Having good motivation to build a business is a great thing, but there’s something even better than that, and that’s good habits.

At some point, we’ve all felt the strong motivation to go and DO something. But after a while the strong sense of motivation dies off, and we wander aimlessly a bit until something else fires up our motivation to go and do something else instead.

The result for most people I guess is the same as mine has been in the past. No steady, coherent plan, no movement forward, just a bit of thrashing about, and then it all goes quiet. Until the next bit of motivation hits.

So what can you do about that?

Well once you know that motivation is emotionally driven, you can understand why it doesn’t last very long. If you kept the same emotional high for a prolonged period, it would burn you out.

I’m sure you know what I mean. You have this great idea, you get excited about it, you spend a few hours looking into it and building the idea to the point where you think it’s worth doing.

You may then even spend a couple of days working at it, and go to the point of taking out a domain name, putting up a web site and writing a few words. Great!

Then the emotional high dies, you start to think about other things, and the “great idea” is forgotten about until 12 months later when it’s time to renew the domain.

Yes, I’ve done that. What a waste of effort, what a waste of a good idea.

Over time, I gradually came to the realisation that I can’t possibly follow through with every good idea I have, so I’ve now become very selective. I ask myself “Do I have a minimum of 60 minutes every day to work on this? Is it worth the effort?”

In most cases the answer to both those questions is no. So that then leaves me with the choice of either binning the idea altogether, or putting it in my ideas document for a later time.

Some make it into the document, but about 90% get binned, as realistically I just don’t have the time.

So if motivation is hurting you, what can you do to fix it?

The answer is to develop good habits that replace the temporary motivation.

Here’s an example.

I’m on the mailing lists of a lot of marketers, and I have a single email account I receive all my marketing email into. I get an average of 30 emails a day, all making me various offers. If I read them all and followed them through, that would be my day over.

So what I do is scan the name of the marketer and the subject line to see what it’s all about. If the subject catches my eye, then I may scan the email, or if it’s a marketer I admire, then I’ll properly read the email. Either of these may result in me clicking through.

If I do, unless the product is exceptional, I’ll only spend about 2 minutes on the sales page as I’m now immune to sales copy (I know how to write good copy myself and how it works, so other people’s is never going to work on me). If the product is exceptional, then I mark the email as unread, and continue scanning the others.

If I find one email that I follow through each day, that’s about it. The whole process takes me no more than 5 minutes usually, and quite often less than a minute. I might do this once in the morning and once in the afternoon, so my total time with marketing email is no more than 10 minutes per day.

In the evening, I may go back to the email I marked unread and give it up to 15 minutes of my time, sometimes longer if I find it particularly interesting, but generally this time is dropping.

Very infrequently (about every 4 months or so) I’ll take an email I’ve received that is good sales copy and has really grabbed my attention, and I drop it into a “Well Written Emails” folder to use as a crib sheet for a later date.

So there’s a habit I’ve developed that saves me hours of my time, while still getting the benefit of following up on interesting offers, and also taking note of what worked on me as it will likely work for me too.

A habit I’m also developing is posting something useful like this on my blog once a day. It’s beginning to pull in traffic and new subscribers, so it’s something I’ll keep up. I’ll write about this in the next week or so, but it’s a very good habit to have. Take that away from here, if nothing else.

There you have it. Motivation is great, but in many cases it’s short lived and does nothing for you. It’s the day to day mundane habits that will make a real difference to your business.

What do you think? Comments below please.

-Frank Haywood