If I wrote half as much as I think about how I should be writing then I would be one of the most prolific writers in the world. Instead I go on a shame guilt trip, considering how much work I’m not getting done while searching the internet for spoilers on my favorite TV shows. Who here has not gone on an internet spiral that has sucked up hours of their day?
So yes, for me motivation is hard. Lack of productivity is a real issue in my life. I enjoy waiting until the deadline, and if there isn’t a deadline, then screw it. As a dreamy, sometimes lazy person when I’m not properly motivated here are the tricks I use to stay on track.
1. DO IT FOR TEN MINUTES
Have you ever thought well, I don’t have time to really dive into that right now so I’m going to wait. And then you wait. And wait. And wait, until it’s months later and you never actually found the time. Welcome to my very exclusive club.
Tell yourself you’re going to do it for 10 minutes. Tackle the dishes for ten minutes, job search for ten minutes, exercise for ten minutes, cold call potential new clients for ten minutes. Set an alarm and get to work on working on it. You’re amazing, you can do anything for 10 minutes. Once the alarm goes off you can stop or keep going. Usually, for me it’s just the getting started that sucks. Once I get into a rhythm, I’m not ready to quit. But if you are ready to quit, do it.
You can tackle another ten minutes in the next hour or congratulate yourself on following through on your project for ten minutes.
2. EAT THE FROG
You know what the most important thing you have to do is. If you don’t, sit down and write down the three things you must do, the three things most important to your goal.
And then when you wake up in the morning, tackle your most important goal. Or do your worst task first.
This came from Mark Twain who said that if you eat a live frog first thing, everything else won’t seem so bad. Author Brian Tracy wrote a whole book about “eating your frog,” or accomplishing your most pressing task first.
If you’ve ever done your most important thing first thing, you know how great it feels to look up and it’s 9:00 am and you’ve already tackled your biggest issue of the day. It’s an amazing feeling.
Make a goal for the next three days, you’re going to do your most important task first. You’ll feel like an accomplishment badass, I promise.
3. REWARD YOURSELF
We all like to receive rewards for our accomplishments, we’re looking for that praise telling us how amazing we are for cleaning up after ourselves in the bathroom.
Creating self-rewards can help you become a productivity machine. I do this in the form of television. I love TV. I love to turn on the TV as random background while I do the dishes or play on the internet. I have a television addiction, as an adult I don’t have anyone else telling me to stop watching so much TV.
Once I turned television not into a right, but a privilege, it helped me get stuff done. I started a rule that for every hour of productive work, I banked a half an hour of television. An hour of work = a half hour of television. If I wanted to watch TV, I had to do the work first.
This has helped me in a lot of ways. First, it’s cut down on the mindless amount of television I watch. Now I’m more aware that when I’m watching TV, it better be something that I enjoy, instead of just a show I put on because I want to have something on. I’ve become more aware of what television I’m watching, the amount of time I spend watching TV and now watching TV has become more of a privilege, rather than a given.
Find your version of television, a reward that will help motivate you and tie it to your productivity. Or link an activity to a reward, you’re allowed to watch your favorite show on your phone while working out at the gym. Pair something you love with what you want to get done, it’ll help make it happen.
4. REMOVE DISTRACTIONS
Stephen King once said a writer’s best friend is boredom. He’s right, you’re much more inclined to write when you’re bored. The same goes for other activities. Once you remove the super fun shiny things from under your nose, you’re more likely to focus on what you need to do.
That means cutting distractions from your life. Go up to your wi-fi and shut it off while you’re working. I find myself, as a major habit, clicking on my little internet icon randomly, even in the middle of working on a project. When the sad sign comes up telling me I’m not connected it reminds me I shouldn’t be on the internet.
Turn off your wi-fi. Hide your remote. Remove all temptation to stray from other areas from your life. That’ll help you concentrate on what you need to be doing now. You can check Facebook later.
5. TRACK YOURSELF
To help change your behaviors first you need to understand what you’re doing wrong. For a few days track where your time goes. How much time you spend on the internet, how long are your coffee breaks, how much time do you spend working.
People who track exactly what they eat are more likely to lose weight because they’re aware of what they’re eating. They know how many Big Macs and ice cream breaks they’re scheduling in between the healthy salads they’re trying to eat. When you have to write down you mindlessly ate half a bag of potato chips, you realize how that behavior is affecting you.
The same can go for your time. When you become aware of what you’re doing and why, it can help you change your behavior.
We’re not all going to react to productivity changes in the same way. Explore your productivity by trying these different options. Check it out and see which one or which combination of productivity habits will help you. Go out and be productive.
Have any productivity tips? Which one works for you? Let us know in the comments below.