Inspiration, like all fresh things in life, won't last as long as you'd wish. It will wane, discolour or simply turn to dust. Read these tips to get more done whilst your creativity is ascending.
Everything takes much longer in life than you’d expect. We're all wild and dangerous optimists when it comes to assessing how long it'll take us to finish a job.
1. Love that hill you’re about to climb
If you can't be bothered to clamber right to the top of your task then who'll be bothered to read, eat, watch or react to it once its vaguely finished? Visualise yourself getting bored of the job. Now figure out what part of the process you’ll revel in to get you back on track if you falter.
2. Smash your task into tiny pieces
Imagine the difference between nailing 18 tasty tasks before charging over the glorious finish line compared with failing at one huge, sprawling project that owns you until you fail. We’re aware that sounds melodramatic but it is basically what happens a lot of the time when jobs crawl to halt in the early hours.
By breaking your goal into actionable steps, not only can you stay motivated but you can open up your possibilities to:
- Delegate some elements to others.
- Return to the task later, tomorrow, or next year and not risk confusion.
- Schedule coherent breaks to recharge yourself.
- Keep your morale riding high, and even generating more momentum.
At Trigg we’ve been using Dwight D. Esienhower’s productivity technique of carving your tasks into a 4 box matrix.
Try it out, it’s really addictive and mocks the old fashioned sprawling guilt lists of yesteryear. The way of setting out your work forces you to instantly break your to-do list into four clear sections and then work on the most important quickly and effectively. These sections are simple:
3. Plan for the dark dips
You've probably got a good hour of inspired work in you (maybe two if you really care) before your energy begins to wane. Coffee will drop you like a gold digger drops a stone back into a river.
When working over long arcs where concentration and motivation are required, your favourite bean may turn judas on you. Old plain jane H2O may be dull but it's the best substance to keep you engrossed and not firefighting plummeting caffeine and sugar levels.
Understand that your motivation and willpower will probably fail. And with this treacle-like staggering will arrive new doubts on the merits of your recent endeavour. Schedule in these predictable bouts of paranoia, apathy and indifference and then laugh in their little faces when they come wheezing around the bend.
4. Taste the tomato
The Pomodoro Technique, invented by Francesco Cirillo, suggests you’ll get WAY more done by working in timed 20 minute bursts with all distractions removed. This tip is as almost as old as all of the newer productivity hacks combined.
But when Mr Pomodoro honed this basic study structure in the 1980s, he probably didn’t foresee how mobile phones, social media and the internet was going to butcher our concentration spans.
Here’s the deal: You set a 20 minute timer, remove all distractions and work until the beep. Sounds easy? Try it. You’re quickly humiliated by your fractured actions.
This technique works by setting out a manageable timeline to complete your work and allows you to turn away from that abyss of distraction. It also harnesses the reward dynamic since after the toll of the bell you can do whatever you want for five minutes.
This means you can pepper your day with several radical interludes of intrigue which you’d just never let yourself indulge in otherwise. Just remember to come back to your desk! Then once again set your controls for the heart of the fruit.
5. Stretch those legs with an album
If you have already adopted timed bursts into your working world then you’ll see that quickly, like a muscle, your concentration expands almost every session. Before too long you’ll be hitting 45+ mins with your immersion intact.
We love working to the entire spectrum of an album. This allows up to 70 minutes of undiluted work to really crunch through big projects. You can also seek refuge in your headphones so no one can interrupt you and crucially your ears aren’t pining for diversion.
If 70 minutes sounds like a slog then remember sometimes quality wins over quantity, a notion bound up perfectly by the late John Coltrane with this LOVELY LITTLE JOURNEY