It’s hard. Let’s face it. – Whenever I sit down to get things done – it never happens.Most of my life I thought it was only me.I thought I have some wiring issues in my brain that made physically impossible for me to focus on important things. Whenever I start something, I go on an endless journey on my sweet facebook newsfeed.It’s sad actually.
What’s worst is that sometimes I don’t even WANT to be on facebook.I just feel drawn to the distraction like an insect is drawn towards light.
What am I doing with my life?
This is the reason I laugh when I see those crappy apps which promise to increase your productivity by simply managing your to-do list.Who needs it? I really don’t want to insert another app in my already overloaded brain.I already have enough to do.
Sometimes I think I will go crazy with all the things I have to do at the same time.
So, just out of curiosity I asked my friends and mentors if they were having trouble getting things done in their life too.Well, I wanted to know if I am the only one on the planet?
So, most of them said yes, they are having trouble too 🙂
Now I know there are other crazy people on the planet too 🙂
I have seen myself in past starting a new project, a new idea and then somehow I let it fade and now it’s no longer part of my life now.I treat it like a dead pet and mourn for it but rarely speaks of it.
It has happened countless times and I assumed as per the “gurus” from the success literature that it was the lack of “WILLPOWER” at play here.
Not being able to the things regularly we want to do sucks.
Hate that feeling when you want to launch a new startup.In fact, it sucks if you just want to improve your life in any way at all.
So, I took a hard look at my habits and my interactions with people and things that I thought were important to me.
Guess what, I discovered something.And it’s not anything new.
This is where I made mistake, Let me know what you think.
You can’t “will” yourself to be more productive with your time.
You are not a lemon.You can’t just squeeze out the juice.It doesn’t work like that.
To be honest, I don’t even have what most people will call a “willpower”.If you are talking about mental strength, I probably use 60% of my energy just getting out of bed in the morning.Maybe 70% when I have something non-fun to do.Yes, I made that word.
If I had to use willpower to be productive, I would never get anything done.
I honestly don’t have the patience to combat the temptations of all the fun things I would rather do on a daily basis.I like chilling too much and spend time with loved ones.
But there is a problem. On the one hand, I don’t want to do anything but things that excite and inspire me. On the other hand, in order to EVENTUALLY have the ability to only do what I want, I have to make some serious moves now. Moves that require me to be extremely productive.
So I had to find a way.
I always thought elite performers were able to do so much more than me because they have some x-factor that allowed them to work harder, longer and better than me.
Or, I made up all these limiting self-beliefs that they had unfair advantages that I’d never have (of course she’s more productive than me as she has a personal chef to cook for her while she’s working). All that is BS, naturally.
Then it occurred to me maybe it’s not willpower at work here. Maybe these people aren’t forcing themselves to get stronger, faster, smarter or more successful.
Maybe the reason that the world’s most productive people ARE so productive is that they have their entire life designed to get better at their work.
The Comedian Solution
In 2016 Kapil Sharma made a whopping 60 crores from his show, live events and endorsements.That’s what most of the Bollywood stars don’t even earn(Let’s put aside the controversy around him for a moment)
Now, that’s true and it could be more as well.Internal sources said that he was offered more than what he was getting to continue on the current show he was hosting.He declined.
He is producing his own movie and his production house is looking for more opportunity to expand.
Now let’s go little backwards Before he was a millionaire Before he was a household name.
How does one can inherit such a talent, skill and productivity to write joke after joke, show after show, year after year at such a high level?
In an interview with a news channel, he shared his own story:
He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.
He told to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall.
The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day.
After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day.
You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain
Kapil didn’t mention anything having good jokes.He didn’t mention how long the activity has to last.The task is very simple: Write something every day, put an X on the calendar and don’t break the chain.
Using your brain’s programming against itself
Let’s think about what’s happening here. There are a few very sophisticated processes going on. Think about how you could use this model with the skill or process you re trying to become more productive with:
The act of doing something every day programs you to make it a default behaviour. Most of us don’t have to force ourselves to brush our teeth in the morning. There’s no mental strain or motivation with brushing your teeth. You just do it because that’s who you are. You are a person who likes clean teeth and fresh breath.Kapil managed to integrate writing jokes into his daily routine day after day. Over time, he associated his identity with the writing and from there, it’s much easier to follow through.
Default behaviours, repeated day in and day out become habits. Habitual pursuits almost ALWAYS improve because of the sheer frequency. In Kapil’s case, writing every day ensures that he’s bound to stumble on some funny material. 365 days of straight writing guarantees some nuggets of wisdom just by the sheer volume of material he’ll have created over time.
In effect, you’re using your own human tendency for habit creation to work AGAINST your natural tendency to procrastinate, stall and be otherwise unproductive. Rather than setting tough goals and hoping that you have the power to push through, you are actively installing new software (habit) on your brain’s computer to ensure that the program (goal) gets run. With enough consistency over time, the new software WILL get installed. You literally will not have a choice but to complete the habit every day. From there, success is on cruise control.
The only thing you have to do is NOT break the chain.
How to use this (and how it worked for me)
I ‘ve had great success with hardwiring new habits into my daily rituals. The best part about creating a new habit is that after a while, you forget that it’s a new habit. It becomes so natural that you no longer even need to keep track. It’s just what you do. I’ve done this with a few different things that used to be a struggle for me to do consistently, and now I manage to do them every day without even a second thought:
Making my bed (was a 68-day streak before I stopped tracking. My mom would be SHOCKED)
Reading (40+ days and counting)
and 4 or 5 other habits
But here’s the catch
Some days I was only able to keep things away from bed when I leave.
Often I only read a few pages.
But none of that matters because above all, I did it every single day. Consistently. And I haven’t stopped.
These may not seem like huge challenges, but imagine what its like to string together weeks and weeks of things you previously struggled with. Like compound interest, effort over time adds up to create something much bigger than the sum of its parts.
This is the secret sauce. This is how the top 1% of all performers are productive at a level that seems impossible to us.
Let’s say you want to learn internet marketing for your startup, but are completely overwhelmed by what you need to know. That’s fine, and it’s perfectly normal. Start with small bites. If you learn IM, for 365 days in a row without breaking the chain, you will make progress. Period.
Even if you consider yourself way below average at the beginning. At just an hour per day, that’s almost 400 hours of consistent Internet Marketing after a year. How good could you get at something with 400 hours?
Look at Karen, who taught herself to dance in one year using the Comedian Solution:
Karen proves that even over a year’s time, you can make remarkable progress in things that at first seemed near impossible to tackle. If you put in the time without skipping a beat, you can accelerate to advanced levels quickly.
Your only task is .you guessed it.don’t break the chain.