Natalie Bacon went from lawyer to financial planner to online entrepreneur. She designed her dream life and her passion is to help others design theirs through personal development, financial intelligence, and online business. Natalie Bacon encourages women to make and save money and design a life they love. Her blog is the ultimate "modern girl's survival guide." Follow this blog..
“Discomfort is the currency to your dreams.” – Brooke Castillo
Do you ever wake up and just not feel like it?
Or, maybe it’s after work when you’re supposed to go to the gym, and you don’t feel like going.
Or, on that Saturday when you committed to working on your business, but you just don’t feel like it.
Sometimes, you don’t feel like doing whatever it is you have to do.
Sometimes, I don’t feel like it.
So, what’s the solution—the secret to doing what you have to do when you don’t want to?
Here’s something I know will help…
But first! Join the 7 day Design Your Dream Life Training by adding your email below. I’ll send you Day 1 right now!
Ask Yourself Why You Don’t Feel Like It
Ask yourself, “why don’t I feel like it?”
The reason you don’t feel like it is because of a thought. Your thoughts cause your feelings (always!) so identify the feeling and identify the thought causing it.
That thought is either supportive of your dream life or it’s unsupportive.
If you don’t feel like it because you have to give up short term comfort for long term gain, then you should do it anyways, even though you don’t feel like it.
If you don’t feel like it because it’s not aligned with your future vision, then you shouldn’t do it.
Let’s take a look at some examples…
Examples Of The Good Kind Of Discomfort
Here are examples of the good kind of discomfort…
Getting up at 5am to work on your business before you go to work
Discomfort: being tired
Going to the gym every day
Discomfort: pushing yourself physically so your body hurts
Telling yourself the truth
Discomfort: letting go of relationships that aren’t serving you
Starting an online business
Discomfort: being vulnerable and putting yourself out there
Eating healthy (choosing healthy food, instead of eating unhealthy)
Discomfort: feeling the urge to have sugar and not giving in
Studying for certification
Discomfort: nights and weekends in (instead of with family and friends)
Following through on commitments
Discomfort: doing something when it’s hard and you don’t want to
Doing what you say you’re going to do
Discomfort: may mean saying no to something else that comes up
Prioritizing a relationship
Discomfort: may mean giving up opportunities in your work
Your brain would rather have you stay inside on the couch doing nothing. Your brain will always seek pleasure, avoid pain, and aim to be efficient. This is called the motivational triad. Your brain is just trying to keep you alive. Nothing has gone wrong.
When you don’t feel like it but doing it would move you toward your goal, you have to be willing to go through short term discomfort for long term gratification.
You have to be willing to do something even when you don’t feel like it if you want new and different results.
Contrast this with not feeling like it in a destructive way…
Examples Of The Bad Kind Of Discomfort
Here are more examples of the bad type of discomfort…
Feeling sorry for yourself (self pity)
Self pity looks like this, “I had such a hard day; I don’t feel like it; it’s just not working” It’s very sneaky; we don’t like to recognize it. It’s the “excessive self absorbed unhappiness over one’s own troubles.”
For example, thinking it’s not fair and you should have more and it should be easier and you had a hard day.
It’s thinking something has gone terribly wrong because you experience negative emotion.
If every time you feel unhappy or like you don’t feel like it you stop or slow down, you don’t learn how to move forward while experiencing negative emotion.
With self pity, you start feeling bad about feeling bad. You feel like you shouldn’t write the blog post, work on the business, or go to the gym. You are entitled to feel better.
As soon as you indulge in self pity, you make your experience so much worse.
If you take action and don’t get the result you want and you feel sorry for yourself thinking “why can’t things work out” then you start feeling bad and comparing yourself.
It comes from feeling like you’re a victim of your circumstances and that something has gone terribly wrong.
When you indulge in self-pity you end up quitting because you feel sorry for yourself. Then you don’t get the result you want, which proves you should feel sorry for yourself.
Hating yourself and beating yourself up
Sometimes we beat ourselves up, thinking it’s useful. It’s not. At all.
For example, you might think you’re not worthy of getting what you want.
Or you might say something like, “you’re so fat” or, “you’re never going to make money online.”
PSA: It’s completely unnecessary to beat yourself up to get the result you want.
So, we can just stop that, okay?
People beat themselves up about their student loans, making it mean something about them. It means nothing about you until you give it meaning.
You don’t have to beat yourself up at all. You can love yourself and get the result you want.
When I learned this, everything instantly got easier and better.
Anything that looks like hiding
Notice if you’re hiding.
Feeling uncomfortable is good if you’re taking action and getting new results.
If you’re hiding in any sort of way, it’s bad. You’re letting the wrong kind of discomfort win.
Examples: staying in instead of going on a date, not doing another webinar because no one showed up to your first one, taking a nap instead of doing the work on your goal, etc.
You know the difference between bad and good discomfort by the results you have in your life.
If you have new results that move you toward your goal, you’re in the good kind of discomfort.
If you have the same results you’ve always had, then you are indulging.
But What About Self Care?!
A lot of people come to me and say they’re taking a break, treating themselves, or some other form of slowing down with the reason being “self care.”
Some people come to me for coaching and think that because I love business and am so happy about working on mine that theirs should just be popping off their vision board.
They think, “if it isn’t flowing to me, if it isn’t easy, I’m going in the wrong direction.”
This is absolutely not true.
This is just how you’re thinking about it.
What if you thought that it’s supposed to be challenging and the more opportunities you have to overcome and grow, the better person you become?
The more you have to show up. The stronger you get.
What I see most is people using self care as an excuse to indulge in pleasure at the expense of their goals.
Self care isn’t about comfort. It’s about discipline.
When you use too much pleasure, it will lead you backward. When you use discipline as self care, you move forward.
Think about health.
Example: Eating cake feels good, but you’ll gain weight. Eating a salad may not feel good and you may be uncomfortable feeling an urge to eat but not giving into it, but it moves you forward toward your goal of losing weight.
Example: Creating a structured calendar where you work on your business as the entrepreneur, technician, and whatever else, may mean time blocking and producing so much that you’re incredibly uncomfortable. But guess what? Do this and you’ll have yourself a business. If you do what feels good in the moment instead, you’ll have short term pleasure but no business.
The truth is that it’s getting comfortable doing it when you don’t feel like it that will lead you to success.
You’re Not Going To Always Feel Like It—And That’s Okay!
The bottom line here is that you need to reframe how you’re thinking about whatever it is you have to do but don’t want to do.
When you don’t feel like it, ask yourself, “why is this a problem?”
You can just not feel like it and do it anyways.
Nothing has gone wrong if you don’t feel like doing something.
I see so many clients make not feeling like it mean something—that they should stop, slow down, or take a break.
Remember, discomfort is the currency to your dreams
Want to design your dream life? Get used to feeling uncomfortable.
“Not feeling like it” is part of the process. It doesn’t have meaning until you give it meaning.
You are going to feel bad 50% of the time—yes 50%.
How do I know? Because the world was designed this way. There is good and bad. There always has been and always will be.
When you think that it shouldn’t be this way, you are arguing with reality.
Just because you don’t feel like it right now doesn’t mean anything until you give it meaning. And it’s not even a problem until you make it a problem.
You’ll feel positive and negative emotion throughout your entire life—right now and on the other side of your goals.
I bring this up here because so many people come to me with a problem in their business or with their goals and they want my help. It’s not long before I realize there’s no problem at all—they’re just unwilling to experience the negative emotion and keep moving forward.
They think it should feel good.
PSA: pursuing your dreams doesn’t feel good and a lot of the time, you’re not going to feel like doing it.
Want New Results? Get Used To Doing It When You Don’t Feel Like It
If you want to make money, if you want to build a business, if you want to lose weight… basically, if you want any type of success in life, you have to set a goal, then take massive action until you achieve it.
This means when “you don’t feel like it,” do it anyways.
This means you incorporate a loving discipline into your life.
You cannot listen to how you feel in the morning right before you’re supposed to get to work on your email sequence and decide that you’re going to do something else because you just don’t feel like it today—or because the last email you sent wasn’t working for you—or for anything else.
You have to have structure and constraint in your life.
I didn’t even know what an entrepreneur was five years ago. Now, I can tell within a few minutes if someone has an entrepreneurial mindset.
If you want to make money online, start a side hustle business, or quit your full time job (like I did), you have to start with having the right mindset. The entrepreneurial mindset is what you need to be successful at any of these things.
Before I jump into what exactly an entrepreneurial mindset is, let’s get clear on what an entrepreneur is…
What Is An Entrepreneur?
When I say “entrepreneur,” I’m talking about someone who owns a business.
In my world, this means an online entrepreneur, like a blogger, podcaster, coach, virtual assistant, etc. But really, it can be any business owner.
To be successful as an entrepreneur, you have to make money (enough money that you’re profitable).
To do that, you need to have the right mindset.
So, what is an entrepreneurial mindset? And how do you know if you have it?
Here’s a look…
7 Signs You Have An Entrepreneurial Mindset
Here are the 7 signs that you have an entrepreneurial mindset…
1. The Belief That You Will Succeed
The first sign that you have an entrepreneurial mindset is that you have a strong belief you will succeed.
This is the biggest determining factor in whether you are a successful as an entrepreneur.
This means you create your future from your future. You don’t create from your past. You have a vision about where you are going.
I know for sure I’m going to have a seven figure business. My beliefs are solid. There’s no wavering. I don’t need anyone else to believe it with me, either. I just believe it so strongly in my head and body. I know it’s happening.
Do you believe you’ll be a successful entrepreneur? This is the first and most important entrepreneurial mindset that everything else flows from.
If you’re not sure about your mindset, check out these mindset posts to learn how to shift your beliefs:
The second entrepreneurial mindset is that you are committed to succeeding no matter what.
This means you are committed to taking massive action until you get the result you want.
All the failures and obstacles that come up don’t stop you. They don’t mean anything.
The path to success as an online entrepreneur is through failure.
You have to be willing to fail often. You can’t let obstacles or setbacks mean anything about your likelihood of success.
You have to be willing to be uncomfortable.
This means you don’t give up, slow down, or stop.
Giving up feels good. It relieves you of the doubt.
The way to success is to move through the discomfort—to embrace it.
You are responsible for your success.
You own that it’s up to YOU to be successful.
You take the action it takes because you know it’s up to you.
Once you start doing this, it gets easier. So, start small and keep going.
Now, obstacles and failures mean nothing to me. Literally, they don’t mean a thing. No matter what, I’m committed to getting the result I want, so I keep going.
Hint: if you feel like crap, you’re doing it right. It means you’re moving outside your comfort zone, stretching yourself, fumbling, getting back up, and moving forward. This is how you win as an entrepreneur.
3. An Obsession With Marketing + Business
The third entrepreneurial mindset is that you are obsessed with business and marketing.
Marketing – specifically direct response marketing – is how you actually make money.
As an entrepreneur, you make money in your business by providing something in the marketplace that someone else buys. There is a product (or service) to market match.
Since there is so much competition out there, to be successful at business, you have to be obsessed with marketing and business.
If you don’t love marketing, you’ll have a very hard time making money.
This means you’re obsessed with who you’re serving. You’re obsessed with contributing to the world. You’re obsessed with your business.
You’re obsessed with business podcasts and books. You love learning about it. You’re literally obsessed.
It’s not just learning though. You actually implement everything you learn.
I talk about this in my constraint podcast, where I give the “learn one, implement one” rule—you take one course and implement everything in it before taking another one.
After taking Six Figure Blogger, I spent an entire year implementing everything I learned in that course before I took another course.
This takes hustle but it’s 1000% worth it.
4. Thinking You’re Worthy Of Making, Having, And Charging Money
The fourth entrepreneurial mindset is that you have your money mindset in check.
If your money mindset is a mess, you’re going to have a very hard time being a successful entrepreneur.
If you don’t think you’re worthy of receiving a lot of money, you won’t make a lot of money.
You also have to be comfortable charging money.
I see this a lot with new entrepreneurs—they’re very hesitant to charge money.
Until you get comfortable with charging money, you’re leaving money on the table.
What I like to tell my students and clients is that your customers are going to spend their money anyways on other things. Don’t you want them to spend it on what you’re selling? If you believe in what you’re selling, the answer will be a big hell yes.
If you aren’t sure if your money mindset is where it needs to be, check out these resources:
The fifth entrepreneurial mindset is that you’re okay with producing B- work.
This one is a trip for newbies! But pro entrepreneurs know this is how it’s done.
To be successful in the marketplace, you have to produce 10x what you think you have to produce because there’s no way to really tell what works until you try it.
All that matters is whether people buy. If they don’t buy, you have a dud.
You can expect 1 out of every 10 things you produce to be successful. So, if you take an entire year to produce 1 product, it’s likely going to fail. You need to produce 10 in that year and hope 1 is a success.
This means you can’t be a perfectionist.
You can always go back later and update or edit whatever sells, but you shouldn’t let it being perfect stop you from getting it out to the market.
6. Measure Based On Results
The sixth entrepreneurial mindset is measuring based on results.
This means that at every point in the business, you’re keeping track of key performance indicators (KPIs). These will be different for everyone, but successful entrepreneurs are clear about what they’re measuring and where they’re going.
Revenue, expenses, and net profit are some of the most important results to measure on a regular basis.
Something I teach in Blog With A Full Time Job is to create a score card for your business where you consistently measure the most important KPIs.
I measure revenue, net profit, email subscribers, traffic, and a couple other numbers every couple of days. It helps me stay focused on what’s important.
You can spend a lot of time doing an activity without getting results. I hear people say, “I’ve been blogging for 5 years” but when I learn what their revenue numbers are, it’s not impressive.
Successful entrepreneurs know exactly what success means to them and they measure the results they’re getting regularly.
7. Invest In Yourself
The final entrepreneurial mindset is investing in yourself.
Successful entrepreneurs spend money on investments—opportunities that will provide a return, such as courses, coaching, books, etc.
It’s not just taking the course or the coaching session, but it’s actually implementing everything you learn even if you’re doubting the process.
Successful entrepreneurs find people who are doing what they want to be doing and they learn from them. They follow their advice exactly.
This seems obvious, but I see people dabbling a lot in this area without following through.
If you want to be successful, find someone who has the results you want, learn how they do what you want to do, then implement everything.
The Result Of Having An Entrepreneurial Mindset
If you adopt the 7 entrepreneurial mindsets above, you will succeed.
You will build a business.
You will make money.
You will grow in ways you can’t even imagine.
You will be so proud of yourself.
It will be amazing.
I know this because it’s true for me.
I am living my dream. Every single day. It’s fantastic.
It doesn’t mean I don’t have problems. I know I’ll always have obstacles and failures. But it does mean that I’m creating my future from my future.
It was worth all the hustle in the beginning, and I couldn’t have done it without these 7 entrepreneurial mindsets.
A Final Note!
If you read this and you’re not sure if you have an entrepreneurial mindset, think about what you want to create. Think about whether you really want to have a business.
If you do, then you have work to do.
Start applying these lessons in your life.
And join me in my Online Business Bootcamp to get started now. I’m happy to help.
What you have to overcome to become successful as an entrepreneur is the mental work that will change your life. Let it.
Compared to other people? Compared to yourself in the past? Compared to your ideal?
It’s something to think about.
Generosity is a character trait that you can create for yourself if you want to.
I keep running into people who are giving, but they’re not generous. In fact, they’re giving because they feel like they have to give. They’re not giving out of generosity.
So, how generous are you?
First, join my free 7 day Design Your Dream Life Training to get my personal development course sent to your inbox for free.
Now, let’s get started. Here’s a look at the real meaning of generosity.
By the end of the post, you’ll totally be able to figure out for yourself how generous of a person you are (and what to do if you want to change it)!
On the interweb, Google defines generosity as giving more than is necessary or expected.
Generosity is different than most people think.
Generosity has nothing to do with money. You can be very generous with a little money and not generous at all with a lot of money.
When I was a financial planner, some clients were always very charitably generous, while others were not. They all were multi-millionaires, but how generous they were with their money varied greatly.
You can also be generous in so many ways other than money. You can be generous with your time, your knowledge, your energy, etc.
Generous is a feeling –> you feel generous.
Generous is also an action –> you give more.
The True Test Of Generosity
True generosity is giving without expecting anything in return.
For example, I was talking with my girlfriends about money regrets and a friend of mine said she regretted giving someone a gift because it was a “stretch” gift for her (it cost her a lot of money). The recipient was very wealthy and didn’t appreciate it.
Her expectation of the recipient took away her enjoyment of giving. It took her out of generosity.
This is an example of giving because you expect something in return.
She didn’t give to be generous. She gave for another reason. She gave from scarcity instead of abundance.
The Only Good Reason To Give
I like to say, do whatever you want, but make sure you like your reason.
So, why give? Whatever the reason, it should be a good one.
Here are good reasons to give…
Good reason to give:
Because you want to give.
Because giving feels amazing.
Because you want to be someone who is generous (as one of your main character beliefs).
Here are bad reasons to give…
Bad reasons to give:
Because you think you have to.
Because you think you should.
Because you want someone to like you.
Because you want someone to think a certain way about you.
Because you want acknowledgment.
Because you want to be appreciated.
Because you want to control an outcome.
Next time you give, ask yourself why you’re giving.
Make sure you like your reason.
Scarcity Vs. Abundance
When you give from generosity, it feels amazing. You will be energized and excited to do it. It simply feels good. This is abundance.
When you give from a lower level, negative emotion, it feels bad. This is scarcity.
So, start to become aware of why you’re giving and how you feel when you give so that you can be more intentional about giving in the future.
For example, if you run your own business, when someone asks for a refund, do you give it? I always do. I want people who want to be in my program.
The result of giving for the right reason is that you are acting in alignment with your values. You are living from abundance. You feel good.
You get it back tenfold. In every area of your life, the more you give, the more you get back.
It may not be in the exact same way, but it will come back to you in other ways.
Look at your life and notice where you do this and the result you see in your life.
Try this – it’s magic!
But there are other unexpected consequences.
The occasional person will take advantage of your generosity.
The friend who never offers to pay, when you always do.
The customer who asks for a refund and doesn’t have a good reason.
When this happens, you have to ask yourself what’s important to you.
For example, a friend who always wants to split the bill. You always offer to pay. Do you start to expect her to offer to pay? When she doesn’t, do you feel resentment? If so, you have to ask yourself if you want to be someone who expects other people to act a certain way and if you want to feel resentment. Would you rather just always pay from generosity and not argue or be in resentment? You have to decide how you want to reply. Do you want to shutdown and be defensive? When someone does this, they’re coming from scarcity themselves. You have to decide how you want to react. You can either match them in scarcity or overcome it and be more generous.
I always want to choose generosity for generosity’s sake.
How To Be More Generous
If you think about the question, “how generous are you?” you may discover you’re not exactly up to par with what you want.
We’ve all been there.
And you can change it.
Here’s how you can be more generous…
Decide that you want to be someone who is generous, as part of your character.
Know what capacity you have to give. If you believe you have more than enough to give, that’s how you’ll show up. And that’s what you’ll attract. So, you need to create thoughts and beliefs that you have more than enough to give.
Only give when you want to give.
Like your reason for giving.
Drop all expectations for giving. Let other people be who they are. Don’t let someone else’s behavior change who you are in the world. No matter how someone else acts, be a generous person if that’s how you want to be.
Follow these steps and you will definitely become a more generous person.
I love being generous, but I wasn’t always this way. I used to give and have so many expectations. I used to give because I thought I had to give. I used to give for all the wrong reasons.
Giving just because I want to give and because it feels good is the best. It’s a life changer.
Examples Of Ways To Be More Generous
Here are just a handful of ways you can increase your generosity right away.
Paying for someone’s coffee or Starbucks in line
Doubling the tip on a bill
Picking up the tab at lunch
Intentionally planning how you’ll give to charities you love
Volunteering and giving your time to your favorite causes
Offering to help a friend move
Giving free coaching
The ways for how you can are limitless. Just make sure you like your reason when you give. That’s the secret!
A Final Note!
Once you start giving from generosity, it feels good. It’s infectious.
You will start to do it more and more because it’s so great.
So, now that you’ve read this post, ask yourself, “how generous are you?”
Practice giving because you want to give. Give from abundance. Like your reason. Become a person who is truly generous.
Have you ever wondered how to be productive when you don’t feel motivated at all?
I’ve gone through phases where I just didn’t feel motivated but needed to get a lot done.
Below is a list of the many ways you can boost your productivity when you’re not feeling motivated based on everything I’ve learned through going through it myself.
The first half of the steps are about mindset. It may not seem relevant to productivity, but the truth is that it’s the most important part. After the mindset steps, you get to the planning part of productivity.
So, let’s get started!
Step 1: Name the emotion you’re feeling
When you’re not feeling motivated, it’s because of a specific feeling you’re experiencing.
The first step to changing this is to become aware of how you feel.
This means your first order of business is to name the feeling.
Feelings are one word.
For example, if you’re not feeling motivated, you might feel:
So, whatever you’re feeling, name it.
It’s important that you actually name the feeling so you have an emotion that you can tangibly identify.
Step 2: Identify the thought that’s creating the emotion.
Next, you need to identify the thought that’s causing you to feel the emotion.
Your thoughts create your feelings.
Your feelings create your actions.
Your actions create your results.
Circumstances are neutral.
Whatever emotion you’re feeling is caused by a thought.
So, find that thought.
Write it down.
For example, if you are feeling apathetic about working on your blog, you might notice that the thought creating the feeling of apathy is: “I don’t think working on my blog will matter anyway.”
Whatever the feeling, figure out what the thought is that’s causing it.
All your thoughts are optional.
This is just good to know.
Step 3: Take ownership of how you feel
Once you have the thought and the feeling, own the fact that you are creating how you feel.
This means you don’t blame anyone else or your circumstances for how you feel.
Circumstances are neutral. It’s your thoughts causing your feelings.
There is total freedom in this.
It doesn’t mean you won’t want to feel bad sometimes. It doesn’t mean you should change how you feel.
But it means being compassionate with yourself. It means not beating yourself up.
But this awareness alone is so powerful. Most people aren’t aware that they’re the cause of their suffering.
Step 4: Choose the emotion you want to feel instead
Once you know you’re causing how you feel, you can decide if you want to continue to feel this way (or not).
If you want to continue feeling the way you’re feeling, then stay in that feeling.
If you don’t, choose a different feeling.
For example, you might notice you’re feeling self pity (feeling sorry for yourself) and therefore not taking action to be productive. You may decide you no longer want to feel self pity and choose a different emotion, such as motivated.
You can do this with any emotion. Choose the emotion you want to feel.
Step 5: Create a believable thought that generates the new feeling you want to experience
Once you have the emotion you want to create, you need to create a thought that will generate the feeling you’ve chosen.
The key is that you have to believe the thought in order for it to work.
This is why affirmations don’t work. If you go around repeating sentences you don’t believe, nothing happens. You have to practice thoughts you actually believe for the thought to cause the feeling.
For example, if you want to feel motivated, you might come up with one of the following thoughts:
I haven’t been motivated to start a blog in the past, but I know that it’s possible for me to be motivated in the future.
Getting up at 5am isn’t my favorite thing, but that’s okay – I can do it anyway.
It’s okay that I’m not motivated right now because I’m making an effort to change that.
I’m excited to work on my business this morning because I know I can create my dream life one day at a time.
Notice that all these thoughts vary in degree between positive and neutral. You want to create a thought that you believe that is positive, but if you can’t come up with a positive thought you actually believe, then come up with a more neutral thought is better than the negative thought.
The purpose of doing this is that you’ll shift how you feel. You’ll go from feeling not motivated to motivated. Then, you’ll take the action that you want because thoughts create feelings, feelings create actions, and actions create results.
Just make sure the thought you create generates the new feeling you want and that you believe it.
Step 6: Practice your new thoughts
After you write down the new thought that creates the new emotion you want to feel, practice it.
Practice the new thought over and over until it becomes a belief.
You’ll probably find your brain will gravitate toward your old thoughts. This is normal! Nothing has gone wrong. Just become aware of your brain defaulting to the non-supportive thoughts and how they’re affecting your life. Then, catch youself and start saying the new thought that you want to believe.
It takes effort to shift your thinking, but it’s 1000% worth it, because once you do, taking the right actions (in the steps below) is a million times easier.
Step 7: Set a goal
After you’ve done steps 1 through 6, you’ve addressed the mindset portion of not feeling motivated to be productive.
Now, it’s time to start planning.
The first part of any good plan is having an end goal.
You need to know what you want.
Decide what it is you want and set a goal for it.
This can be anything.
Maybe you want to lose weight, start a business, or have a better relationship.
But you have to choose one goal (and only one!).
Your end goal is the most important part of everything you do because it’s the guide to all the action you’ll take.
Here are my best goal setting resources to help you do this:
Come up with your end goal for whatever it is you want to be productive with before you move on to the next step.
Step 8: Create a massive action list
Once you know what your main goal is, work backward to create a massive action list of all the things you need to do to accomplish your one main goal.
This step takes a lot of time.
I highly suggest coming up with 10x as many actions as you think you’d actually need to accomplish your goal. This way, even if some of the milestones don’t work out, you’re well on your way to still accomplishing it.
Come up with your list of 30+ things you need to do to accomplish your goal.
If you’re not sure how to do one of the action items, put “figure out how to do XYZ” as the item.
This step should feel really tedious if you do it right. (It’s also kind of boring! But again, completely worth it.)
Step 9: Put all the action items on your calendar as results
Once you have your massive action list, put all the items on your calendar.
The way to do this is to schedule them at specific times.
For example, if you’re starting a website, you schedule “register domain name and sign up for hosting” from 12pm to 1pm on Sunday.
The key is that you always should schedule the result you expect to accomplish during a time frame. Don’t schedule the activity, like “blogging” from 12pm to 1pm. There’s no way to measure what you actually produced during this time if you schedule the activity.
The key to productivity is to schedule the result on your calendar for a specific time period.
I schedule the exact results I expect for every single part of my day. Even for non-work time, like relaxing time, reading time, and what I’m doing on the weekends. This is a total game changer!
Step 10: Schedule more in less time
One of the best kept secrets to feeling motivated to be productive is to schedule more to do in less time.
The reason it’s a secret is because it’s counterintuitive.
We tend to think that if we’re not motivated to be productive, we’re spread too thin.
The truth is, we take way too long to do things and it’s spreading into other areas of our lives.
The way to do it right so you’re motivated and energized is to schedule more to get done in less time.
Then, when you do the task, you’ll be super excited, energized, and motivated. It’s a completely different energy when you have a tight deadline.
I used to make the mistake of taking my good old time with blogging tasks. I’d spend all day “blogging,” but the truth is that a lot of the time was spent on social media and other random things. Blogging took the entire day and was very indulgent in a way.
When I changed my process to scheduling results ahead of time, I had so much to get done in a very short time. I wasn’t on social media messing around. I took it very seriously. It some ways it didn’t feel as good because it wasn’t as casual and indulgent, but in other ways it felt better because I was so focused on getting done what I needed to.
Bottom line: If you think you’re overscheduling, you’re not. Schedule more in less time. Then, schedule downtime. This way, you’re super productive while working and when you’re not working, you’re relaxing.
Step 11: Honor your calendar (plan for resistance)
Your brain is wired to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and be as efficient as possible.
This means when you go to do something that takes you off your comfortable couch, you’re going to feel resistance.
Your brain would rather you do nothing. It’s easier and saves energy. It’s not as scary. It’s safer. This is just the brain’s wiring. It’s called the motivational triad.
So, once you’ve done all your planning and the time comes for you to actually do the thing on your calendar, your brain is going to come up with a bajillion reasons why you shouldn’t do the thing on your calendar.
Don’t listen to it.
Plan for resistance.
Plan to do it anyway.
This happens to me to this day. I expect to not want to do the thing on my calendar. But I do it anyway. Once I start, the resistance is gone.
All this is normal. Nothing has gone wrong.
Do the thing on your calendar. No matter what.
Step 12: Let go of perfectionism
If you are struggling to produce a lot, it may be because you are stuck in perfectionism.
You have to let go of perfectionism. There’s no place for it in a productive person’s life.
Perfectionism is for scared people. You have to be perfect because you’re scared of what other people will think of you.
The thing about success is, you have to produce 10x as much as you think you do just to see what works. If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll never put enough out into the world to get massive success. You won’t reach your potential.
So, let that sh*t go.
Step 13: Review your plan daily
When you get up every day (or the night before), review what’s on deck.
You should know what you’re doing for every minute of the day – ahead of time.
In the morning, I look at my calendar and make sure I have every minute of the day planned.
This includes breaks, exercising, and fun things. It’s not all work. But it’s all planned. You can plan spontaneity, too. It’s not rigid. It’s the opposite. It gives you freedom.
For example, you might plan work related things throughout the day, followed by exercise, followed by relaxing downtime. The key is to know ahead of time what your day looks like (and look at it at the beginning of the day).
Step 14: Measure results (not the activity)
Evaluate how you’re doing, periodically.
This can be weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, or a combination of these.
It’s important that you measure the results you produce and not the activity.
You can be “working on a blog” for a year but not made any money at all.
Measure exactly what you’re producing.
This will tell you if what you’re doing is working.
If it’s not, change things up a bit.
Productivity is a result of planning. It doesn’t happen by accident.
Step 15: Take care of yourself
Finally, take care of yourself!
Be smart about how you use your time and energy.
I recommend doing the following:
Schedule downtime. Don’t fill your calendar so you are spread too thin. Schedule time to do nothing. Then, do nothing!
Get enough sleep. This means going to bed early and making sure you’re getting the sleep you need.
Exercise. It’s easy to stay in a rut and feel unmotivated if you’re at home on the couch. Your body will get a natural boost if you get moving. Even just a walk, if you can’t make it to the gym, will make a big difference.
Go out and do something in town. Doing an activity away from your work and home life gets you out of your own head. It will help you get perspective and reenergized for your work. A good example would be to go to a show, see a concert, or walk around at a street fair.
Seepeople. We’re social beings and getting around the right person can make a huge difference in your life if you’re in a rut. Make sure this person energizes you, so you feel better than when you leave.
Remember your why. The stronger reason you have for wanting to do whatever it is you need to do, the more you’ll overcome your lack of not feeling motivated in the moment. Remembering why you want something is very powerful if you have a strong why. Keep it close to your heart.
A Final Note!
There are times in life where being more productive is easier than other times. But when we feel like being productive, it doesn’t always align with when we need to be the most productive.
If you practice the steps above, you can increase your likelihood of being productive even when you’re not feeling motivated.