10 Ways to Make Your Proofreading Goals Happen (Even When You’re Having a Bad Day)


by elizabethjwiegner

Some days you’re up early and ready to make your goals for the day happen.

And then some days you’re struggling hard to turn a negative mindset into a positive one. Or you’re just plain tired.

You’re happy if you make it through the day without feeling like you want to go back to bed or rock yourself back and forth in a corner of the room.

If that’s how you’re feeling…know beyond a doubt that you’re not the only one. (I have a hard time staying focused and productive some days too.)

It’s rough feeling positive about your goals 100% of the time.

Usually in response to those feelings overwhelm, it’s not unusual to hear a couple common phrases shared around on social media. Either:

It’s okay you’re feeling that way, and it’s okay to give yourself a pass and ditch the plans. You’re perfectly imperfect, and that’s just life. OR

Just get over yourself, push through it, make it happen, regardless of how you’re feeling.

But honestly, neither of those options are the answer.

Actually, they’re both pretty bad.

The first one encourages you to give up your goals, to give yourself a hug, feel a little sorry for yourself, blame your circumstances a bit…and console yourself into feeling that because you’re doing your best and you’re just tired, you can shove your goals under the rug and move on just the way you are. What happens then though is, frankly, you just end up staying the same.

Nothing changes.

Another day, another week, another month…another year rolls by…

And you’re still doing the same thing, making the same goals of starting your proofreading business…and never actually making progress.

The second idea caves to the #hustle mindset, where if you’re not working yourself to the bone to get your business started, then you just aren’t working hard enough. So push through the pain and exhaustion, just work, work, work, until finally your brain just can’t work anymore.

Clearly neither of these options are good. Really, they both end up leading to the same problem: you’re still discouraged because your proofreading business isn’t growing (or even getting started).

So instead of repeating the cycle over and over again, let’s look at 10 ways you can motivate yourself when you just don’t feel like making your proofreading goals happen.

1. Don’t wait until the first of the week to start on your goals.

How many times have you failed your goals the first day or two of the week…and then you feel like you’ve just blown it for the week? So you mentally prepare yourself to start up again next week, and then give yourself a pass for the rest of the week (show of hands who’s done that — I’m right there with you!).

While the idea of a new week does do wonders to help with a clean slate, it really kills any motivation left for the current week you’re on. And it leaves you down in the dumps.

Whether you’re feeling the slump Monday afternoon or Friday morning, there is still so much more time you CAN be working on your goals! Maybe it doesn’t mean you get as much done as you wanted. But that’s okay! As long as you’re working on some part of your goal, you’re still getting something done.

Stop thinking of Mondays as being your fresh start, and start thinking of each day as a fresh start. And even more than that, start thinking of each part of your day as a new time to begin.

Your morning didn’t go as planned? That’s okay! You still have this afternoon and evening to make at least some headway on a project.

Learn to make right now a fresh start.

2. Make time to work out.

Wait, aren’t I supposed to be helping you find ways to help you work on your goals…not add more to your list of things to do?

I’m making an exception on this list because working out is really that important. Now, I’m not saying you have to go join a gym and spend a few hours every day there.

What I am encouraging is to make it a point to focus on moving for at least 20 minutes a day (more if you’d like!).

You can join a gym, but there are a lot of other options: go for a walk, rent exercise DVDs from the library, get workout videos on YouTube, join a fitness club (boxing, yoga, cycling, etc.), jump on the trampoline with your kids. My personal favorite is riding my Peloton bike and soaking up the energy from the instructors.

Exercising gives your brain a chance to stop thinking all about work and focus on something else for a little bit. It also releases endorphins throughout your body, which makes your body actually feel good.

Beyond that, exercising is healthy for you. It’s important to take care of your body. After all, it is the only one you have to start your proofreading business with! 

3. Get enough sleep.

Skipping out on an hour or two of sleep is one of the easiest ways to get more time in your day and more stuff done, right?


For busy entrepreneurs, it’s easy to think we can power through on a few short hours of sleep every night. If we can skip some sleep now, we’ll be able to get more done.

But we’re actually hurting ourselves far more when we consistently miss out on sleep.

The average adult needs about 7-8 hours of sleep a day. Getting less than that can lead to a lot of problems like lack of attention and focus, being unable to solve problems, and disorganization. (All pretty important things when you’re working on our proofreading business!)

Beyond that though, a lack of sleep can lead to health issues like getting sick more often and more easily. Beyond that, it can also lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, even heart attack and stroke.

And not enough sleep can also lead to depression, which most definitely affects how you feel about making your goals happen.

(I’m not making things up: you can read more here.)

Taking care of your brain’s and your body’s health isn’t just an option when it comes to making your goals happen — it’s crucial!

Now, this next point isn’t going to make myself many friends. But it needs to be said…

4. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard other work-from-home proofreading hopefuls talk about how hard it is to get started working from home — their schedule is too packed, their kids are too noisy, their husband isn’t on board 100%. They are too tired or too distracted. They don’t have enough skills or enough connections.

The list goes on and on.

Now, it is important to take a realistic approach to the challenges you have because you can’t fix problems by just ignoring them.

However, there’s a difference between being a realist and feeling sorry for yourself. A realist is able to look at the issue, realize there are both positive and negatives to the situation, and then deal with the challenges.

Sitting in a state of feeling sorry for yourself zaps all your energy right out of you. It becomes all consuming. It makes you feel depressed and unmotivated. It changes your perspective.

And it spends wastes valuable time you could instead be using to face your challenges and tackle your goals.

I can’t tell you the amount of time I spend on a weekly basis encouraging people to stop focusing on all the “woe is me” feels and instead focus on realizing their struggles and overcoming them to meet their goals.

You may feel unqualified to be a proofreader and get down in the dumps about it — but instead of sitting there upset about it, start thinking about practical ways you can fix the problem you’re stuck on.

I can help get you started!

Frustrated you don’t know how to start your own proofreading business? Sign up for the 5-Step Action Plan and get your business started in two hours or less.

Discouraged you’re not getting clients? Learn better ways to market yourself and join a community to brainstorm ideas with (that’s what Make Money Proofreading is all about.)

Overwhelmed you don’t have enough time to work on your proofreading plans? Start making ways you can carve out just 30 minutes a day to work on your proofreading goals.

Instead of poking your toes in the mud and refusing to look up at the sunshine, start figuring out ways to overcome your challenges and meet your goals.

After all, would a goal be a goal if you didn’t have to work some to get there?

5. Spend time with like-minded people.

One of the best ways to not feel sorry for yourself and to get yourself motivated is to hang around others with the same goals as you!

Who we hang around makes a BIG difference! So make a point to surround yourself with people who have similar goals as you, and you’ll be motivated to keep working on your goals.

You can be encouraged by seeing others who are at the same point in their careers as you are and know you aren’t alone! And you can be super motivated by seeing others who have grown their businesses and are successful.

You can brainstorm and bounce ideas around with each other. Encourage each other. Support each other. Be referrals for each other.

It’s an awesome feeling to be surrounded by other proofreaders and know we aren’t alone.

That’s one of the major reasons why I created the Make Money Proofreading private community so that as you’re working on your proofreading business, you’re always around other proofreaders to get ideas from, grow with, and keep motivated.

6. Focus on your priority for the day.

I’m a huge fan of planning your goals for the week and writing a to-do list for each day. A to-do list that has your main goal in mind but the action items are broken down into tasks you do every day that week.

While you’re making your to-do list for the day, think about what your one or two major priorities for the day is. If you didn’t get anything else done that day but those one or two proofreading to-dos, you’ve still got something good done for the day.

You don’t have to make huge to-do lists. Your list can be something as simple as 1) contacting two potential clients and 2) getting to bed by 10:00.

Then when you’re making your schedule for the day, you plan everything around those two priorities. Then if something comes up during the day or you just start feeling rundown and tired, you at least got your priorities done.

Then you can still consider that day a success. (And that feels pretty amazing!)

7. Reassess your priorities.

If you’re like me, you’re probably a little type A. You fill your to-do lists up because you have a million things going on and you want to be (and feel!) productive. Sometimes your one or two priorities you pick for the day end up being some pretty big, time-consuming, brain-draining tasks.

Or sometimes as you’re planning your one or two priorities for the day, they start becoming four or five…or seven. And before you know it, you’re back in the same boat of everything’s a priority and you’re barely keeping your head above water.

If that starts happening, it’s time to reassess your priorities. Honestly think about how long they will take or how much brain power you will need to invest to get them done.

And then reschedule so you can be sure to get them done during the day.

8. Step away for 15 to 20 minutes (or more!).

Sometimes we’re so overwhelmed about everything that needs to get done that we don’t let ourselves take a break. Migraines happen and our eyes start crossing. And then we start making crazy typos and the sentences we’re writing don’t even make sense. Or you’ve had to reread the same paragraph a dozen times…and still can’t figure out what it’s trying to say. (Clearly not what we want happening as proofreaders!)

You’re actually wasting more time having to redo everything you’re working on, or you’re working far more slowly than you usually would just because you’re tired.

So start stepping away for 15, 20 minutes before you get to the point of exhaustion.

Give your eyes a break from staring at a screen. Go for a walk, do the dishes, throw in a load of laundry — something that’s still good for you but doesn’t require your focus.

Or if you’re someone who can take a power nap, set a timer and close your eyes! You’ll wake up, able to concentrate so much better.

If you’re feeling out of energy, it’s okay to step away for an entire morning or afternoon. It really is! If it helps you come back ready to go, focused and energized, then it’s going to be worth the extra time you took.

While it may seem like you’re taking away from work time, you’re actually saving yourself time by allowing yourself to work more efficiently when you get back. (You won’t feel so overwhelmed or frustrated either.)


9. Look at your why.

Finding your why(s) is the very first thing any of my proofreading students do in my courses. It’s not to take up time. Finding your why(s) is the foundation to your proofreading business. It’s what gives you direction and motivation from day 1.

You have to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Otherwise when life gets tough and you’re having bad day(s), working on your business can feel pointless.

And when you’re tired and unmotivated and you’re feeling like this is never going to work, you need to look back at your proofreading why(s). Then you can remember, Yes, this is why I’m doing this. This is why it’s worth it. And this is why I can’t give up. 

You decided to start your proofreading business for a reason. It’s important to you; it’s worth working hard on; and it’s worth not giving up on.

That doesn’t mean push yourself until you’re ready to give up. And it doesn’t mean consoling yourself that giving up is okay because you’re just tired.

What it does mean is you take a balanced approach. Give yourself room to breath. Give yourself grace on the days when you are having a harder time. Think through your priorities, rework them if you have to. Talk about your goals. Remember your why.

10. Listen to your favorite playlist. 

Recently I’ve started pulling Spotify up every morning and playing my favorite album as I get started on work. It’s a praise and worship album, and it gets me on shouting ground! Just what I need to focus on what’s really important to me and help me get my mind pulled back into a positive space.

I can’t really listen to music with lyrics while I proofread, but I keep a particular praise and worship album on repeat while I set my day up.

It makes such a big difference! Find an album (or playlist) that gets you right for the day! And then keep some music in the background while you work. It does wonders!

Now that you have these 10 ways to turn your day around, it’s time to take a deep breath and know…

…you’ve got this! (I’m cheering for you here!)

What do you think? 

Which of these 10 ways will you work on to make your proofreading goals happen, even when you’re having a bad day?

Do you have other tips you use to get yourself motivated to work on your work-from-home goals?

Let me know in the comments below!

Be an action taker!

If you’re feeling frustrated about what to even do to get your proofreading business started, tap here to get started with the 5-Step Action Plan

Proofreading Tips & Fun



  1. Hannah

    Great suggestions Elizabeth! I’ve definitely tried ALL of these at some points but I will admit that I struggle the most often with #3… getting enough sleep. I know sleep is important and I’m not even up late working. I think it’s more just a bad habit I have trouble breaking. However, your post has inspired me to make it a priority this week 🙂

    • elizabethjwiegner

      Thank you, Hannah! And same. I am not good at reminding myself to sleep enough. We’ll both be working on that priority this week 😀


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