Has this every happened to you? You need to complete that project and there is a tight deadline ; you sit down to work but can’t get started.
Or has this happened to you? – You want to go to the gym but just can’t get yourself to start. Or Even when you step onto that treadmill, you just can’t get yourself to get moving.
Isn’t that frustrating?
If you are reading this article, then this has bothered you in the past (and continues to bother you even today).
This idea of productivity called as “ Getting in the zone” or “Getting into a Flow state” has always intrigued me. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when I do get into the zone- I feel alive, and I don’t want to stop. I always thought it was because of external factors – the weather (lack of sunshine), coffee, lack of adequate sleep, or my laziness.
But I later realized – after researching the topic and based on personal experiences that none of them have a true bearing on your productivity.
Are some people predisposed with the unique ability to get into the zone every time they get to work. The answer is NO!! Nobody is born like that. It is actually something all of us can learn and adopt.
In The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, the author talks about the writer’s block that many authors or novelists face. The author says that no matter how experienced a writer is , they always face those moments when they do not want to write. They just can’t get started. It is because of what he calls Resistance. Our brain just doesn’t want to give us the information we need- I am sure it has happened to all of us (I had massive resistance as I began writing this post). This is common.
I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty or the science behind why that happens or the root cause of Resistance (I recommend picking up that book and reading more ).
I just want to get straight into the remedy. So,what is the solution?
It’s simple.. You just need DISCIPLINE.
The discipline to just sit down and force yourself to just start writing, no matter how hard it is in the beginning. Just sit tight and start typing. And you will notice that in a matter of few minutes you will get into this amazing state of not wanting to stop (I feel that as I have reached this point in writing this article). All of a sudden, your brain starts to give you all the juice you need, and ideas flow to you so smoothly. It is like magic!!
I do my best to exercise almost everyday. And every single time I start the workout – I don’t want to do it. I hate the warm-up and stretching phase of the workout (even though I have been doing it for 8 years). But I just suck it up – and by the time the first 5 or 10 minutes are up , I am enjoying the workout.
Ever heard of Runner’s high?
I am sure you have experienced this whenever you exercised. It is after the 20 minute mark the dopamine (or feel good drug) kicks in.
I once listened to a Podcast where the guest was Steven Kotler. In his book, The Rise of Superman, he gives examples of extreme athletes (rock climbers, base jumpers) who have learnt to hack into the flow state.
Steven mentions that no matter what you are doing there is always this struggle phase in the beginning, there is lots of resistance and you just have to ignore the mental chatter and just push through; and eventually you will reach the Flow state.
Let’s take this back to our work lives.
We want to be more productive and we want to get more done in less time. Right?
But someday we just can’t get the motivation to get working. It happens to all of us (It happened to me last Friday).
The best course of action (the only course of action) is to stop listening to that mental chatter,get to work and be disciplined to stick with it. Just start working – just start doing whatever you need to get done. Trust me- within a few minutes you will get into the flow state. You will become unstoppable after that.
I am a Sales Professional , and a key to my success in constant prospecting i.e picking up the phone and calling people who don’t know who I am. I have been selling for many years now, but every single day I struggle to make those first few calls. Every single day!!
But I know that after the first 5 awkward calls – it becomes easier, it becomes natural and I get in the zone. All I need to do each day is to pick and dial those first 5 numbers, and after that I am on auto-pilot. I get to a point where I am not afraid to reach out to strangers.
I am sure you have similar examples regarding your work.
CALL TO ACTION
Do you make excuses for not getting your work done? Not in the mood or not feeling it today? I agree with you and empathize with you – we have all been there.
But that should not stop you. Be disciplined, and just push yourself (it is a struggle in the beginning) but once you start – you become a force to be reckoned with. You become unstoppable!!
A simple call to action here .
Don’t let resistance stop you . Be Disciplined!! Get to work (suck it up) , and you will get there.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi