startups
There are many opportunities to mentor young startups at local universities and coworking spaces. It is refreshing to see their enthusiasm and focus on new ideas. In the role of mentor, you can take your mind off of your company’s problems and focus on something new. You may find yourself taking pieces of your own advice and using it to push your company forward.
5. Unplug When You’re Away
As a business owner, it’s easy to be constantly connected — checking emails, business metrics and even just browsing industry headlines. Unplugging from it all can bring clarity and a fresh perspective. Talking to people from other walks of life who have nothing to do with your business offers great perspective and eliminates tunnel vision. Some of the best ideas and insights can come from unplugging.
6. Take a BYOB Arts and Crafts Class
The act of creation is very different from consumption. Consumption provides short-term distraction where your problems disappear for a few hours. Creation generates feelings of pride and accomplishment. In the office, sometimes your hard work gets unnoticed, unrewarded or undone. In creation, you can see the results of your hard work happening right in front of your eyes and it is empowering.
7. Exercise Early in the Morning
Staying motivated at work actually starts before I walk into the office. It’s important to get moving in the morning, whether that’s going for a run, hiking, meditating or walking the dog. Completing a workout — even if it’s just 15 minutes — before I enter the office helps me start the day on the right foot. It also gives me the energy necessary to accomplish other tasks throughout the day.
8. Get Competitive
Competition works wonders: Sports, group fitness and trivia can all be potent tools to motivate you back at work. No matter if it is from scoring touchdowns, pedaling to win in a spin class or reciting movie quotes with friends, the heightened excitement in competition flows right back into your work life. The networking opportunities and stress release included are just bonus benefits.
9. Watch Documentaries
Documentaries keep me informed and motivated with the causes that I care about. They are a great way to get information quickly, and then if I’m inspired to learn more about a specific topic, I’ll start reading books on the subject. Documentaries help me understand the bigger picture, as well as why I do the work that I do and the importance of giving back.
10. Read a Book
Simply unplugging for a few hours, reading a book that is not related to your field and clearing your mind works wonders. It changes my line of thinking and gives me a boost when I am back in the office.
11. Journal About Wins
Using pen and paper, I try to journal each night about five wins from that day. Doing so keeps my confidence up and clears my mind. This in turn helps me sleep better, which translates into more energy the next day.
12. Practice Your Hobby
I have to give my attention to a hobby a couple times a week or my work ethic in the office grows stale. Watching a movie or reading lets me recharge. Allowing yourself the time to go and do something you enjoy breaks up the daily routine of what you’re doing in the office. It also gives you something to look forward to when you are growing tired at work.
13. Work at a Temp Job Outside Your Industry
Do something completely different in a role you’ve never done, if possible. Do it as a volunteer or intern, if necessary. It will stimulate your brain, challenge you and change your perspective.
14. Watch Someone With Talent
I find that I am most inspired after watching someone talented perform their craft. Whether they are a musician, a filmmaker or a chef, witnessing someone do what they do so well always inspires me when I step back into my office.
15. Be Passionate About What You Do
Whatever you choose to do outside of the office, make sure it’s something that you’re passionate about. Passion is like a muscle: The more you use it, the stronger it gets. If you’re excited about what you do in your free time, that enthusiasm will carry through to your work.