Time passes quickly when you are productive
By Darin L. Hammond
I sit at my computer all Saturday, and this is the place I should be. I begin early with ambition, 5:00 AM. Blank white windows on my Mac's Retina screen await my brilliant ideas, and my mind is bubbling with them.
But I wait to write because I need to research my ideas. I can't just whip out whatever slop comes to my mind. No, I need some scholarship to support my ideas and clarify my thinking.
Hours pass as I not only research but spend time promoting my blog, sending emails, feeding children, and even raking some leaves that have fallen in the yard. By noon, I have not written a word.
However, I've been productive, right? These tasks needed to be completed, and I have responsibilities in addition to my writing. The time I spent at the computer was worthwhile and informative. I am better educated on e-book publication, and my blog does need promotion.
Productivity equals procrastination or writer's block if you have no focus or sense of priority. This sounds odd, but it's true, and I write about a problem I have yet to solve, but I struggle with it daily, proposing new remedies when I realize each evening how little I have actually accomplished.
If you're expecting solutions here, I am going to disappoint you. This a problem that I grapple with. I think we all do. I don't expect to solve my problem anytime soon. The solution lies an obscure place of the mind and body, self-discipline. Self discipline is more than just a habit that you can develop using a few simple strategies. Tips on scheduling, prioritizing, motivating, and believing in yourself fall short.
In fact, most self-help gurus are full of crap because they give you all kinds of ideas and strategies to be productive when the source of the problem lies at a level much deeper. Schedules and timekeepers only scratch the surface. My productive procrastination comes from a lack of control over what I will myself to do. To truly solve our problem, we must develop a character trait, not a habit. Habits and techniques are easy to list, but character traits require a lifetime of practice.
So, we must redirect our productive energy through mastery of the self, the body, and the mind. This sounds Zen, and it is. One of the keys of a Zen lifestyle is to master the self and to be in the present moment. The masters work at this over a lifetime, and most feel that they never succeed. But this is the core of the problem and solution.
Let me turn positive now. In the wee hours of the morning, I finally began to write this article. I was not inspired or driven to do so, but I forced myself and controlled the temptation to perform other productive labors. In other words, I mentally positioned myself in a place where I had mastery over the present and over my natural tendencies. Although this arose from frustration and disappointment, I focused on the need to get something done because focused action would make me feel better about myself and my day.
Once I began to write, the hardest part had passed, and I enjoyed sharing my thoughts in the present moment. I transcended the failure of the day by focusing on what remained. Rather than looking forward to what I might do tomorrow to change my habits, I imposed self-discipline upon myself and that made all the difference. I told myself that in order to feel better, I had to work.
So my tips here focus on self discipline rather than tricks or habits. They are not easy.