"Positive thinking without positive action gives you positively nothing." ~ Unknown
I've read many articles to help the pajama-inclined entrepreneur stay on track. They're full of tips and tricks like: Get out of your pajamas! Some days that's definitely the best thing for my productivity. Other days a plaid, flannel power suit and fuzzy slippers are the perfect fit. Afterall, if I can't take advantage of the perks of working from home, how do I make my friends jealous?
The productivity lists for at-home and remote workers are indeed helpful, and I'll share my favourites at the end of this post.
But what motivates you and me to follow through on those sparkly lists? How do we decide? As Merlin Mann says, the verb decide isn't attached to a physical action. "Deciding, [...], is actually a kind of project outcome."
"Do it, and then you will feel motivated to do it." ~ Zig Ziglar
So you read all the top ways to stay motivated with your TV in the other room and no one to monitor your Facebook consumption. You formatted a Google Doc with the best tips in your favourite font. You stuck it on your office wall next to your Vision Board.
Now for your project outcome: Decide to implement. Simple, right?
Except nuh uh. How do I know which tricks will work for me? How do I make my routine and system work? What if I chose too many tricks and now I'm in overwhelm? And oh my god I just need to find a real job I can't do this!
"The secret of getting ahead is getting started." ~ Mark Twain
I'm in month five of working from home and I still spin around in the three less-desirable quadrants of Steven Covey's Time Management Matrix. I certainly don't spend the recommended 65% of my time in the Important but Not Urgent Quadrant Two cultivating wisdom, perspective, control and balance.
But I'm still moving forward. It just doesn't always look pretty and organized. Or serene. It's important to remember this when I compare myself to people who work from home expertly. Chances are, they've been doing it much longer. They've had their days of simultaneously putting out fires and thinking too long about which to-do items are most important. They likely still have those days, but they live there less and less.
I'll get there, too.
"The dark side of potential is a sense of deficiency. No place, or person, or project wants to hear this: ‘I love what you could be.’" ~ Danielle LaPorte
The key is momentum and letting go of perfect. Avoid overwhelm. Create that mental whitespace, keep ticking things off your list, and your rhythm will come. And if it doesn't, regroup and do a little more thinking or research about how you want your days to look. But don't get caught up in your practice being perfect.
"Perfect is the enemy of good." ~ Voltaire
Some days are going to suck and that's okay. Refocus after a break or in the morning. The important thing is to keep moving. We can spend gobs of time trying to figure out how we want things to move and work, what we really need to do is move and work. Attack your list. Start before you're ready.
"Decide what you're going to do next, and then do it. Make good decisions about what's next and you thrive." ~ Seth Godin
My secret to deciding is to not let myself become paralyzed by choice. And to move. Move my body, move my fingers, move my pen, move my deliverables. Even if they're not perfect: move!
As promised, here are some of my favourite finds to help you get started:
Time management articles:
Time management activities:
Time management tools:
This is a guest post by Shannon Fisher, ablogger, writer, and content strategist from Vancouver, BC. If you like it, please share or comment below!