No, this is not going to be a motivational “just do it” article. But here’s what experience has taught me. There are a lot of very talented entrepreneurs who have a lot of great ideas. But very few people turn many, if any, of those ideas into money.
Why? Because for some reason, they never start the process of turning those thoughts into things. And the fact is, if you can get started, you have a much better chance of getting finished. Obviously, huh?
So let’s talk about how to triple your productivity by getting started. And I don’t mean how to write your idea down in your brainstorming book. Or even how to create an outline of your idea, although those are great beginnings, they aren’t the “start” we’re talking about.
What I’m going to show you today is not how to get your daily “to do” list done, but how to get those big ideas turned into money-making products and services for your business. There are generally 3 reasons you don’t start. Let’s get rid of each one of those now.
1. How to Be Productive When You Don’t Want to Start
Let’s use a common example. You want to write an eBook. Nothing fancy. Let’s say 50 pages or so. You’ve made time to do it today, but you just don’t feel like it. You are lacking motivation.
The important thing to know here is that motivation doesn’t come to those who are sitting on the couch doing nothing. Motivation is created by action, not by idleness.
So while it may sound very “deep” (or something) to say your book isn’t done because the motivation or inspiration needed to get the book out of you hasn’t happened yet, it’s nothing more than an excuse. It isn’t going to happen until you start.
Undoubtedly, you’ve experienced this before. You didn’t feel like going to the gym, reluctantly convinced yourself to go do 20 minutes on the treadmill, and ended up staying for an hour and having a great workout. You decide to make yourself clean one corner of the kitchen, and end up knocking out the whole kitchen. You forced yourself to start, and the motivation that came with that action carried you beyond your initial expectations.
The key to being productive when you don’t want to start is to force yourself to meet a very small goal. Write one page of your eBook. And then see if you really stop after just one page.
2. How to Be Productive When You Don’t Have Time to Start
I suffered from this one for a long time. As a mom, I don’t have 8 hour blocks of time at the office every day (thank goodness!). I often find myself with projects I’d like to start, but only 30 minutes until it’s time to pick up the kids.
Here’s what I learned. You can do a lot in even five minutes.
So when you’re struggling to find time to write that eBook, don’t discount any small block of time you have. Productive people don’t say “I only have 15 minutes.” They say, “Yes, I’ve got 15 minutes!”
You can write a couple of pages in 15 minutes. And those pages add up. Did you know Zig Ziglar wrote “See You at the Top” a page a day over a ten month period? Now unless you have a lot of other revenue-generating stuff going on, I don’t suggest you take 10 months to finish your eBook, but it is better than never finishing it at all.
And ~ guess what ~ like we already talked about, once you start writing, motivation is going to kick in and help you keep writing. You’ll often find the 15 minutes you have now results in staying up an extra hour tonight to get a few more pages of that book written.
3. How to Be Productive When You Don’t Know Where to Start
Sometimes you have the time and the desire, but you’re stuck. When it comes to writing, this is commonly referred to as “writer’s block.” It’s when you sit and stare at your computer screen. And your screen saver comes on again and again without you ever managing to get a word on the page.
In this case, if you’re creating information of some kind, just start writing. If you’re trying to create or do a physical thing, just start playing with the pieces you have.
In our eBook example, “starting” might look something like this: I’m writing an eBook. It’s about XYZ. My main ideas about XYZ are A, B and C. The things I want to teach people in this book are D and E. The most important points about D are . . .
In other words, don’t worry about trying to write it how you actually want people to read it. Just do a brain dump. Write for yourself. This will result in something productive happening. Things will start to take shape and you’ll get into a groove. It’s that motivation thing again.
When you don’t know where to start, let go of the need to try to get it right, and just start doing something.
A Final Note About Starting
I told you that a lot of people have an idea, yet very few even start the process of turning that idea into reality. Well, even fewer finish. To be in that smallest of groups, you’re going to have to keep starting. Productivity is a daily habit.
And when you keep starting, you’ll figure out which things you want to, and actually should, finish. And it’s okay ~ in fact it’s good ~ to stop doing those things that for whatever reason, turn out to be the wrong ideas.
As for the ones that stick, keep starting. Every day. Whether you want to, have time to, or know where to. Push those excuses aside and go with the starters I’ve given you today. You’ll be glad you did.
I’d love to hear your secrets for increasing productivity. Please share in the comments below.