Have you ever wondered how successful people seem to get more done? Do you ever find it really hard to get started and get things done? Have you ever stared blankly at your computer screen before writing, or done the housework instead of doing something you know is more important? I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there.
In order to be super effective, just like the super successful people, you need to have very strong habits and absolute self-discipline (amongst other things, but these two qualities are high up there) – I know it’s easy to write this… and it’s certainly not that easy to do.
I’d like to share with you a technique that I picked up recently that really works for me, and many other people too. But first of all I want to introduce you to the type of Resistance that we all suffer from. If you are anything like me, you will relate to this in a big way and you will already be well aware of its presence.
“Everyone who has a body experiences Resistance.”
In the book, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield writes about the constant human battle the every single person has with Resistance.
So what is Resistance?
“It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. It’s aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.” (p7)
Resistance is basically anything that is stopping you from doing the things you know you need to do.
The following is a list, in no particular order, of those activities that most commonly elicit Resistance:
- The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, however marginal or unconventional.
- The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profits or otherwise.
- Any diet or health regime
- Any program of spiritual advancement
- Any activity whose aim is tighter abdominals
- Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction
- Education of every kind
- Any act of political, moral, or ethical courage, including the decision to change for the better some unworthy pattern of thought or conduct ourselves
- The undertaking of any enterprise or endeavour whose aim is to help others
- Any act that entails commitment of the heart. The decision to get married, to have a child, to wether a rocky patch in a relationship
- The taking of any principled st and in the face of adversity.
- In other words, any act that rejects immediate gratification favour of long term growth, health, or integrity. Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower. Any of these will elicit Resistance
How Does Resistance Manifest Itself?
Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalise. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead we say, “I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start it tomorrow.” (P.21)
How many times have you said that to yourself? I don’t even know how many times I’ve said “I’ll do it tomorrow”…I don’t want to know!
Resistance can include things like sex, masturbation, getting into trouble, being sick, and fear. There are many examples in the book, which provide more depth to underst anding how these elements become a form of Resistance.
If you really struggle with Resistance and procrastination I suggest you buy the book. It really gave me a kick in the ass and I know others who felt that it was written just for them.
There is hope…You Can Defeat Resistance!
“Defeating Resistance is like giving birth. It seems impossible until you remember that women have been pulling it off successfully, with support and without, for fifty million years.”
What a great quote, which comes back to my original purpose for writing this article. You see, it is possible to defeat Resistance, as long as you know exactly how it starts and exactly what to do about it. You can put small disciplines in place to make sure you can defeat it everyday. I have one example for you right now…
90 Minute Work Sessions as a discipline
This works for me, and many others, so there is a good chance it will work for you too. This technique was passed to me from Nigel Botterill.
Everyday I put aside 90 minutes of uninterrupted time to get work done. This might not sound like a lot, but how often do you get an hour and a half to spend on your work, with no one interrupting you?
You’ve heard of the 80/20 rule right? – The Pareto Principle. In this case, 80% of your best work is going to get done in 20% of your time. In a normal working week, spending 90 minutes a day fully concentrating on something, is about 20% of your time. Therefore, it is not a coincidence that the 90 minute sessions really do work!
I literally turn off my phone and the Internet (unless I’m working on the Internet). I deliberately stay away from social media and the sorts of things that will distract me.
By putting in this discipline everyday you’re effectively putting something in place to beat Resistance.
Unfortunately, no one is going to do it for you…it’s entirely up to you – you’re the one that has to discipline yourself.
The book had such a big impact upon me that I felt the need to share it with you. I also wanted to share this little discipline tactic with you too.
Do You Have Any Suggestions?
Perhaps you have your own discipline that ensures you get work done? If you do, please share it with everyone by commenting below.
What do you do to make sure you get work done?
Don’t forget to be awesome!