You’re not being as productive as you want to be.
This doesn’t just have to be about writing and your novel, this can be applied to anything in your life you are working toward; saving money, losing weight, starting a business, being a more involved parent, learning a skill. Whatever it is you are trying to achieve.
Whatever is important to you right now.
People often comment on my willpower and determination and I think I have been a bit lax in my responses. I say stuff like: “You just have to buckle down and do it.” Which I think is a bit discouraging to people and shows that I haven’t really taken the time to sit down and analyze my own process.
It tends to be the things we are good at that we have most trouble explaining to others, because it’s not something we have to think about, we just do it. However there are things I do to keep myself motivated and give myself the willpower to achieve what I do. It just hadn’t occurred to me they wouldn’t be instinctive to other people.
Kind of like if you told me you were itchy, I would say: ‘Oh, that sucks.’ It wouldn’t occur to me you didn’t know how to scratch it!
So there are three things I ask myself daily to in order be super, insanely productive.
1. Why do I want to achieve this?
Write a list. Maybe it will be short. Maybe it will be really long. I think you should list every single thing you can think of. And write the truth. Write down the reasons you would be ashamed to admit out loud. Don’t write the shit you think would sound good if you had to talk on Oprah. You want to lose weight because you want to be hot. You want to lose weight because you want your ex to regret breaking up with you. You probably don’t really want to lose weight to be ‘healthier’. We all know that’s bullshit.
2. Which of these reasons is good enough to suffer for?
Is it really worth suffering through an hour of workouts and cooking healthy every single day to make your dumb ex regret her choices? Probably not. But if losing weight gives you the confidence to meet and marry your soul mate, maybe all those hours of effort are worth it. Underline the top 1-3 things that you would suffer to achieve, that this project or goal as the prospect of bringing you.
This is where a lot of people make a vision board, by the way. They put those 1-3 things they want on a corkboard near their workspace so they can see them all the time. So when their motivation is flagging, they can look at the vision board and say: ‘Yes, those things are worth suffering for.’ If that will help you, I suggest you do it too. Personally, when I see images of the things I want, I end up googling them for 2 hours, adding new pictures to the collection, or, for some reason, spontaneously driving to Maleny to wade around in creeks. So I have to keep my list in words only. Do what will motivate you, not what will distract you.
3. What would I do right now to further this goal if someone had a gun to my head?
You have to believe in what you are capable of and you have to prioritise your own goal and happiness. What could you do today if it was literally life or death? Great, do that. That’s what you’re capable of.
Now keep asking yourself that, every day. This is your fucking life. These are the things you are willing to suffer for! Make them happen, moron. Stop dicking around on my blog, you have lists to write.