Just Two Steps to Get Everything You Want Done
I’ve been reading Manage Your Day-to-Day edited by Jocelyn K. Glei. It has inspired me to write a post on willpower. The current chapter is about managing distractions. One of the prime points, which I have read in other places too, is that you need to not only focus on your work (no multitasking), but also remove temptation.
As an example, when the internet is within easy reach, your mind constantly uses energy to resist accessing the internet. Resisting takes self-control, and self-control is a limited resource. The simple act of writing while resisting the impulse to surf the net can cause you to pig out on ice cream later in the day after your willpower is low.
There seems to be two steps for dealing with this problem.
Step one is to remove the temptation. If you always want junk food, don’t have junk food in the house, or at least not in your desk drawer. If you want to check your email every ten minutes, turn off your phone and your router. Do what you need to do to get away from the constant choice between being productive and wasting time. Constant connectivity doesn’t really helped you focus.
There are quite a few apps to help you lock away distractions on your devices, but a low tech solution might be to leave the computer behind and write longhand in a notebook away from your home. Set yourself up for success by removing ways to fail, and you will fail less as you try to accomplish step two.
The second step to deal with distractions and to conserve your self-control is to create a routine. From what I’ve read, routines are not built quickly, something like seventy days or more before they take root. Once what you want to do is automatic, you will need less willpower to do them. If you get up every morning at seven for a few months, sooner or later you will start naturally getting up at seven. If you write two hours at your desk, without the internet, every morning for three months, it will become just what you do and not what you wish you were doing.
I’m currently working on these two step. I’ll keep you up-dated on how it’s going, but until my next post, happy writing!