Building momentum in your workday helps you stack up meaningful wins and create your own motivation. Of course what counts as a “win” for you may not matter to someone else, but that’s the awesome part of being a unique contributor to your team. You ultimately determine and control how your work gets done.
So how do you get the ball rolling? Inspired by this post from our friend Nick at 30 Minutes to President’s Club, here’s a number of different ways our team at Skipio stays focused and builds momentum.
Use these ideas to spend more time doing fulfilling work as you help more people and hit your KPIs or quotas.
Block out your calendar
Organize your calendar to help minimize task switching. By deliberately planning what you need to do and when, you more easily build momentum and stay motivated. This includes scheduling the “fun” activities like your lunchtime and breaks.
Blocking out your time is initially helpful for figuring out the best ways you work and when you’re most productive. Eventually you get in a groove and create habits that propel you week after week.
It’s okay if it takes a few tries to get a schedule that you like and find most useful. Start out by thinking of when you know you’re already most productive.
Build your schedule around when you’re most productive
Each of us does our best work at different times throughout the day. Not a morning person? Find it hard to focus right after lunch? Don’t try to force yourself to get certain tasks or projects done during those times.
For Nick that means “eating the frog” and doing the hardest task first, getting it out of the way and building off that momentum.
But you may want to spend your mornings on strategy and research, not making calls or taking meetings. Other people may love scheduling meetings and appointments in the morning so they can spend all afternoon focused on their execution.
Plan your tasks based around the times you’ll be most easily able to complete them. That will help you maximize your daily wins.
Space out things you “have to do” with things you enjoy doing
Work days filled with things you don’t like to do will lead you to burn out. And fast. Give yourself tasks to look forward to.
Obviously you won’t ever love every part of your job, so intentionally save time for projects that you can take “breaks” with when the tough work gets you down.
As much as I love building out the Skipio blog, the actual writing gets tiring, especially when I batch work. So on days when I know I’m going to spend a long time writing, I make sure I also have time to source images and create associated graphics. The change of pace keeps me in a better headspace to get the writing done.
Communicate how you work
It’s not rude to set boundaries at work and communicate your needs. It will make you happier and allow you to achieve more.
Communicating how and what you need to do your best work should be the standard, not the exception.
This could be as simple as telling your coworkers that you don’t want to be distracted at a certain time while you finish a project or complete a task. A clearly blocked out calendar will be a huge asset in this regard.
By establishing your schedule transparently, you don’t have to feel bad for cutting anyone off or go through the awkward situation of trying to get out of a conversation. It’s all out in the open.
Write out to-do lists
Don’t try to remember everything you have to do. It’s hard to prioritize when you’re planning just in your brain.
Especially if you’re trying to create new habits, writing down the daily things you do and marking them off will help keep you accountable. Building those habits is what helps you automate your day and be more likely avoid burnout.
Personally, I’m obsessed with Notion. It helps keep me organized and on top of my days and gives me great perspective on the progression of my projects.
Focus on tasks that actually relate to your goals
At least once a week, take some time to make sure you’re doing work that’s actually going to help you reach your goals. By intentionally working on tasks and projects that directly relate to achieving your goals, you’ll build momentum to achieving them.
Find an accountability partner
Ideally this is a coworker or teammate, someone who has a clear idea of what you need to accomplish. While this could be your manager, as they’ll be aware of your overall goals for work, it certainly doesn’t have to be.
You simply need someone willing to check in, offer support and encouragement, and step in to help when you need it. In more fun terms, this person should hype you up — they need to make the hard days a little easier and make the good days even better.
In supporting each other, you both experience greater momentum in what you’re working on.
Intentionally express your gratitude for others
Especially when your days feel long, taking time for gratitude can help you re-energize.
So stop and send someone a thank you. Tell others about what’s going well for you and ask them to share the same. Celebrate your wins as a team and make sure the people you work with feel appreciated.
Build momentum as a team
Ultimately, you win and lose as a team. So the more inter-dependent your team is, the better off everyone will be. Use each other’s momentum to keep going and doing the right things.