How do you keep yourself motivated?

15 replies
Hey Makers, this question may depend on your setup (solo-founder, team, ...) but: - How do you keep yourself motivated in the first few months? - Do you set goals? - Any specific routine? Especially if you are working alone.


Dan Edwards
@keeev Happy to help answer from my POV. For context, I work as part of the Product Hunt team, which is ~15 people and fully distributed, and I started 7 months ago. - How do you keep yourself motivated in the first few months? Avoid over-working yourself. It can be really overwhelming at the start of anything new and there's a temptation to work as much as you can, but that'll just lead to burn out. Take regular breaks, discuss what you're working on with others and always be learning and solving new challenges. - Do you set goals? Yes, I do. I'm not the best at setting personal goals, but for work I use Maker Goals to keep myself motivated and accountable. - Any specific routine? I tend to work from 9-6pm, but I break up my day with things like walking the dog, gym, lunch outside (basically anything that allows me to disconnect every now and then). Like I mentioned earlier, taking regular breaks allows me to stay motivated and focussed. When working alone, I also try to get out and see people semi-regularly, which helps with the feeling of isolation that can come with working remotely. I hope this helps โœŒ๏ธ
Ryan Hoover
My motivation is largely influenced by: 1. Excitement around the idea or project. 2. Ability to make a huge impact in my role. Without both of those, I'll be far less effective or enthusiastic at work. My recommendation to solo makers is to ensure you're working on something you're truly excited about and choose a project that you're uniquely qualified to build based on your background or skills.
Louis Grenard
@keeev glad to share my two cents: - How do you keep yourself motivated in the first few months? > When I'm willing to create something, this is because it replies to a need I have met myself, then I see if it can help other people. On the top of that, I really enjoy building and challenging myself, especially when I don't know how to build the thing on the T instant. The long run is so exciting, and you always learn something new on the way. - Do you set goals? > Yes I set goals, but I try to avoid deadlines (talking for my own projects here, not workday environment). But I always start my day by writing done on a physical to-do list my three main goals of the day. It can be anything: "work on X feature", "spend time with friends", etc. At the end of the day, that feeling when you check the todo is always a boost for yourself that is actually linked to the previous point above. - Any specific routine? > I get used to wake up at 5am for months, but as now I went part time with my day job, I: - Get up at around 6am - Write down my main goals of the day - Shower, breakfast, gym, shower - Then it depends of which day of the week it is, according to that it'll be: work for my own or work for the company, socialise/be with my loved ones. Hope that helps ๐Ÿ˜Š
Gabriel Werlich
I always have a project I'm working on, and right now I'm working alone. How do I keep myself motivated? I have three rules I try to keep (and I'm planning on building a product around it): - Always finding a clear next step - Blocking out or compromising in my calendar the time I will use to build my product. - Share with close people what I'm building, so they hold me accountable in some way Do you set goals? Yes, I try to set goals for my productivity, in a way that I dont "overheat" and need too much cooldown afterwards. And for the project I'm building, I try to make clear what will invalidate my product. Any specific routine? I try to let everything I'm working on always open, or close to me somehow. Like, if I happen to be playing around with interface on paper, I will not put those in a cabinet unless I'm really done. If I'm on google sheets doing data analysis, I will let those tabs open for the duration of the project, or until they are not needed. Its not a routine, more of a "reminder". And I keep blocking time to work on the projects I have.
Adrian Pike
@keeev hey hey! Super neat question, I'm gonna answer it from the side hustle perspective; I find that at the beginning of a project, I've got tons of excitement and passion, so I spend a ton of time at the beginning setting myself up to have as little toil as possible down the road. This is when I'll burn evenings and weekends and withdraw from the family time pool. From an engineering perspective, think CI/CD, solid API specs, anything that stands between me and shipping. Same thing goes for the operations, I get my gmail filters set up, marketing plans, anything that would stand in my way when I switch into running mode - a few months in, I'm running low on the drive to be able to skip dinners and hole up in a cave, so I need to be keyed up to deliver small wins in <15 minutes - I can't be tinkering with SPF headers when I'm on the ferry, I need to _get that marketing email out_! Achieving wins, however small, keeps the fire burning longer too. I set monthly metric goals, and if any experiment that moves the needle will take more than 15 minutes, I'll break it down to even smaller chunks.
Lisa Dziuba
@keeev My "anti-desperate" & motivation list: ๐Ÿ˜ด 8h sleep ๐Ÿฅ— healthy food ๐ŸŒ„ remote + travels ๐Ÿง  1-on-1 with my co-founder @geek_1001 ๐Ÿ˜† unfollow all ppl who post "only happy life" โญ listen more to honest founders (like @steli & @hnshah podcast, or F2F meetups) ๐Ÿงก talk to our happy users & community
Tkachenko Arthur ~UA~
@keeev @geek_1001 @steli @hnshah @lisadziuba LOL! Viva Ukraine - similar here! All my "nice friends" are unfollowed totally
Kristian Naess
@keeev Imagine yourself successful and think about all the people you can have an impact on if you succeed. I set both short term goals and long term goals and make sure that I am able to reach them. I also use a task manager (Tika) and work out at least twice a week.
@keeev I like to set goals that are realistic so I stay motivated and get a sense of achievement when I accomplish them. I also enjoy staying connected to other makers and techies in similar stages so I have a support network who get it. I take a holistic approach to motivation and productivity. They say where the mind goes the body follows so I try to stay mentally fit with meditation, reading, good sleep, and physically fit with exercise, good eating habits. When I'm investing in myself I tend to be productive. But as @rrhoover said there are certain tasks which aren't interesting/exciting/relevant enough to get hyped up about. For me I try to delegate those where possible or block out time to get through all of them and then reward myself afterwards.
Chris Davis
@keeev For things that I'm just working on for fun, I find that it's important to allow myself not to finish things. By removing that pressure, I usually am able to tinker enthusiastically then shift gears when the next shiny object comes along. Sometimes my passion for the old thing will be renewed and I'll pick it back up. In those instances I try to set a completion goal just to bring it to some conclusion. Generally speaking though, I like to: - visualize what success will look like in the mid- to long-term - reverse-engineer to set goals for 1, 3, 6, and 12 months - measure progress weekly As long as I am moving toward the big picture I feel a pull to keep going.
Astha Sharma
@keeev Great question! Personally, I try to set attainable goals for every week (reaching out to people, how many sign up, etc). Even if those goals aren't met, it helps to track progress and see where things went wrong. The best part of a startup is that there really is no rules or "one way" to do things. With my company we've been figuring out as it's going along. Moreso, even if it doesn't work out, I know I would be able to get another job and definately got to learn way more than an office job!
Tkachenko Arthur ~UA~
@keeev 1) you should have a dream and be ready for a long road 2) you need to have workflow. and if you don't have motivation - you still can move your feet forward. 3) you need to have discipline and be ready to give up a lot of things. and what is "few months" - it means that when your batteries will drawn out - you'll step back? How to be motivated for years - this is hard question. Because everyone can squeeze himself for some more juice. But sometimes you need to go for a new orangies. When I first started I was scary that i can "work" without holidays for 2 months. I was thinking that soon I'll be dead, because everyone is resting from Friday night, right? Next time I wake up - it was 9 months hustle. But I'm not advice to work hard. Better work smarter.
Sarah Loertscher
@keeev thanks for posting this question, it's so nice to hear from others what their processes are. How do you keep yourself motivated in the first few months? - I work remotely, and connecting with the team daily keeps me motivated. Just knowing there are a few other people out their moving towards the same goal is energizing - When I'm not feeling particularly motivated, reminding myself to zoom out and look at the big picture is helpful. Remembering what made me excited about the project. I often think about my relationship to work like a relationship with a person, so basically remembering why I fell in like/love in the first place! - Making time to NOT work is also important - if work is super consuming I tend to get really unmotivated. I need time to tend to my other interests, too: friends, cooking, gardening, etc. Do you set goals? - Yes, I'm really goal driven. I have a running list of what I want to get done each week and set up my to-dos either the night before or in the morning before I get started. Ideally I set up my tasks the night before so I can just get to work. Routine: - Yes, up around 7, working by 9. Usually I try to take a gym break at 3, which is when I hit a solid lull and need to move my body and refresh my brain. I really liked @abadesi's recommendations too about where the mind goes, the body follows. I find that's true for me.
Justin Jackson
@keeev there are three things that are keeping me motivated with right now: 1. MRR milestones: hitting $10k, $20k, and now aiming for $30k 2. Our customers! Seeing them have success with the product is incredibly motivating 3. Having a co-founder has been really great. Every week we do a weekly podcast together: Build Your SaaS.
Arthy Micell
@keeev Motivational music every morning, good work environment and visible impact of what im doing keeps me motivated to go on