How do you stay motivated on long-term projects?

You know I’m not a rah-rah type of guy, you will walk away with some actionable items for you to take away and put into effect today.


I want to start this answer by saying that I’m assuming that the project and client are both good. That you are being compensated properly, scope of work is defined, and it’s just a long project.

If that isn’t the case, then on to the having the hard conversations to try and figure out a way to set an end to the project.


I’ve found that freelancing clients are often the ones that need the motivation on the longer projects. They are the ones paying, so really they’ll want that return on their investment as quickly as possible.

I’m always saying “be consistent” in both my personal as well as professional life. In fact, “be consistent” is just one thing that I’ve been whispering in my son, TJ’s ear since the day he was born.

Being consistent means showing up each and every day you say you will for the client.

I find that any and all projects have both short term and long term gains. Even if they are simple and small milestones along the way to those longer term goals.

Long term projects will always have stepping stones to the end game. Things like a feature being built, a set of designs completed, beta testers coming in, even something like content has been written and signed off on is a short term goal.

These are all things you can set up within a project plan with your client.


We are humans, humans do feed off of gamification. You see it in apps like Todoist and others where a simple streak of doing something every day keeps you opening that app.

If you need your own motivation play games with yourself.

It can be as simple as I’m putting 10 hours on this project this week. Or putting yourself into a process where you email your client at the end of every single day with the progress that’s been made on the project.

This is more a game of accountability than anything else. Because it’s the accountability with your client that you don’t want to disappoint.

Staying motivated on long-term projects isn’t hard, it’s delivering on the expected results that is.

If the client is fully educated on how long the it will take to get results, then they may just need to be reminded of that from time to time.

And you need to be consistent to show up, get the job done, and fulfill the work as expected or better.

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