Being productive all the time is hard. Maybe impossible.
I don’t care who you are. From time to time, you’re not going to feel like doing anything. Fear, worry and procrastination creep in… Maybe it’s because you hit a roadblock, or you’re bored with doing the same repetitive task, or you’re not feeling creative all of a sudden. You’re stuck. And, despite your best intentions, you’re just sitting there doing nothing.
You’re stuck. And, despite your best intentions, you’re just sitting there doing nothing.
I’m sure you know the feeling… Monday morning. Tons to do. No idea where to start. Maybe pulling the covers over your head… It can be pretty debilitating. And, if you don’t figure out how to get going, it can be downright dangerous to your business and your own well-being.
Over the years, I’ve come up with a few different approaches to combat The Fear, The Worry and The Procrastination:
Are you scared of the work you need to do? As I’ve come to learn from “War of Art” by Steven Pressfield, only an amateur believes they must overcome the fear.
Only an amateur believes they must overcome the fear.
A professional knows that there’s no such thing as a fearless warrior. Once you’re in to the action, fear recedes. So, why sit around with dread? Just get going… Take the first step and relieve yourself of fear with action.
“Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.” – Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast.
All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.
Hemingway’s advice always echoes loudest when I’m staring at the blinking cursor on a blank page with a case of writer’s block. If you close your eyes and think about what you’re really trying to say, the sentence comes out.
“So finally, I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy because there was always one true sentence I knew…”
For some strange reason, I have a tendency to start cleaning my home and office when I’m faced with an overwhelming amount of tasks. I used to be pretty hard on myself about procrastinating in this manner, but somewhere along the way, someone showed me that cleaning can be a productive tool for focusing. As a matter of fact, at some Buddhist temples they conduct the practice of soji – a brief period of mindful work; temple cleaning – as an extension of meditation.
The practice of soji – a brief period of mindful work; temple cleaning – as an extension of meditation.
Now, when I find myself avoiding certain work by cleaning, I’ll allow it to happen for twenty or thirty minutes. Once that time is over, I’ll head back to work with a clear mind and the necessary drive to complete them. It’s as if the act of organizing physical objects also organized my thoughts about my tasks. Sounds a little crazy, but it works.
The Time for Rest
These are just some of the ways I’ve managed to take control of my own productivity. And, to be honest, they don’t always work. Sometimes you really just need to kick back and relax. Save the work for another day. It’ll be there when you return…But if you really need to get it done, try out one of the methods outlined above. I bet you’ll find the work gets done faster than you imagined possible.