How to Stay Motivated Without a Boss

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 10/26/09 •  5 min read
Places like this keep me motivated to work for myself...

Places like this keep me motivated to work for myself...

First thing is first.  I have to thank each and everyone of you who made last Thursday the biggest single day for traffic in the history of Location180.  With over 40 comments and hundreds of page views for “My Last Day”  I am absolutely humbled and amazed at the amount of positive feedback I have received.  In a time that is as uncertain as this is for me, to have such a strong support system is the best thing  I could ask for.

Now with that being said, it is a week later and I am still here.  I am not dead, I have not been swallowed up in a black hole of self pity, I am here and as motivated as ever to pursue the life that I was meant to live.  So let that be a lesson, if you find yourself unemployed the world will not collapse all around you (well at least not in the first week!).  Now that I am currently un (self)-employed, I have had to completely shift my thinking regarding what constitutes work and how to go about it.  In my past life I had a boss to dictate what I needed to do and when I needed to do it.  There was no question about when I would be in the office.  Monday through Friday I was to be there from 7:30 to 5.  That isn’t the case any more.  My hours are now whatever I make them, and my office, well it has been Sip & Kranz coffee shop on _________ in Portland, Oregon.  So how do you make this adjustment?  It has actually been an easier transition than I might have anticipated.  The most important piece of wisdom I can impart on you from my 5 days of working for myself would be to:

Set a schedule, and STICK TO IT

I told myself from the beginning that I wasn’t going to allow myself the chance to slack off.  And while I might not have worked as many hours as I probably should have in this first week, I have done a pretty good job of sticking to the schedule I have laid out.  I still strive to be up around 7 o’clock, followed immediately by a work out.  I can’t tell you how good it feels to sit down at my computer around 8:30 and know that I have already gotten my exercise for the day.  This is something that I am not sure I have ever experienced in my life, and I love it.  By identifying things as priorities, and not letting yourself fall victim to your own lazy tendencies, you will see success in whatever it is you are trying to accomplish.

Ok, so I have a schedule, great.  Now what?  Well one of the first things I have learned, and am still having trouble getting a hold of, is what exactly constitutes work?  Do sending emails to readers and bloggers count?  How about applying for new health care?  Or cleaning out my car as I prepare to sell it?  All of these things that used to be after hours activities are suddenly at the forefront of my days.  At the moment I view all of these things as work.  Sure they may not be making me money directly, but when working for yourself, that won’t always be the case.  Doing these things now are an investment in my future life, and I will eventually be better off for having done them.

Society and my own experiences have ingrained into my head that if I am not sitting at a desk for  10 hours a day, I must not be working.  Absolutely not the case.

As I am slowly embracing this change, I am slowly becoming happier and happier with the realization of what I am doing.  While sooner rather than later, I am going to need to make money a focus, right now I am enjoying catching up on all the things I have been unable to do over the past 2 years.  Best of all, none of this feels like work.  Whether it has been writing blog posts, my manifesto or various other things to get my life in order, I am really enjoying it.  That isn’t to say that in two weeks I won’t be totally sick of it, but thats what this is all about right?  Figuring out my passion.

So what else can you do to stay motivated when there isn’t someone there to do it for you?  I have found it incredibly helpful to stay in continual contact with people who are doing what I want to do.  There are a few bloggers/writers/ass kickers out there who are living my dream life.  By constantly talking with them, and using them as resources, I am more confident than ever that I am doing the right thing. Whenever you start to question your path in life, find someone your trust, and seek out advice.  I guarantee they are willing to give it.

The coming weeks will be really interesting to see if I will be able to stick to my plans, and stay as motivated as I currently am.  However, with all of you out there watching intently, there is no doubt in my mind that things are only going to continue getting better from here.

How have you gone about keeping yourself motivated during tough times and times of change?  Tell us about it in the comments!

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Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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