Imagine a ball made out of concrete. When you try to push it, it takes tremendous effort to get it rolling. To stop it from moving, you just need to keep nudging in the direction you want and it keeps rolling. You don't need to push it as hard anymore as you did when it was at rest. Now, every time you give it a nudge you keep adding a little more force to it, not too much, just a fractional amount. What happens? It starts rolling faster and faster. The more you do it, the faster it goes, and what does it take? Just a fractional amount of work. Now if you want to stop it from rolling, it takes some effort - this is where you want to be.
There's a term for this - Momentum. That concrete ball has build up some momentum. Great! now you know how to stay motivated. Kidding! Well that's the gist of it. No, Really!
What about that "tremendous effort" in the beginning? I don't want to do that, isn't there some easy way? Well there is, just don't put that much effort in the beginning. Yes, you read that right. Don't put that much effort immediately in the beginning. Put a fractional amount. But, do it consistently.
When I say fractional amount, I mean it. Amount equivalent to the tiny spec of dust in the universe. If you do that, overtime that fractional amount is compounded and you start gaining momentum.
When you start a new project or learn something new. It takes substantial effort to get started. The moment you think about how much you have to do, a huge boulder weighs on your mind and you may incline towards giving up before you even started. The trick? Again, put a fractional amount.
Let's say you want to start getting into the habit of reading books. You read just one word on the first page and keep the book away. Next time you pick up the book, you read the next two words, then the next three.
This process removes that heavy boulder off your mind because now it's not hard anymore. It's easy as reading few words. Similarly, you can apply this for writing, write one word, then write two more words and so on. Every time you come back, you up your fractional effort by tiny amount.
Now, we know we are not perfect, there would be times when we would stop putting that effort completely. That's okay! Don't beat yourself for it. Instead, you have pat yourself on the back and tell yourself I needed that break and that you're back again. By doing this, you instantly clear up guilt from the mind and it sets you in a positive mood. Get back up, start with the fractional amount again. I'm repeating fractional amount over again because it's important you don't forget about it.
I've been doing this since I became an indie developer and have been consistently doing it. There have been times when I had stopped working for few days. I'd lose momentum, but then I'd start again applying the same technique I mentioned above. In my case, it would be just staring at the code. Not writing. Just looking at the screen and staring at it for 10 minutes. Next time I'd come back, my mind would be thinking about the code I had been looking and I'd start gaining momentum.
Start with a fractional amount, up it by a notch next time you come back and do it consistently.
In case you’re wondering, I’m building Brisqi - a personal Kanban app. It’s what I use to plan my day, work and life in general. Feel free to check it out.
Top comments (2)
Really good post, applying some techniques you mentioned in my life, hope it helps.
Btw, I really loved your Brisqi app, it's very lightweight, it doesn't high configuration.
I think it's even better other great productivity apps out there like Evernote. I am currently using it.
Hey Sarvesh, thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you found both the technique in this post and the app useful :)