27 May The Secret Ingredient for Productivity that Most People Skip Over
Lemme know if this sounds familiar:
You sit down at your desk, to-do list chock full of important stuff to do, and you mindlessly type in the browser Facebook.com (or in my case, once I type “fa” my browser knows what’s up and takes me there), and before you know it, it’s been 7 hours and you’ve accomplished absolutely NOTHING.
When you DO work on your business, you kinda just do whatever comes to mind. You don’t really have any specific routine or system, you just do what you feel like doing that day.
You don’t really set hard and fast goals, you just kinda wing it and hope for more money to come in.
You get distracted reeeeaaaally easily and you can’t seem to work for more than a few minutes without something shiny grabbing your attention (and then any hope of being productive just goes to hell).
When people have these kinds of habits, you’ll usually hear them say things like, “I just can’t get motivated”, or “I’m such a procrastinator”, or “It takes NOTHING to distract me, and then I get nothing done”. You’re searching Pinterest for every productivity and time management hack, but nothing works. NOTHING.
The good news is, it’s not because you’re lazy. It’s not because you’re not capable. It’s not even necessarily because you’re disorganized, or scatterbrained, or whatever else you’ve been calling yourself.
It’s because you don’t have a clear why.
“Lady, what does setting life goals have to do with productivity?”
ERRRRRYTHANG. And yet most people totally skip this important-as-hell step.
If you aren’t 110% clear on the direction you’re headed into, then you’re never going to be “all in” and do whatever it takes to get there. See, we humans just loooooooove instant gratification. That’s why when you should be doing something like editing a video, writing a blog, or scheduling social media, you might be tempted to watch Netflix and “do the work later” (it doesn’t work—I’m onto you!). We want to have fun, and we want to have fun NOW. So if you don’t have a clear why, there’s no promise of gratification later, so what ends up happening? You go for the instant gratification.
On the other hand, if you have a goal to buy your first house next year, and it’ll only happen if you succeed in your business? GIRL. You are going to be SO MUCH LESS LIKELY to put off doing the important stuff for your biz in favour of the instant gratification stuff. Sure, there might still be the odd day here and there where you’ll be tempted to procrastinate and just do nothing all day, but having a clear why is like having a never-ending fountain of motivation. You’ll be so fired up, you’ll have to set an alarm to STOP working. Seriously.
So how do you get this ridonkulously amazing WHY that will keep your fire fuelled?
Here’s a 3-step process:
1. Picture your PERFECT day.
Think about what you would do if money were absolutely no object. Where would you be living? Who would you be spending time with? What would you spend your time doing? How many hours a day (if any) would you work? Write a few paragraphs that describe in a ton of detail what your life would look like. You’re just dreaming here, so don’t be afraid to go big. Now’s not the time to cheap out on yourself—this is literally your dream life!
And don’t just think about how YOUR life will be affected—expand that to describe how your family’s lives will be affected too. Because I SEE you, mama—you tend to prioritize them over you (not judging here, we all do it!), and you’re more likely to make something happen if you know that your family will benefit.
One important detail: Make sure your dream can be QUANTIFIED. So instead of saying “I’ll be spending more time with my kids”, say things like “I’ll be home when they get home from school”, or “we’ll eat dinner together at least 5 nights a week”. Or, instead of saying “I’ll have lots of money”, say “I’ll be earning X dollars a year”. Be really freakin’ specific. Set a goal that will, without a doubt, make your dream day a reality.
2. Reverse engineer that goal to create a roadmap.
If your why is the destination, then think of this reverse-engineering process as the roadmap to get there. Reverse-engineering takes your big scary why, and turns it into a series of steps and goals that will let you know that you’re on track to get there. This way, it’s really easy to see when you’re off track, and you can course-correct.
So how to do this? Take your big goal, and write down everything you can think of that needs to be done in order to make it real. Don’t worry about what needs to be done first or last, just get it alllllll out on paper. THEN once it’s all out, you can re-arrange it in the correct order. Set mini deadlines for yourself along the way. These are your mile-markers—bust your ass to hit them if you want to stay on track toward your dream life.
3. Keep reminders of your goals and your why VISIBLE.
You’ve just put in the work to figuring out your destination and creating a roadmap. But if you don’t have reminders of those intentions in front of you all the time, it’s too easy to forget and become complacent…again. These reminders can take whatever form you want, as long as it’s inspiring to you.
My favorite is putting my vision board as my desktop picture. But you can write it on a post it, keep a framed picture on your desk, write it on a whiteboard, whatever floats your boat. But it has to be something you’ll see everyday. And not just “see” it—you have to feel it. Take a couple minutes every day and visualize that shit. Like you’re already there, it’s already yours, it’s locked down. When something makes you feel that amazing, you’ll put in the work to make it your reality.
If you find you’re still not motivated to work your business, take a step back and re-examine. Is that really your why, or did you choose something because it’s what someone else wants for you?
Also, look at your business—are you doing work that actually fulfills you, or are you just “putting in the hours”, hoping it’ll bring you a ton of money? Everyone can own a business that they love, so don’t be lazy with yourself. It’s your dream life we’re talking about here, and you deserve it all.
Or, it’s possible you just didn’t dig deep enough. Your why should make you cry. If it doesn’t, you’re still scratching the surface, so keep asking “WHY?” until you get an answer that really hits a nerve with you.
So what about you? Leave a comment and let me know what’s your why that lights a fire under your ass!
About Shelsey Jarvis
Shelsey is the owner of The Scrappy Entrepreneur, helping moms who are newbies to the online business world find their footing and their passion.
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