I don’t know about you, but the first few weeks of Spring were reeeally difficult for my “work” brain.
It got sunny outside, the days got longer, I was traveling (heyo Alaska, whaddup?), and my focus had absolutely gone to shit.
If productivity comes in waves, I was sitting at the bottom. I’m talking Keanu-Reeves-day-1-undercover-on-Point-Break bottom. Stuck.
But thanks in part to finding my “why,” in part to reviewing my goals, in part to revisiting tools like time blocking and the Pomodoro timer, and in part to just getting off my ass and getting some work done, I feel like I’m on my way to the top again.
I don’t think productivity dry spells are all a bad thing. We can’t be in Hero Mode all the time. But it’s important to be aware of where you are and not to get bogged down.
What part of the wave are you on?
If you’re right at the peak looking down on all of us slackers and tackling the swells Bodhi-style, rock on.
But if you’re sitting at the bottom, don’t get too discouraged.
It’s easy to get stuck and overwhelmed with everything that’s going on. When you’re in that mindset, the smallest task seems like an insurmountable obstacle and you start spinning your wheels.
Here’s a few things that helped me get out of my funk and do work:
Really flesh out your goals. There are a lot of trendy ways to talk about goal setting. Finding your “why,” vision boarding, manifesting, etc. But it really is important.
If you can’t envision where your work is going to bring you, it will be just an endless list of tasks and drudgery.
Personally, I have what I call a “mindset document,” which is really just a note I keep in Evernote.
I have a short description of the person I want to be, a list of traits I aspire to keep, a personal mission statement, and even a number of photos that I find motivational.
Most importantly, I have a list of VERY detailed goals, both short- and long-term.
When I say very detailed, I mean I can TASTE them. And you should be able to taste yours, too.
“Make my SEO services profitable” isn’t good enough.
“Sign 5 new clients next month for $1,500 each” is something you can taste.
Figure out what your holdup is.
So now you know where you want to be. Why aren’t you there yet?
Take some time to figure out what the steps are and which ones you’re stuck on – keep in mind that these might always be changing, and that’s okay!
For the most part, my struggle is focus. It’s not that I can’t work, it’s that I bounce around, get distracted, and try to do too many things at once. This kills the entrepreneur.
Once you know what your problem is, it will be easier to address it. For me, I needed to employ tools and systems like blocking time on my calendar, using a Pomodoro timer, and doing my damnedest to NEVER MULTI-TASK.
Determine your problem, figure out what steps you should take or tools you need to fix that problem, and put those into action.
It should be, by all rights, once we have a blueprint to follow.
But if you’re anything like me (or anything like most entrepreneurs I’ve worked with), that’s not the end of the story.
I’m a chronic over-preparer. I spent 45 minutes and three dozen chrome tabs looking for the perfect task timing app.
We get so caught up in tools and lists that we forget one really important thing… everything changes!
Life is a series of making decisions, discovering that it isn’t working like you thought it would, readjusting, and trying again.
Don’t worry about setting the perfect stage. Allow yourself to fumble for a while. But take all your fumbles, acknowledge that they’re a learning experience, put your learning to good use, and GET SOME WORK DONE.
Perfection is the enemy of progress. “Good enough” gets stuff done.