We’re tuned to rely on external stimulants to do what we must do and be who we want to be.
This kind of an approach leaves us feeling agitated and stressed when we fail to feel motivated. If you are working out and sharing your fitness journey online, and you feel motivated from the large amount of likes and comments you get on your workout posts, it is a good sign and it is okay to feel good about it but it is not safe to rely on it to feel motivated.
When an external stimulation becomes the only source of inspiration, it becomes an addiction.
Here, I’m not talking about the extremes. I’m not talking about showbizz and its dark side that leads to disorders and drug addiction. No, what I am really trying to focus on is a common man’s everyday mindset.
Before performing any action that brings value, our brains are wired to look for motivation. It has been like this for ages.
Can we live with this kind of a mindset forever? Yes, it is possible.
But is it really a good practice? Not really.
If you ever felt like you need a way out of this concept of finding motivation to do things, this is for you.
The ‘feel motivated’ concept comes with the highs and lows. When you get used to seeking motivation in order to get some quality work done, you’re also preparing yourself to cut yourself some slack when you feel burned out.
In most cases, the ‘motivation led to productivity’ phase is short-lived and the ‘it is time to rest’ phase lasts longer than expected. We don’t consider this as a problem because we believe that’s how things work and try to look at the brighter side.
Although no human can be 100% productive and focused 365 days a year, we can be at least 75% productive every single day.
Okay, so 75% seems like a big number. I understand. Let’s cut it to 50%.
That is 8.5 hours per day (after excluding the standard 7 hours of sleep time).
Now let’s say, you are dedicating 4 hours out of it to the tasks you perform at your job. You have 5 hours in your hand for other important things you wish to pursue. If 4 hours of productivity at work seems less, make it 5. But starting with 4 wouldn’t be that bad because we’re talking about 4 hours of solid work with no distractions here.
Don’t you think you can really get some quality work done with less stress if 4 hours is the target?
This is a better approach than looking for ways to keep yourself motivated throughout the day to be productive for 8-9 hours at a stretch. Trust me, I’ve tried it.
Plus, you’ll have the remaining hours for the work you wish to do in the other areas of your life. It is essential to understand that productivity doesn’t necessarily mean dedicating all your time to one major goal in one particular area of life.
Productivity is the concept developed to fuel progress. And progress involves work in all areas of your life. Only this will lead to satisfaction considering the fact that no man has just one goal, just the way he has no one particular source of happiness in life.
We strive for betterment in various areas of our lives because there are several things that are important to us—like relationships, job, lifestyle, hobbies and our body.
Productivity also means making new connections, strengthening existing bonds, making healthy food choices, spending time pursuing your hobby, working for the side hustle, having more conversations and many other things.
If we dedicate 100% to just one part, we will miss out on other parts.
Hence, it is okay to let the 75 or even 50 be your new 100 for a while. By setting realistic expectations for yourself, you perform better.
I know what all the CEOs and motivational speakers of the world say—
Give your 100%, go all in, be fully dedicated and work to your fullest potential.
That’s great advice. It is possible too. But only on some days.
Why? Because we’re beginners and we are humans.
Some days the world gets in the way and we feel drained.
Some days our responsibilities take over and we feel tired.
Some days our feelings get in the way and we get lost.
Failing to give your 100% and lacking focusing on such days shouldn’t make you feel guilty. It shouldn’t make you feel like you lack discipline. It shouldn’t make you question your way of living. This is the drawback of the ‘stay motivated all the time’ approach.
Find balance and progress will be made, all the time.
Give yourself the required push and also give yourself the required break.
That’s the key to being truly productive.
Start small and work your way up. It is important to remember there is always room for improvement. You can always raise the bar and strive for more but none of the great things you do will matter if you do it feeling stressed.
The journey to reaching a goal is just as important as the goal itself.
Let it be a pleasant one.
Thank you for reading!
— The Unfathomed
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