I carried a disgusting burden. The burden of laziness and procrastination. An entrepreneurs worst enemy. Today I’m sharing how I defeated this burdon.
Sometimes I’d work like a pack horse where 80 hours a week felt easy. Other times, I’d lack motivation. I’d be lazy. I’d spend hours achieving little, jumping from one thing to the next, procrastinating. I didn’t even feel like an entrepreneur.
I had questions. Why was I sometimes motivated and sometimes not? How can I be permanently motivated?
4 Emotional motivators
I remember sitting back in my chair, watching motivational videos on Youtube and TED.com. Good start, I thought. I felt motivated. It lasted 5 minutes.
I shared my lack of motivation with my forum. This helped me see that I was motivated by a few raw human emotions. Emotions such as:
A competitor did something wrong by me and I wanted to crush them for it. This was the strongest motivator I’ve ever experienced.
Experienced the day before a speech, week of an important demonstration or when my car rental website, VroomVroomVroom crashed;
During a crisis, intense competition and fear of being broke;
I hit the gym twice a week and became much fitter to impress a girl (Cringe).
Even today, without one of these emotions, I’m still not very motivated. After realizing that I had little control over motivation, I new I needed something else instead. What I needed was discipline.
Discipline is one of the greatest gifts I’ve given myself
Self discipline soon became one of the greatest gifts I would ever give myself. Here’s how I did it:
Set up punishments
My Brisbane EO Forum (BTC shout out!) enforces a $50 bottle of wine each as a late penalty. I set my own personal penalties for various things. They’ve included midnight winter swims and power slaps to my face by my brother, David.
Manage a todo wish list
I keep one big list of things I want to get done at some time in the future. Big and small things. Clean the house, build on 5 relationships, chase that opportunity, write a blog post etc… I use Trello.com (free!). Here is an example: http://bit.ly/1agRHFp
Finish daily todo list before sleep
Each day, I set a to-do list of stuff handpicked from the wish list. I strictly go to bed only when the to-do list is complete (or suffer punishment). On two occasions so far, I’ve worked for 36 hours straight. That’s 9am until 9pm the next day.
Collaborative todo list with my team.
Using a team todo list with a weekly check in created urgency for myself and my team. This process could be a whole topic itself. I hope to share sometime.
When I tick off something on a list, I only then give myself the option of a short reward. A game, food, Reddit etc.
What would McGyver do?
Sometimes when I feel lazy, I announce “Would MacGyver watch that TV show where people sing and clap? No, he’d be making awesome out of sticks.” or “Would Bear Grylls be sleeping in? No, he’d be chasing goats. Get the hell up.”
“Write the first word” concept. This helped me through school days and still helps today when I have large projects to do. Once I do just one very small thing like write the first word, I seem to get addicted . This is how this article was started!
Fantasize what it’ll feel like once I achieve __________.
This is on my daily todo list.
Discipline is more important than short term Motivation.
Discipline can be learned. By the way, Scouts Queensland helps it’s members aged 6 to 25 appreciate the value of self discipline through adventure. [Ad]
The more I master my own discipline, the more I can achieve.