5 tips on being more productive
August 02, 2019
Tip #1. Turn pro
This is the term Steven Pressfield uses.
What he means by turning pro is that we should take our work (art, writing, photography, etc.) seriously. We shouldn’t simply dabble around. No, we should have the approach of a professional.
We show up to our job five times a week whether we feel like going there or not. So we already know how to show up no matter what.
I have noticed myself that sometimes before sitting down behind a computer, I have no idea what I’m going to write about. Yet, it has happened that in one of those cases, I end up writing a thousand-word article in one sitting.
Interestingly, inspiration comes to you when you sit down to do your work, not when you wait for it to happen.
Tip #2. Build momentum
This builds very much on top of the last tip.
If you do your work every day, it builds up momentum, and it’s easier to do.
For me, it’s actually easier to write an article every day than it is to write 2-3 times a week. Because of momentum.
I guess this is also why people feel it harder to go to work on Mondays than e.g., on Thursdays.
Momentum is the energy of movement. It’s like Newton’s first law (also called the law of inertia) which states that an object continues to do whatever it happens to be doing unless a force is exerted upon it.
If you do your work two days in a row and then stop for a couple of days, it’s harder to start again as you have to exert more energy. If you’re already in movement, all you need to do is a slight nudge to keep it moving. Just as a car takes more fuel to start up compared to when you’re already driving on a highway and only need to keep it going.
Tip #3. Be anti-perfectionist
Don’t stress over being perfect. It’s a lot more important to get your work out there than spending so much time trying to make it better and better.
The reason for this is that for many people, they end up not shipping their work at all. The longer you sit on something, the harder it becomes to get it out there. Our minds come up with all kinds of excuses why it’s not ready yet and why it needs more this or that.
Once I think an article is good enough, I ship it, and I’m on to the next one. It’s more important for me to get it out there than stressing and trying to make it perfect.
I write how a child plays. And I’m having so much fun, and I’m just getting started.
Also, check out my article “Real artists ship,” where I delve deeper into this.
Tip #4. Listen to music that pumps you up
Certain music helps me to generate good emotions, which in turn helps me to get into action. Essential Mixes by Alix Perez and Nero will get me into the zone like a mofo. And fast!
Now add a cup of coffee into the mix on a Saturday morning and I'm rollin'.
Find what pumps you up and then hammer on that. Maybe music doesn't do it for you at all.
I know a lot of people like to work in a cafe as the mixture of indiscernible sounds help them to concentrate.
Tip #5. Coffee
Some talk about its negative effects, but people have been drinking coffee for at least 500 years, so it’s safe to assume it has no significant negative side effects at all. It has been time-tested and apparently it works.
For me personally, I love coffee, and it helps me tremendously to get stuff done, so I have no intentions to stop drinking it.