I do better with limitations. If you give me a project and tell me I have forever to do it, my brain does not get excited. But, if you give me a deadline, I will knock it out like it’s my JOB. I think most people are like that. Ever had an athlete who got better grades in season than off season?
With just a little challenge and a little adrenaline, BOOM, your mind will focus on RESULTS and you'll get WAY more done.
When deadlines don't exist on their own, there are ways to give yourself limitations of your own in order to really benefit from this type of a mind shift.
The next time you're feeling sluggish or demotivated, or overwhelmed by your task list, try the following process.
I think you’ll be amazed by how much you can get done when you set self-imposed limits.
I do this with my family. We put 10 minutes on the timer and clean the house. Is it perfect? Not at all. But with 4 humans running around putting toys away and sweeping, not only is it WAY more fun, but we actually get the house clean (ish). Here's the funny part, I guarantee that I could set 30 minutes on the timer and it wouldn't be that much cleaner because we’d dilly dally, waste time, and get distracted. And this isn't just mommy hack designed to keep a 4 year old engaged, it's human nature.
This same technique works on my brain as it does my daughter's... And it will with yours too.
I don’t consider myself a huge procrastinator (although I’ve done my share of procrastinating).
The reality is, If I have all the time in the world, I'll drag a task on until it reach the unattainable standard of 'perfect'.
I used to do this with my blogs and newsletters. I’d write a draft, a couple days later I'd revise it, then, I'd send it to my content editor, Chantel, who would perfect it some more and send it back to me for final approval... the whole thing took forever.
One day, I stopped. It wasn’t easy, but my coach challenged me to get out more content and share my message more frequently, and that was an impossible challenge with this tedious system in place. So, I decided to challenge myself with time limits. One day, I set a timer for 30 minutes and told myself I'd write (and finish) my next blog in that amount of time then send it out.
As I continue this new method, I'm often reminded of something my college coach used to tell me, "Shoot before you turn it over". He would remind me, "You get 30 seconds to shoot. Better to get a shot at scoring than monkey around and turn it over. Don’t think too much. Take the shot."
Now, I take his advice. And that's how I’ve been able to CREATE so much more content in the last year than ever before.
By creating boundaries for myself, I no longer leave myself to my own devices with unlimited time to get things done, and I no longer chase the ever-illusive standard of perfection.
Do my newsletters occasionally have typos in them? Yes. Could my articles be improved with another look? Of course. But at what price? The price of NOT creating as much, the price of limiting what I can get out to the world. You know what's ironic about the whole concept of editing for perfection? There's no such thing as perfection. Even after 10 days, my newsletters and blogs still weren't perfect.
Let me be clear. This isn't about half-assed work. It's about challenging yourself to have high standards within set limits. We can still have a high bar, we just have to realize that at some point, the time investment isn't worth the microscopic improvements that occur past a certain point.
So I’m choosing action, I’m choosing to take the shot instead of turn the ball over.
What about you?
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