Life is one big learning experience, and one of the joys of getting older is figuring out how to make life easier and more full of fun. Here, Roz Savage shares a few things she’s learned about how to get stuff done, leaving more time for the things that really bring her joy…
1 Motivation is nice to have, but not essential
I don’t have to feel like doing something in order to get it done. In fact, waiting to feel motivated is just adding another step to the process – now I don’t just have to do the thing, but I also have to try to get myself motivated to do the thing. So I may as well just do it, motivated or not.
2 Get started
Don’t try to find the willpower to do the whole task – just find enough willpower to get you through the first 2 minutes. By the time you get to the end of those first couple of minutes, you will probably have found enough momentum to keep on going.
3 Be excited!
When I find a project that I am absolutely passionate about, I get motivated to do just about anything that takes me closer to my goal. Without that passion, motivation is a lot harder to find. So if I am struggling for motivation, I ask myself if this is really something I want to do – and if not, whether I really have to do it, or if it can be delegated or deleted.
4 Enjoy the journey
Lofty goals are often achieved only by the mundane daily routine of taking a thousand steps in the right direction. There is no fast forward button to speed it up, so I may as well settle in and enjoy the journey.
5 Do just one thing
If I’ve got too much to do, my mind starts to thrash. I start doing one thing, then put it aside and start another… And sometimes another. The only way to get stuff done is to focus on one thing at a time, and stick with it until it’s complete. Then move on to the next.
6 Start small
When I get an idea, I want it to be the biggest, boldest, best thing it can be – and I want it now. So the gulf between where I am and where I want to be can be overwhelming. Now, though, I know it’s better to start out small, and build incrementally.
7 Celebrate often
Nothing succeeds like success, so give yourself a big pat on the back as you complete every step towards your goal.
8 Be mindful about the language you use to yourself
We all have a running monologue going on in our minds, a constant commentary on how we are doing. For too many of us (particularly women!) a lot of that commentary is negative. ‘I’m not clever/confident/experienced/disciplined enough to do this!’ and so on. We become our own worst enemy. So practice noticing those thoughts, and when you catch a negative one, mentally throw it out and replace it with a more positive, helpful one, like ‘I know I can do this if I keep calm and put my mind to it’.
9 Check what you’re committed to
If I feel I’m not wholeheartedly committed to making something happen, I ask myself if I’m more committed to something else. It could be that I’m committed to perfectionism, so I’m afraid that the results may be less than perfect. Or maybe I’m afraid of succeeding, because then everybody (including me!) will have higher expectations of me and that could let me in for more hard work. I ask myself some tough questions and get absolutely honest in my answers to find out what my hidden commitments are.
10 Connect to a higher purpose
If, for example, I’m getting writer’s block, I think about all the people who stand to benefit from my book, and what a difference it could make to their lives. And how they need to read my book sooner rather than later. So now my writing is not just about me – it’s my contribution to the greater good of people and planet. What could be more motivating than that?!
About the author
Roz Savage is well qualified to offer tips on motivation – as an ocean rower she has traveled over 15,000 miles, rowing 12 hours a day… and she doesn’t even like exercise. She now brings the life skills learned on the ocean wave to her coaching clients, helping them find life purpose, success, fulfilment, self esteem, happiness, and inner peace. Her second book, Stop Drifting Start Rowing, is published by Hay House.