It's a new year, and a new fresh chance at our ever-enduring quest to be a little more awesome. And alongside that fresh chance, comes a fresh slew of blogs, books, trainings, and talks on Goal/Resolution/Theme/How to Kick Ass-setting. As a personal addict of self-improvement, I admit, I read my fair share of this said insight.
Yet, as a species, we're slow to lose bad habits, and good at ignoring (or denying) why this is the case. This year, rather than just hope the productivity fairies intercede and start churning out massive piles of work by the boatload, I decided I'd look a bit more deeply at the productivity enigma and come up with my own formula for success.
The first blog I checked out was Seth Godin's post titled: The reason productivity improvements don't work (as well as they could). This post can be boiled down to simply say, plans and organized folders don't work 100% when it comes to productivity because - - - wait for it - - - you're afraid to get stuff done. You're afraid to ship. Why? Because shipping = failure. And failure is scary - - you with me? "Until you quiet the resistance and commit to actually shipping things that matter, all the productivity tips in the world aren't going to make a real difference. And, it turns out, once you do make the commitment, the productivity tips aren't that needed."
His summary: "You don't need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment." Ok, thanks Seth. So we need a commitment.
Here's where I will start to devise my own personal strategy:
Step 1. Come up with an idea or vision for what you'll do. (Because, afterall, you need an idea to commit to.)
Step 2. Eliminate your fears and make a commitment or pact with yourself to do it, no matter what.
The second blog is Peter Bregman's Your Problem Isn't Motivation. Short summary of this post is that there is a substantial difference between motivation and follow-through. "Motivation is in the mind; follow-through is in the practice. Motivation is conceptual; follow-through is practical. In fact, the solution to a motivation problem is the exact opposite of the solution to a follow through problem. The mind is essential to motivation. But with follow through, it’s the mind that gets in the way."
So we have a problem with follow-through and need to focus on that part.
Follow-through = tough. How to mitigate this? Just start doing things before you start to think about them too much. Be a mule. Don't worry about the fact that you might feel like you are walking alongside a 1,000 foot drop-off in the Grand Canyon. Don't let your mind interfere and sabotage you here. You're 2/3 done, remember?
Here's the third part of my strategy:
Step 3. Just start doing stuff before you think about it too much. Just show up and get the inertia going. An object in motion tends to stay in motion...
Step 1. Have a Vision to start.
Step 2. Make a Commitment and tell your fear of failure to F-off (you have to be really stern here, hence my use of a curse)
Step 3. Just start doing and get the inertia rolling to help carry you through the Follow-through part.
Let me know if you'll consider giving this a whirl, and if you do, what you think!