Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Karl Staib of Work Happy Now.
Many people think that they can just jump in and work on a project whenever they want to. They think they’ll just do a little planning and get started, but then something weird happens.
They get an important call or email that they have to attend to. They finish putting out the fire and get back to work, but something is missing.
They just aren’t ready to get back to work on the project, so they answer some more emails, do a little planning, and make a few calls. The end of the day has arrived and they tell themselves that they will get started tomorrow.
This happens again and again until the project is put on permanent hold. This scenario used to happen to me, until I began putting in the preliminary work before I even started my projects.
They’ve forgotten the most important rule when using their superpowers at work: Finding the emotional sweetspot is vital to success.
Recognize Your Pre-thoughts
Before you start any project you have already created an emotional connection or separation. This connection or separation is precisely what you need to work with.
If you have an emotional separation from your project it’s important to understand why. I recently felt a disconnect from a project I was working on. Before I even started I could feel that I didn’t want to work on the project.
I was moving away from wanting to help large organizations and feeling more connected to helping entrepreneurs and individuals. I realized that the book I had been working on was a waste of my time. If I would have listened to the pre-thoughts that were popping up as I was planning my book, I would have realized this sooner.
I could have saved myself over 100 hours of work.
Sculpt your thoughts
Before every project starts, you must sculpt your thoughts. If you are spending your energy worrying about what might happen if you screw up, you are killing the project before it starts.
You must find that sweet spot within your emotions and thoughts that gets you excited about taking action. My favorite way to do this is through the simple act of appreciation. It’s a powerful tool that many of us forget to use in our daily working lives.
I’ve had to wake up at 5:30 am on a Saturday to be on a coaching call at 6am because my client lived in India. My pre-thoughts were about how hard I had worked all week and that I couldn’t believe that I had agreed to wake-up so early. I kept going on this negative thought train by contemplating about how I could cancel. Then a positive glimmer crept in.
I started thinking about how I could help my client start her small business. How I could give her the tools to be happy and help other people. I thought about the ripple effect she would have on the world.
Take action on what energizes you
Waking up was easy because I found the connection to my actions. I wanted to help this woman develop something awesome.
If I decided not to help her then maybe she would find someone else who didn’t care as much as I did. I couldn’t allow that to happen.
I snapped out of my negative thought cycle and had a great coaching call. It was actually easy to get motivated about my work. I just needed to do a little thought sculpting.
You have to know what gets you motivated, otherwise your superpowers are worthless. Usually an intrinsic goal can spark the fire because once the fire is burning, it’s tough to stop taking action.
Next time you are struggling to take action, ask yourself:
- What are my feelings toward this project?
- Can I sculpt my feelings to spark the motivation? (If not, it may mean that there is no emotional connection to the work.)If there is a connection then ask yourself…
- How can I stay focused on this connection so I do an amazing job on this project?
Staying productive within a project means understanding your emotional state before, during and after the project is over. When you can master these three steps, you’ll be able to do “Epic Shit,” as Charlie likes to say.