I've been living by a motto recently, and it has not only helped my productivity, but my overall health as well.
You see, I'm a creative trying to make it in the market, which means I suffer from loads of self-doubt, thoughts of inadequacy, and a paralyzing fear from time to time. This can often lead me to cuddle up in my Snuggie and turn on Netflix.
Yet, there is a problem in doing this. When I choose to not act on my problems, I'm nowhere closer to solving them. Instead of hammering out my work, I choose to waste time feeling bad about it.
When I realized this, I came up with a motto to fight all these feelings that stop me from getting things done. I pump myself up with this motto every time I feel stuck.
It's simply this:
DO THE WORK.
It sounds easy, but it's really not.
When you try to do work you know you need to do, work that you might not even enjoy, all sorts of feelings and thoughts come up that try to stall you from your work. Here are some of those feelings:
- Fear Fear will keep you from trying. You can't ultimately get rid of fear, but you can learn not to obey it or give it so much power.
- Discouragement There are many things that can discourage you from doing work. But discouragement, like fear, only depends on the power you give it. You can either choose to listen to the discouragement, or do the work to get over it.
When you have a large task to do, anxiety will want you to dwell on it in your thoughts, stall you until you're in an emotional state where you can't function. Doing the work, not dwelling on it, conquers anxiety.
Surfing YouTube isn't the best use of your time. Laziness will want you to be distracted, but time is too valuable for that.
If you're not passionate about what you need to do, chances are you won't want to do it. Yet, if it's something you need to do, not doing it won't get you any closer to being free from it.
If something needs to get done, it doesn't help to feel these emotions. These emotions will often try to trick you away from the necessary work. What does help, however, is actually doing the work.
But once again, this is still a hard task when these feelings can have a powerful voice. How do you get the encouragement to do the work and combat these feelings?
Easy. You focus on what you can change about your work.
If you place a sober and logical eye on your work, you'll find that there are only three things you can change about it: how you approach it, how it gets done, and when it gets done.
How You Approach It
Work is not a bad thing. Many of the greatest accomplishments in the world have been achieved through hard work and perseverance.
Yet, we still drag our feet when we leave for our jobs. We still sigh about returning to work in the morning. We still count the hours till the weekend.
Many people have a bad mindset towards work, as if we're conditioned to never like it. But truth is, we can't change the reality of work. The more we complain about it doesn't make it go away. What we can change is how we approach it.
Henry Ward Beecher once said this:
"Work is not the curse, but drudgery is."
We often treat work like it's the enemy, but the true enemy keeping us from work is how we approach it.
How it Gets Done
There are two choices that come with doing your work: to do it poorly or greatly. This is always in your control. But when it comes to doing your work, you have to also consider what will make you most proud of that work when you're finished.
When you complete a work, you want to feel proud or accomplished about it. That means you must do your work well.
Replace the paralyzing emotions you feel about doing work with something healthy, like the feeling of success and doing more.
When it Gets Done
Reality is, the more you prolong your work, the more uneasy you're going to feel about it. Not doing it isn't going to solve anything. Doing it and doing it soon is the only way to relieve yourself.
You have the choice to either do your work now and feel better sooner or do your work later and feel bad about it longer. Do the work now and you won't regret it later.
Doing the work is the only thing that'll get you closer to where you need to be. Try to center yourself on that as much you can.
Put this motto on a sticky note and hang it above your desk. Write a note and put it on your fridge. Write it in your schedule. Just do whatever it takes to remind yourself: the only way to get done your work is to simply do the work.
This post originally featured on nealsamudre.com, a blog for artists and entrepreneurs to discover their voice and spread their ideas in a changing world.