What To Do When You Fall Off The Productivity Wagon
It happens to all of us (even those jerks who won’t admit it).
You set a goal to earn an extra $20,000 and you start working like mad to make it happen.
You get your desk organized. You create a solid to do list with due dates. You even make the prospecting calls you put on your calendar.
You nail day one and celebrate your discipline and fortitude. You are awesome!
Day two comes along and you’re so pumped from day one, you crank out even more work and make more progress.
Ah, this feels good! You’re on fire! This goal is as good as done and you’re already mentally putting that $20,000 in the bank and writing the checks to pay off the last credit card.
Days three, four and five come and go and still you’re getting it done. Why was this hard before? Why didn’t you do this years ago?
Your weekend is amazing because you feel so accomplished and successful at work. You are a productivity machine. You even got the garage cleaned out (sort of)!
Monday rolls around and you’re back in the saddle, ready to keep things rolling. And so it goes.
Until something happens.
You catch a cold and, although you go to work, you just don’t feel like doing anything. Or…
Your kid gets sick and you skip a day of work to take care of her. Or…
That prospect you were sure was going to sign the contract disappears and you are so disappointed you stew over it for a few hours, losing your momentum and enthusiasm for calls.
Whatever it is that derails you, you start to lose your confidence in yourself and your ability to achieve that goal. Again.
Because this isn’t the first time this has happened.
You’re all too familiar with this start/stop pattern. It feels like you’re always starting at square one, climbing the same mountain and sliding back down.
Seriously, you’re not alone. It really does happen to everyone.
It’s not the failing that hurts you. It’s the not getting started again that does.
When you fall off the productivity wagon, here’s how to get back on (and feel great about it).
Step 1: Forgive Yourself
It might sounds a little silly, but you do have to really, deeply forgive yourself. You wouldn’t be perpetually angry at or disappointed in someone else who had a temporary setback, would you?
Of course not. So stop being so darned hard on yourself.
Look at yourself in the mirror and say out loud, “You’re a good person. You’re on the right track. You just had a bad day (couple of days). But you made progress before that. It’s time to pick up where you left off and move forward some more.”
Step 2: Recommit
Once you have forgiven yourself and stopped dwelling on the past, you can recommit to the future.
Remind yourself what the goal is and why it is important to achieve it. Don’t stop at the surface reasons, but dig more deeply into how you will feel when you achieve the goal.
In our $20,000 example you might say, “I really want to earn that extra $20,000. Every $1000 I earn, I can use to pay down the debt I created when I started this business. And every time I pay some off, I feel proud of myself for becoming financially freer. And I feel more confident in my ability to make this business successful.”
Step 3: Win The Day
Achieving goals doesn’t happen overnight. It is the result of steady progress each and every day.
Focus your energy on winning the day. Just today. Do what needs to be done today so you can go home and feel like you made progress. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too much. Be mindful of putting enough tasks in the day to move forward but not so many that you can’t get them done.
Focus on winning the day. Because when you win the days, you win the weeks. When you win the weeks, you win the months. When you win the months, you win the years. And when you win the years, you win your life.
If you’ve fallen off the wagon recently like I did last week when I spent five days on the couch, blowing my nose, sleeping and watching Matlock reruns, don’t worry. Simply follow the three steps above and get back to it!
Your future self will thank you.