In a previous post I asked the question ‘What do you need?’ This week’s post is along those lines but leaning in a slightly different direction.
Besides my health and family/home duties that restrict me in how much I can do and accomplish, what do you think is the biggest thing that gets in my way?
What is my Thanos to the Avengers? My Joker to the Batman? My Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker? You get the idea.
It’s… consistency. Dum dum dah!!!!! I know. Surprising right?
How can it be my nemesis? To be completely honest… I’m really not good at it. I don’t want to work harder to achieve my goals, (who does?) but being consistent is going to do that for me. *Sigh*.
So… if lack of consistency is killing my productivity, what can I do about it?
First of all, let’s look at what I am good at. Looking at what works for you in other areas may give you clues as to how to defeat your nemesis.
I’m really good at coming up with new ideas and starting something. Of course, once the initial excitement wears off and it’s beginning to feel like hard work, my productivity drops significantly and I’m less likely to get it done. Sound familiar?
I’m good at being punctual. I hate being late.
I’m good at organising. A place for everything and everything in its place.
I’m good at being methodical. How I plan a task and complete it is easy in theory. I know how to do it but struggle with actually seeing it through to the end.
So how can these things help me be more consistent?
Well, the first and most important thing I have learnt, (the hard way) is to START SMALL.
You know what they say about forming new habits? It takes at least 30 – 40 days of consistently doing the same thing every day for it to become natural, a habit. It’s the same with writing.
First- Timing. Just like I hate being late for appointments, getting the kids to school, church, etc… I should hate being late when it comes to sitting down to write. If you can sit down to write at the same or similar time each day, it helps develop a habit faster.
Second- Find out when the best time is for you to write and if you can, try to write at the same time every day. Most days that might not be possible so scheduling in a time each day can help. Also organising your day so that writing is a priority can be very effective. You don’t want to be dog tired when you sit down to write so make sure you monitor when your energy is higher and you’ll be more likely to get started and get more writing done.
Third- Plan what you want to accomplish each day or each writing session. For example; on Monday you might want to write a blog post, answer a few emails, and plot the next scene in your book. Or on Tuesday you might want to work on marketing. Whatever it is, write it down and put it somewhere where you can see it, like the fridge or a notice board where you write. Try to finish what’s most pressing and important first or what you don’t like to do first to get it out of the way. But don’t feel bad if you can’t.
Fourth – If you can complete a task regularly for at least a few weeks, you are well on your way to becoming naturally more consistent. Find out what you’re really struggling to get done and break it down into smaller steps.
You don’t reach the top of the stairs in one big leap, but one step at a time.
SMALL STEPS are the key to being consistent.
Fifth- Most importantly of all is… Reward yourself when you accomplish your goals no matter how small or big they are. Sometimes the reward of just getting it done is reward in itself but it can be a really good motivator if there’s a prize at the end. Take yourself out for a coffee at your local café. Read your favourite book. Watch a movie and relax. Whatever reward it is, it will motivate you, especially if it’s a slice of chocky cake!
I hope this post has been helpful.
Whatever hurdle you’re struggling with, break it down into smaller steps and you will be much more likely to succeed.
If you have a writing buddy who can hold you accountable, it can make a big difference. More on that in a future post.
Whatever you do don’t quit!