You Don’t Need More Motivation — You Need a System
One of my greatest talents has always been coming up with an excuse for putting off something I didn’t want to do.
Skipped the gym? Eh, I’ll just make up for it tomorrow.
Hit the snooze button? Well, I needed the rest.
Brushed off a task on my to-do list? It wasn’t that important.
Procrastination is always an inner battle. But losing it has greater consequences than a missed workout or a blown deadline every now and then.
Six years ago, I tried to pursue my dream of becoming an entrepreneur: I did some freelance writing, built websites, and took on some content marketing and design projects. But, despite all the time I put in, I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. Why? Because I couldn’t get myself to do the uncomfortable work — the difficult, tedious, and unsatisfying tasks that come with actually building a business. I kept looking for relief from those tasks, often scrolling through the news or going out (yet again) for a coffee break.
That was, and to a degree still is, the story of my life. Right now, I’m writing a book. Writing is hard. I keep fighting the urge to put off the work. But I’m moving along and getting it done. The only difference between my life six years ago and my life today is that I now have a system.
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Here’s what I mean. To be truly productive, you can’t rely on hacks or apps or new technologies. Trust me. I’ve tried. You need to develop your own sustainable system, a set of routines and practices that serves as the foundation of your work. My system looks like this: