What I ask myself when I’ve gone off track with work, to come back twice as strong

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Creativity / Motivation / Productivity

I haven’t posted an article in over three weeks.

For someone who promised himself an article a day no matter what, that’s pretty crap.

I gave myself excuses…

“My time has been consumed by other things.”

“I went out too much and glugged one too many beers.”

“I need to feel great to write a great article.”

“I got a migraine.”

I took my eye off the prize, and I lost that excitement I had for my daily practice:

‘One fresh article that gets done every day, no matter what.’

So I slap myself hard across the face, and remind myself of the following:

What is the one thing that must happen within five years that matters more than anything, and how will I do it?

I have sold $1 million+ worth of inspiring products online in the previous 12 months, by attracting at least fifty thousand daily unique views to my content.

What is the one thing that must happen within one year, that matters more than anything, and how will I do it?

I have sold $125,000 worth of products over the last twelve months from my online shop, by attracting six thousand content views daily on average.

What is the one thing that must happen within thirty days, which matters more than anything?

I have designed and printed the first run of planner products to help people get focused (keep posted on this. I’m calling it: Book of Lift — it’s nearly ready).

What ONE THING must happen every day to take me a step closer to making the above happen, which matters more than anything?

An article gets done and published…

…One that is useful to my audience of independent entrepreneurs and artists, so that more eyeballs find my brand, and read my stuff, even if that article is short and not perfect.

BONUS QUESTIONS for extra hardcore daily ass-kicking:

When will this daily thing be done today?

The article will be written today (and every day), between 9 am and 12 pm.

I will write the article from scratch no matter what, with some music and a cup of coffee, no other distractions; phone off.

The drawings for the article will be done between 5 pm and 6 pm.

What will be your work process for that daily thing? Describe the outline:

  • I brainstorm at least five hundred words of free flow.
  • I find the nugget — the central idea — and continue exploring everything I can think about that thing through writing, including the problems and the solutions.
  • I order the main points in the text according to one of my ‘writing ladders,’ starting, for example, with establishing the problem, disproving the alternatives, and showing the solution.
  • I write out the first draft.
  • I edit and tighten up, for draft two.
  • I add colour, detail, extra research and any humour or voice that might have been lacking in earlier iterations.

What things can I incorporate into the day that can 10X the results of this one daily process?

  • Meditate for ten minutes before writing.
  • Write notes with a notebook through the day and take the best for the next day.
  • Exercise daily and eat better.
  • Reach out to at least three influential people to tell them about the post.
  • Use the Pomodoro Technique to work more intensely and more quickly, in 20-minute sprints, with breaks.
  • Study the top 1% best article-writers out there, and put my twist on what has been shown to be successful.

Which of these matters the most, that I make sure gets done every day?

The Pomodoro Technique, because it means that I get more done, in more intense flow, more quickly, and I gain the skill of speed.

I can, therefore, spend the rest of the day doing other things — in my case, writing a fiction novel.

Just by asking myself these questions and writing them down physically, I feel better.

All it takes is the commitment to do something and the clarity of how it breaks down. When that’s there, you just do the thing.

Will I miss days doing this? Very likely.

Will I allow myself some days off for breaks and holidays and adventures? Of course.

But the focus — both long-term and short-term — is established in a short exercise that shows me what is important right now.

And doing what is important every day is the game-changer.

Follow the newsletter here for more ideas like these and to keep up to date on a planner I am constructing that will ask you daily questions like these to keep you on track.

The Author

Alex is a project starter, sometimes finisher, writer and illustrator. He started Red Lemon Club in 2009 with the aim of helping talented creative people leave their mark.

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