Momentum has a profound effect on my willpower, which directly impacts my productivity. You might notice when you’ve been sitting around all day it’s harder to go to the gym than when you’ve been busy all day. Or when you’ve been working 12 hour days every day it’s easier to keep working than when you come back from a vacation.
Here are 6 tips for building momentum to increase productivity:
1. Cut negative momentum
Recognize that what you’ve done (or not done) in the past is in the past. Don’t beat yourself up for something you can’t change. Be in the present moment. In the present momentum you have a choice about how to proceed. Pretty zen, I know
2. Start small
Like pushing a heavy object, going from standstill is the hardest part. Once you get it moving and start building momentum, it gets easier. For personal productivity, start with small, less intimidating tasks. Trying to tackle a huge task without a warmup seems daunting. Failing to do so would be discouraging. Start small to build some momentum before trying to tackle bigger tasks.
3. Reward yourself
Reward yourself for small wins. Give your brain a bit of validation for the initial hard work, and make it crave more. I’ve recently started taking James Altucher’s advice of writing a list of small wins and accomplishments at the end of the day. Like a reverse to-do list.
4. Stay consistent, build habits
Once you build the initial momentum, keep it going by staying consistent. Make a habit of continuing to work hard and scratching off those to-dos.
5. Take pleasure in pushing yourself
I’ve recently gained an appreciation for the feeling of pushing myself. Sounds weird, I know. Take pride in getting shit done. Pushing yourself makes you stronger for the next time around. Like running for those extra few minutes or doing that last rep at the gym.
6. Take breaks
Once you’re going strong, don’t forget to take breaks when appropriate to avoid burnout. Be conscious of when you’re getting a lower return on the time you’re putting in, and just take a break. Keep yourself craving that feeling of pushing yourself. Don’t get sick of it. It might hurt your productivity in the short-term, but it will help you tremendously in the long-term.