You know that moment when you really do feel like you’re giving it your all and working hard and doing as best as you can? Well here’s the thing no one will tell you– you’re not.
If you’re behind or struggling to get good or catch up, there’s no denying it can be difficult. You’re telling yourself that you are swamped so you feel less terrible about the fact that you cant get it that program, coding project, resume-updating, whatever it is finished. You keep blaming it on the fact that you have much planned so many responsibilities (meetings, calls, etc), that there is just so much on the list. Sometimes you’re even willing to self-deprecate and say you’re just not smart enough as those other guys, that you’ve hit your peak. You’re telling people about how you wish you could do it; you’re asking others how they do it; you’re reading articles about how you’re supposed to be productive. But the real issue is you’re not sitting down, cutting out all the distractions in the world and just doing the work.
Want a tough love, no-fluff solution? Read on. (Or you know, go call someone and tell them how hard things are, whatever works 😛 )
Step 1: Prepare your mind and your space
- Write a list of all the big things important things you really want to do and need to do that keep showing up on your daily to do list –laundry, grocery shopping, and lofty 5 year plans don’t belong here.
- Go to a clear work space.
- Turn off your phone and put it away in a drawer. Lock it if you must. Tell yourself not to check emails. Close out of everything on your computer except the thing you actually need to do.
- Go to the bathroom.
- Get yourself water, your favorite go-to beverage, and snack.
You now have absolutely no real excuse to get it from that chair.
Step 2: Prepare your assignment
- Print, pull up, read everything you need to understand what your task actually is. Lay it all out in front of you for reference.
Step 3: Work
- Do not look at the clock.
- Do not look at the locked drawer with your phone in it.
- Do not pass go and collect 200.
But seriously, you’re all set up. You have no excuses.
Step 4: When you’re done
- Go over to that list you wrote up, and take a pen and cross it out. In my case, I enjoy forcefully scribbling our particularly annoying or tedious tasks.
- Without pausing for a rewarding break, without talking to someone, just turn to the next task immediately. Tell yourself that if you can push through this extra task you’ll treat yourself to a really great something or other.
- Then don’t. This is the most important step. You have to learn to fool yourself into motivation sometimes to get everything done. Developing that work ethic is insanely hard, but I mean you probably just developed a website so you’re up to the challenge!
Keep pushing. You’ll get through that third or fourth task, and realize you’re on a roll. Keep convincing yourself that with each task you do your potential reward is getting bigger and bigger. The work euphoria will probably keep you going until you have that next appointment or scheduled obligation come up. When you’re in that meeting/event you have scheduled keep the mindset of efficiency and think about how you need to get back to that list.
Did this plan work for you? Got a better idea (Anyone who has invented a time turner or click remote has my vote)? Feel free to comment below.