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How to stay productive even when you’re feeling down or tired

The reality is you’re not always going to feel motivated, inspired, or disciplined to move the needle forward on your goal or project.

Luckily, you don’t have to.

This is the no excuses strategy most of my clients use at one point or another to stay productive over the long run regardless of how they feel on a day-to-day basis.

How to stay focused on what is important:

1. Know your deadline: If there’s no external deadline, self-impose one. You must have a deadline or the work simply won’t get done.

2. Know the key elements: All goals can be compartmentalized into smaller parts, and absolutely need to be if you’re actually going to make progress.

3. Know the deadline of each key element: If you want to make consistent progress, you’re brain has got to have a reason to get to work.

4. Attach your WHY: Write down your list of elements and deadlines and put your big WHY at the top of that list. WHY do you want to accomplish this goal or project? What value does it add to your life and what you're trying to create? If you’re connected to your overall purpose and know how each of your actions in the weeds adds up to your aspiration in the big picture, you’re much more likely to make consistent progress.

5. Print out the list and put it somewhere you’ll see everyday: Keeping this as a prominent element of your working space is the best place for it.

Getting the work done, no matter what:

If your WHY is actually important to you, and you don’t want to die without it making sure you get the goal accomplished, then make the commitment to yourself to block off 1-2 hours every morning after your morning routine to start crossing off the key elements on your list. After your morning routine, this should be THE FIRST THING you do every day.

As long as you show up each morning and put in the work, YOU WILL make steady, consistent, and sustainable progress towards your goal.

There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that you will block off 1-2 HOURS EVERY MORNING with the intention of making progress on your goal or project that is MOST IMPORTANT to you, and NOT MAKE PROGRESS towards it. It may take time, but all great things do.

**This being said, once you’ve developed the habit of showing up on a consistent basis to get work done, it’s okay (and necessary) to have a rest-day once in awhile to take the kids to the zoo or to go on a morning hike with friends.

If we work incessantly on a creative pursuit without giving our minds and body a chance to reset, we will lose touch with the creative nature that is fueling our progress in the endeavor.

Bonus strategies:

Many people lose hope during long chunks of time making small progress.

If you’re one of these people, and even if you’re not, start keeping a daily journal (even if it’s simply a bullet format) so you can look back and see what you’ve accomplished when you get that inevitable feeling like you’ve done nothing. The journal is a great tool to keep yourself motivated.

If you think this whole process is a great idea, but think you’d have a hard time implementing it or still want a step-by-step guide through this process, download the FREE Gaining Clarity Worksheet and the entire ROADMAP Series to help you really put these ideas into action.

Completing your goals isn’t about doing what is fun or sexy all the time. It’s about doing what you need to do on a daily basis regardless of how you feel.

Make the promise to yourself that you will spend at least 2 hours every day doing what you claim is important to you. If you can’t do 2 hours, do 1. If you can’t do an hour, do 30 minutes. If you can’t do 30 minutes, at least do 10 minutes. Small consistent action is far better than no action at all.

If you can do this, you can accomplish great things.

With gratitude,

Dennis McGinley

STRIVENT - Founder, Performance Coach

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