Here’s the time this morning.
I’ve not managed 430am yesterday nor today which is frustrating.
It means hours get lost before I’ve even started getting going.
Which is why today felt like a suitable time to discuss how to work even when you don’t feel like it –
This feels like a very apt choice for me today.
I’m woken up late, I didn’t sleep well, I’m somewhat hungover (lockdown was lifted a little finally yesterday), and now here I am writing this blog.
I’m actually currently reading Seth Godin’s ‘Leap First’ – great, light and easy read – and it got me thinking about one thing in particular.
This is what Stephen Pressfield also talks about in his well-known book (amongst writers anyway – ‘The Resistance’.
This is that inertia, that literal resistance you feel – when you’re meant to be writing every day.
I’ve felt such a resistance several times.
I’ve been going at this (writing) since Jan 1st – almost daily diligently checking in and making sure that I get some words written. I think I’ve perhaps missed less than 5-days since I started this whole journey.
There have been several moments however when I’ve faltered and sent emails to the team saying – I’m not interested anymore/I’m taking a break or something to that effect.
When you’re leading a company and you’re a solo founder (for the most part) – and have partners at most – you don’t really get much positive feedback.
In fact – it’s your job to give feedback to others, and to take criticism from your clients…
That’s generally the model.
And this is generally what happens.
Even to the extent that I do training every Friday’s with my internal team – and at the end of each training session I’ll ask our head of growth Federica for her insights and feedback as to what she thought about the session.
No one tells me anything otherwise 😛
This is pretty indicative of the feeling I have when I’m writing each morning.
As I’ve crossed the 100-day mark – all of these words feel like they’re going into a void.
And that makes it difficult to be interested in writing.
It makes it difficult at times to want to continue.
So I want to offer up my own coping mechanisms for this very problem you’re currently facing if you’re reading this blog.
How can I keep working even when I don’t feel like it?
Is the work connected with a big enough why?
This is something that ideally you need to know before you’re even starting day 1.
Why am I (in my case) writing every day?
What benefit does it serve?
If I got zero feedback for the next 2-years – would it be something I’m still willing to work on?
I spend the vast majority of my time working alone – and these early morning writing sessions are almost meditative in nature.
They’re my opportunity to offer my outpouring of thoughts to the world.
Can you build into your work some kind of positive reinforcement loop?
I didn’t have this going into it formally set up – but as I look back upon it – there are some standout moments.
The first came when Mayur said he worked through all of my blogs so he could optimize them and that he learnt so much from reading them.
That was an amazing piece of feedback.
The second has come intermittently when Chris Sowers has mentioned that he enjoyed reading a certain post – Hofstaeder’s Law amongst others (I don’t recall the rest).
And the third came in the form of a kickup on the backside from Chris which I made reference to in this post.
The fourth was from my head of SEO who reminded me that I’m walking a hard path and that I must stick with this for a couple of years before I start seeing real traction. And that the personal benefits that will arise for me will be significant – well outside of Pearl Lemon if I stuck with writing.
And the final thing has come from looking at the initial SEO results themselves. I’m finally starting to see the earliest signs of traction with the content I’m writing. This is something I intend on checking now 1x per month to see what progress has been made.
Something is better than nothing
So alongside trying to produce written content daily – I’m also producing video content almost daily.
And whilst I had aims of getting X amount of words done and X amount of videos done – it’s a victory even if I create ONE video and ONE blog per day no matter the length.
Using this approach you can get things done even if it’s nominal.
And nominal can lead to phenomenal under the right conditions – so just starting is key – that was what my plan was with this blog this morning.
And now we’re 800 words in 🙂
Use A Distraction Blocker
Much of what we’re discussing is about long-term habit formation. But in the early days of forming such habits using something such as Freedom would be great to eliminate such distractions so you’re forced not to use certain applications.
Use Caffeine Tactically
If you dose with the right amount of caffeine – never go beyond a certain threshold – and use it very early on in your day…
Then there are great benefits to the use of caffeine.
I’ll have no more than two cups of coffee (Latte’s) and have finished drinking by 2 pm at the latest.
This is below the limits of what adults can drink in a day by maybe 30% and having it wrapped up by 2 pm means I’ve got ample time for it to leave my system.
In the morning, however, it’s a useful ‘pick-me-up’.
Follow Your Energy And Ignore Your Energy
There are mornings where I feel like writing and it comes naturally to me. Others where writing is a real drag.
There’ll also be later times in the day where I feel like writing as well – and then I’ll try to write quickly.
The same can be said for video content.
Making maximal use of stimulation is critical to increasing your output.
And doing it regardless of how you feel is even better!
Aim To Never Take Days Off
This might seem counterintuitive – but it’s important. I’ve in the end since Jan 1st taken around 5 days off – even though I intended to take 0.
Had I aimed to take 5 days off – I would have taken 15 days off.
So aim to do ‘the work’ – in my case producing content – every single day.
Zero days off.
Find A Way To Make ‘The Work’ Enjoyable
This part is extremely important.
For years (literally 3 or 4) I’ve said to myself – Deepak you must write content, you must produce video content.
The challenge was – was that what I needed to do in order to levy an immediate impact for my business was to build videos specifically related to SEO and Lead Generation.
This was precisely the last thing I wanted to do.
I didn’t and DON’T want to make solely marketing videos.
It’s not an authentic reflection of who I am.
What I have done instead – is to turn journaling and my impulses into a content creation strategy by trying to combine impulsive desires to produce alongside keyword research to combine them both together
How To Work Out Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
I wanted to bring this in at the end because it very much builds upon that which we’ve been discussing.
I train 5x a week more or less – and specifically, I run.
Here’s the way I combine all of the above to ensure that I’m out running even if I don’t feel like working out –
- I use Strava to track my weekly progress
- I have entered the monthly 100km running challenge
- I am in competition with my siblings in this challenge
- I see a running coach weekly
- I love running
- I keep a siblings WhatsApp group where we discuss our runs!
Putting together all of these in combination with the caffeine, the positive feedback loops (from siblings and all) mean I get much more of a buzz out of running.
Look at activities you already do well – what is the supporting structure and mindset?
This is where you can draw the parallel with what I do with running with my work – and also spot the gaps!
e.g I can keep some kind of tracker for my own motivation (which I’m beginning to of course with looking at the search data)
I can employ positive and regular feedback loops (which happens within our WhatsApp group).
So what are the immediate learnings for me –
Getting someone to give me daily feedback on my blogs would be great – this is the one thing that I think I’m going to incorporate into my blogging to ensure I get a higher degree of motivation to keep pushing me forward
I hope this gives you some actionable insights into how you can keep writing and keep going even in those moments when you don’t feel like it.
It’s amazing to think that before starting this blog I didn’t feel like writing anything down at all – and here I am on the other side of it – really enjoying having gotten it done –
This underlines that in the end – it doesn’t take much at all to go from ‘I don’t feel like it’ to ‘I’m really enjoying this!’.