If I’m one thing, it’s productive.
In fact, yesterday I wrote an entire post lamenting my inability to take some time for myself because I pretty much always think that there’s something better I could be doing; something I could be writing, homework I could be doing, calories I could be burning, blogs I could be commenting on – guys, I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again, shit’s crazy.
Case in point:
Alright. So far: Gym, shower, almost 1 assignment done, 3 blog posts, some commenting, and now… laundry. Gotta hand wash some stuff. Boo.
— Daisy (@add_vodka) April 14, 2012
I’m frequently asked, by many different people, how I get motivated to do all of this stuff. So I thought I would give you an overview of how I remain motivated and productive from day to day without burning out.
Don’t Give Yourself the Option
One of my favourite strategies if I want to get something (or many things) done is that I just don’t give myself the option to not get it done.
I don’t think Well, I could either watch Teen Mom OR do the dishes. I think I can’t watch Teen Mom until I do the dishes.
Sometimes, admittedly, this is hard. Especially in situations where the task is optional. Doing the dishes isn’t really optional; eventually, it has to get done. However, going to the gym is optional. So in this case, I skip down to the next thing.
Go Through the Motions
With the optionals that I really want to do, I get my motivation up to get them done by prepping myself to do them.
For instance, going to the gym. I’ll be thinking about how I don’t want to go, about how I’d rather be doing something else; I’ll be making excuses in my head and complaining about it to my boyfriend, but as soon as I put on my gym clothes, I get the motivation to go to the gym.
Another example is writing blog posts. I love writing but when I feel obligated? It’s not fun. It’s also optional, so sometimes my motivation wanes. I make sure to sit down, open a new post draft, and set myself up for success by ensuring I have no excuses.
I pour myself a glass of water so I can’t wander away from my draft because I’m thirsty. I make sure my book is in the other room or the TV is off and the remote is out of arms reach. And I just do it.
Envision Your Goal
When my motivation is waning and I’m starting to feel drained, but I still have a lot on my plate, I re-center myself.
I take 5-10 minutes to remind myself why doing that task is important to me. Blogging is important to me because it’s an outlet – it is important to me because I’ve worked my ass off to build this blog to what it is now and I would never want to see that work go to waste; homework is important to me because my education defines my financial future; cleaning the house is important to me because I don’t work well in clutter; exercise is important to me so that I can still enjoy the food I want and remain healthy.
I envision my life without these things and that’s usually enough to get me back on the productivity train. I spend some time envisioning my life if I do these things successfully, in the future, and that really helps me refocus.
Taste Testing Can Add Up
That title is deceiving, but I remember reading in this magazine somewhere that parents of young children are more likely to struggle with their weight because they don’t realize how quickly taste testing/temperature testing/sampling the kids food can add up to a lot of extra calories.
I translate this into productivity. I’ll tell myself that, since I won’t have the energy to do something all at once, I’ll just taste test it – for instance, if I have a 40 page paper to write, I’ll first go to my course website and read the rubric. I’ve taste-tested my task, and then I’ll do something less torturous. Then, I’ll set myself another test-testing limit – I’ll tell myself I only have to do 20 minutes of writing, and then I can take a break.
If you do this for an afternoon (such is my reality as a student), it ends up adding up to quite a bit of time, and quite a bit of productivity.
So, in a nutshell, those are my tips for success. Any others that you can think of? Do you struggle with productivity?