There is an endless amount of self-awareness and personal development books out there that will try to evoke your inner motivation to start doing anything. As an avid reader of those books, I keep on trying and exploring new techniques that actually work. In this post, I will share with you my top 5 refined rules that every best selling personal development book is going to talk about.
We are living in a fast-paced society where we are faced with deadlines, constant challenges, and targets that we must meet. There is a feeling of constant stress that requires your attention to so many things. How can we start doing anything if we are always working under these circumstances? Do you often feel overwhelmed and find yourself losing focus and motivation? Have you ever felt that you just keep procrastinating that one task that you just K-N-
My promise to you is that if you stick to those 5 rules you will witness a tremendous impact on your motivation to start doing and take action. I know they work because I’ve experimented them myself numerous times and I have included some useful life hacks for you that have helped me in my daily struggle to achieve my goal.
Trust me when I say, we are all lazy but the way you deal with it is the key differential from success and mediocrity.
My top 5 rules of how to start doing anything:
Having a positive attitude is the starting point of developing a winning habit. When you develop and cultivate a positive attitude towards life, you will find yourself becoming more optimistic about what life has to offer and as a result, you will begin to see more opportunities around you that you can grow from.
“ Success in life depends heavily on believing in your own ability to succeed and your self-worth”
There are ways to build a positive attitude and stick to those principles.
Here are some of the actionable methods that will boost your inner motivation spirit:
- Developing a daily positive mantra: Say to yourself: “I can do it”. “This day is mine!” “I will do my best to make the most out of this day!”,” I am achiever/winner” or whatever evokes that positive emotion toward a life of achievement.
- Start your day by doing something to evoke your “take action muscle”. This will create a positive momentum of taking action and get you in the mode of doing. (I can recommend this great book “Make your own bed” by William H. McRaven. Where Will shared his ten principles that he
havelearned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges throughout his life, and he explained how anyone can use these basic lessons to change themselves and the world for the better.)
- I like to start doing some simple exercises in the morning, some good old stretching to get the body moving. I begin my day with some really easy tasks that don’t take too long to accomplish but have some impact on my goals and targets for that day. (like sending a short follow up email, start with writing just one paragraph for my blog, paying a bill or completing any other chore that I can take off from my to-do list).
- Get a good night sleep. I just can’t stress this one enough, when we are tired we may feel depressed, anxiety can take over and with it comes along our negative thoughts. It is difficult and almost impossible to work towards your goals when you feel drained out. Try your best to aim towards at least 6-7 hours of good sleep. You will thank me later.
Almost 100% of all the books about success and personal development state this stage as the most important one. It is easy to get distracted because there are so many things that are competing over our attention. You may get distracted by every small detail like emails, phone calls, social media or a coworker that wants to chat about the last Super Bowl game. If you give in to these distractions, you may feel like you don’t have enough time to complete your work. However, if you know what is important to do next and what can wait you will see that you start to cross off tasks from your todo list in no time.
What helps me to stay focused:
- Working according to my to-do list. I put important time anchors on my schedule and I commit to them. For example, morning time is the most productive time for me, therefore, from 10-12 am I am reaching out to new clients, or working on that super important presentation. (I take the time in the morning or the night before to list my Most Important Tasks and start with those) Remember, whatever you will put on your schedule, you better be 100% dedicated to doing your best to commit to it.
- I make a plan of 20-5 minute plan. Meaning, when I feel overwhelmed or lazy to get some work done (either I am bored, tired OR just feel distracted) I try to work with 20 minutes intervals and 5-minute break. This way helps me to stay on top of things and get some work done. No one can be focused all the time and there is nothing wrong in some fun time. This tip works well for me only for the first couple of hours, then I must take a longer break to refresh my inner motivation and energy. (like taking a walk, reading a book, listing to positive music or watching funny videos).
- Spend a few minutes at the beginning of the week to set your goals for the rest of the week. This will help you stay focus on what needs to be done.
- Learn to say “NO” to other distractions that keep you away from what is important for you. Work smarter, not harder. Think about what can you do today that will have the biggest effect over achieving your goals and say NO to everything or everyone else. Remember, your time is the most valuable and expendable resource and people will always compete for attention.
Use a prioritized checklist
As much as I want to “seize the day” and accomplish everything within those 24h, it took me a while to realize that by trying to do everything and taking more and more responsibilities was just killing my productivity and eventually leaving me drained out of motivation and energy. Remember that you are not competing with anyone but yourself and your ego. You don’t need to impress anyone. Focus on what you have on your table right now and work according to your prioritized checklist. This list will help you to tackle the most important work first. Anything else that doesn’t fall within this checklist can wait. I tackle one task at a time and try to avoid multitasking as much as possible. Remember that “half-ass efforts bring half ass results”
When building your prioritization checklist, try to keep the following in mind:
- Think about the 20/80
principle. What 20% of effort will bring you 80% of the result. (One of the best books written about the 20/80 law, A.K.A Pareto principle is a book by Tim Fariss, the 4 Hour Workweek, which is among my recommend books for time management, interpretership and success in life).
- Avoid multi-tasking at all cost, it may be possible when have to do some minor tasks but it is just killing your productivity on the major/important tasks you need to do.
Breakdown your major task
Have you ever been in that situation where you had an important project up ahead and you immediately feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by thinking about the workload needs to get done? Have you ever been drowned into an infinitive loop of overthinking of how much time or effort you will need to invest in order to get this project\task ready on time? Well, I will be honest, in a time like that, I find myself exhausted and overwhelmed even before I started the project.
When you have a major task up ahead, you can easily get overwhelmed with over thinking about the work needs to be done. It happens to be that you may feel stressed and overpowered and therefore find yourself procrastinating the most important work. However, when you break down any major task into smaller milestones, the task will seem much easier to do and you will feel more motivated to start and work on your project until it’s done.
Here is how you can get it done;
- Every major task is composed of many small tasks that you can do immediately. For example, I had a big presentation to prepare for a conference in which I was a keynote speaker. I didn’t even have a topic to present, not to mention that I had no presentation or material prepared and I felt that I am going to make a fool out of myself in front of a packed room of people. The deadline was hanging on top me like Damocles’s sword and only when I couldn’t procrastinate this project any longer, I decided to sit down and to make a list of all the minor milestones that I can do right away. For example, finding research materials for my presentation or writing a general index of what I want to show. With time, I found myself in a positive momentum of doing and I was able to finish preparing the presentation on time because I wasn’t thinking about the project as a whole, but only about the small tasks it composed of and just took one step at a time until everything was done.
- Put deadlines and commit to them. Remember to reward yourself after completing each milestone. It can be a very small token of accomplishment like spending some time doing what makes you feel positive. (Maybe taking a walk, reading a good book, watching a good movie or anything you like).
One step at a time
Even a journey of a 1,000-miles begins with the first step. Yes, believing in yourself is important indeed, so as telling yourself that you are successful and happy. (Remember positive thinking?) I’ve never seen a person becomes a success story only with sheer beliefs and wishes. There comes a time in life where you have to take action and get the show on the road. Simple as that.
How many times have told yourself the same old story?, that one day you will get more time with your kids (but then, “suddenly” they just grew up and have other priorities in life), OR you will hit the gym one day and you never showed up? (Or even better, you went a few times and just quit before you could see any results).
There comes a time in life where you have to take action and get the show on the road. Simple as that.
I think that this rule is one of the most important rules in life if you wish to achieve anything. You only have to get started and you will see that with every step you will become stronger, more capable of taking another step forward and therefore more persistent in the direction of your choosing.
Get some momentum going: One of the biggest killers of doing anything is feeling overwhelmed. Start with a small task or chore that will lead to another action. Correlatively, momentum breeds momentum.
It may seem silly to put “Open a specialized Word doc for the project” or “Write the first paragraph” on your to-do list if you’re planning on writing a book, but if you can start out by ticking off a lot of little things, then your brain responds to each little victory positively.
Most people distract themselves with their day to day routine and hope that someday, sometime, what they really want out of life will just happen by itself.
But if you will ask anyone who’s ever accomplished anything in their lives, they will tell you that believing that one day it will just happen by itself is just being naive. Only by doing, taking action and commitment to yourself and you’re to goals you can ever have a chance to achieve success in your life.
Summary for busy people: How can we start doing anything?
- Remember that positive thinking will help you to get started and put you on the right track but taking action is the most important rule of all.
- Breakdown every major task into smaller milestones. It will help you get shit done and will help you to stop overthinking about the workload.
- Momentum creates momentum. Once you take action, it’s much easier to continue to the next task because you are already on the roll.
- Use a prioritized checklist. Decide what is the most important task on your list that has the most effect on your goals and starts doing this first.
Remember, too often there is very little you can do about the circumstances. They won’t disappear or go away. But what you can do is to follow the very simple rules of highly successful people and how they achieved so much in their lives. Commit to those rules and start doing more for your life. You deserve it.
Till next time,