Getting started — and continuing — on a project is tough. To get into a productivity streak and build the momentum you need to keep going, trick yourself by backfilling your to-do list with what you've already accomplished today.
Picture: Courtney Dirks/Flickr
This tip comes from TaskRabbit engineer Zack Shapiro, who says that creating and sustaining momentum is the key to fighting our many environmental triggers (other than using sheer willpower). Momentum, his blog post title states, is a hell of a drug.
When we see that we're on a streak, our brains want to do more to continue the streak. The longer the streak, the greater the disappointment if we break the streak.
If you've done something for 61 days in a row, don't you want to hit 62? Wouldn't itsuck to start over again at one?
So today, I encourage you to take the first step in starting a streak.
Make a list. Backfill it with things you've already done today.
Now do the first item on that list. Maybe you do the second one too. Keep it going and don't stop.
Excellence is momentum.
Psychologically, this is like Jerry Seinfeld's Productivity Secret (don't break the chain!). Tactically, it's like using a "done" list to keep you motivated. In this case, however, you begin by reviewing what you've already accomplished and using those checked off tasks to give you a running start.
As Fast Company notes, this productivity hack could also include reviewing (or even retyping in author Joan Didion's case) all the work you've already completed so far. "When you think about it, productivity is velocity."