In the last year I’ve learned a lot about productivity. I had to develop a whole system for myself on how to become productive when no one is looking over my shoulder. I went from being completely unproductive to cranking out work every day.
One of the best little tricks I figured out along the way is to utilize the power of momentum. The power of momentum is extremely powerful and once you understand how it works, you too can start doing crazy amounts of work every day.
Understand that the biggest hurdle to starting your work, is actually starting in the first place. I have gone many days where I intend to sit down and do work, only to get distracted by something on Twitter. All of a sudden, it’s hours later and nothing got done for the day.
The best way to get over this hurdle is to just start doing whatever it is that you need to do. Once you get started, take a second to realize how silly it was that what was stopping you was nothing.
I know this sounds incredibly simple, but think to any time you had to do a big project. Did you intend to do the work and get distracted? It stems from the idea that deep inside it’s scary to do actual work and expose yourself. Maybe it’s not good enough. Maybe it’s too revealing. Perhaps this will expose me as an idiot.
Whatever it is, just push past it because once you start, it’s extremely easy to continue.
Once you get started
There’s a couple things happening at once that compound with the power of momentum. Once you get started is when the real magic starts happening.
For one thing, when I get started on a project, I have this instinct that I want to complete it. I hate leaving things unfinished. This makes me want to push hard to actually finish the project. Interestingly enough, this may be another reason why it’s so hard to start something. You know that you have to finish it once started so you are hesitant to start in the first place.
Another thing is that when you are moving on a project, it takes energy to stop. When you are thinking about stopping in the middle of your work you have to go through this whole process of decisions that could be better served by continuing the work. Once you stop your work, you have to use more energy to start back up again. Instead, it’s easier and more efficient to continue working.
There’s a very positive feeling when you are in the midst of work. If I could describe it, it would be something along the lines of, I’m actually doing it! Once you stop, this feeling diminishes. Keep the positive energy flowing and continue your work.
Put these feelings together and you have a formula for getting shit done.
Once you are finished
Ever finish a big project and want to sit back and have a small celebration or relaxation period? I have had this happen many times and I just sit back and let hours and hours pass.
What I have found is that if you resist this, you can use the previous momentum you have built up from doing your last project to fuel going into whatever it is you have to do next.
This is really useful because whenever I’m starting out each day and have to jump over that hurdle again, it takes a while for me to warm up so to speak. If you use the momentum you have built up from your last project, it’s like you can skip warming up and just flow right into whatever you have to do next at 100% capacity.
The formula is easy to understand, but often hard to implement. However if you are able to implement it, the mere fact that you’re working will give you an extra push to keep working.
- Get over hurdle of starting
- Use your momentum of working to keep working
- When work is complete, resist urge to stop and start something else immediately
- Day in, day out, keep going and you will have success.
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