my way back into productivity

Watercolour of a basil leaf

I started out my first weeks in 2020 super motivated and now I have the feeling my energy dwindles. February, already a rollercoaster? It feels like that but it is so untrue because I am on track! More and less at the same time. I am behind with my illustrations and T-shirt designs but I have 3 month worth of photos edited. Well, and I am a little late with this post. The reason for this will follow in my next post.

In my last post, I introduced my milestone-strategy and told you more about my goals for 2020. I figured that it is not always effective to jump from one thing on your list to another only because you want to tick off each milestone in the planned speed. You have to readjust each time you switch, to the disadvantage of time and focus. Therefore I am expanding my milestone-strategy on a short-term basis and keep it as a long-term guideline.

Long-term: Milestones
Short-term: Assembly line
(or how I like to say “just do it!”)

I made a plan with goals and milestones for a reason. Checking off milestones of my list is part of the deal. Having loads of milestones should not mean dancing on two or more parties at the same time. That is impossible. But, here is a question for you. What are we going to work on first and what are we going to ignore as long as we can? Let us be real, there are these demons on our list. Do we want to deal with them every month anew? Here is a little motivational help for the worst things that need to be done, best by the “assembly line”-strategy:

Most of the time, the stuff you don’t like stays on your list the longest and becomes heavier each day. Whenever you do not know what to do next and fall into procrastination do the “don’t like stuff” or the most time-consuming. Since you are in a state of unease anyway, you can torture yourself a little more: Tackle the “don’t like stuff”! But before you start, make yourself a promise to push through. It is so important to commit yourself. There are distractions everywhere but you have to stay strong. The best way would be to commit BEFORE you reach the state of unease. Write down a contract with yourself and hang it into your room. Prepare your workspace, erase distractions, put on your favourite music if it works for you and go.

You will push through, you will hate it, you will struggle, you will give up and restart, you will feel the grind deep within yourself, you will do it anyway! It won’t challenge you intellectually but personally. Your discipline is at stake.
The results will be enormous! You started at your lowest point and succeded the most hated task on your list. It will be a powerful kickstart from 0 to 100. You will feel liberated and motivated for the next thing. The next big thing! Because your “don’t like stuff” is out of your way, all in front of you is your “like stuff”. Hell yeah!

Another hint for the not so concentration-dependent tasks: Use your time while doing the “don’t like stuff” to rethink your finished tasks, other current tasks or the ones coming up next. Not actively, though. You don’t want to produce mistakes by being distracted and have to start over. Make up your mind passively. Maybe your mind figures out how to save time on the “don’t like stuff” or gives you an idea of how to go on with one of your tasks. And before you know it, you are done and know exactly where to tackle next.

“When we reach our lowest point, we are able for the greatest change.” – Avatar Korra