I am often asked, where I get motivation to get things done. I think that when most people think about motivation they think of the feeling of being inspired. But motivation in my mind is really no different than sticking to a good schedule.
I have over the years obtain quite a reputation for “getting a lot done” and many people say “where do you find the time?” Whether it is writing books, holding conferences, running a podcast, getting into shape, creating art all while working 60 plus hours a week. But it has very little I think to do with “motivation” as most define the word.
When I was 18 my dad taught me how to use a Franklin Day Planner. I sat in my room for 8 hours listening to instruction for Steve Covey on how to use it. I scheduled out my life, from calling someone in three years ahead on their birthday to accomplishing my dreams.
But there is something else that I inherited from my dad that I think many people lack and that they would implement. That is routine. My dad gets up at 3AM every morning, hits the gym and is at work before anyone else arrives. He works until his day is done and is usually in bed by 6PM. Every single week he climbs a mountain with weight on his back without fail, even though he is 70. When I was little I always remember he was up before the sun, every day rain or shine he would go running. So his schedule has always been active and precise.
I live my life very similar. For the most part I eat the same things every day until I get tired of them and switch, aside from the occasional meal out. I get up at the same time every day, I do the exact same routine every morning. I work out at the exact same time every day, and I work at the exact same times every day. I also have the habit of using absolutely every hour in my day. No matter if I am driving in a car or waiting in line, I am always productive.
For me the challenge is not getting things done, it is the massive amount of amazing ideas I have to reign in so that I can give devotion to what is important. I suppose overwhelm is my own personal giant to conquer which I usually do by writing it all out and prioritizing. When I sit down to write a blog I can think of a thousand things to write. And when I sit in a room that needs to be cleaned, well, then I need to clean it before I can think. haha
I think that priorities are where most people actually struggle when they say the lack motivation. Because if we divide and conquer our ideas on paper and then plug them into our schedules the process is simple. But if it is not a priority it will never get done. So when you lack “motivation” what you are really saying is “it is not a priority”. That isn’t always a bad thing, why spend your time doing something you hate?
If you are anything like me and have things you really want to get done in order to accomplish what is important, here is one thing I like to do to make my life easier:
- Write down every thought or to do in my mind
- Highlight everything that is high priority
- Break them down and plug them into your schedule
- Remove everything else (make sure to leave what is important to you, just because it is not "urgent" doesn't mean it is not a priority)
I am sure there are a variety of ways to do this but this is one thing that has helped me over the years. There is something about getting your thoughts out on paper that makes everything clearer.
Also try to live by a schedule, a routine that works. It is great to be spontaneous, but a person who has no schedule at all will never get things done. You can spend your life “in your head” and try to outsource everything but when it comes to things only you can do, they need to be organized and accomplished.
Sometimes we make “motivation” such an out of reach word. When it is quite obtainable with some simple organizational strategies. Take it for a trial run and see how productive your life really becomes.