Commitment and discipline
Thank you for being part of many of our recent livestream sessions.
We discussed commitment and procrastination as part of the Friday 26 June livestream.
Some of my reflections on how to truly commit to our decisions:
Strategic Approaches to Commitment
1) Why is this important to you? Really go deep in answering this question. How will your life be better when you achieve the outcome? Make sure these answers are for you... not for people around you. If there isn't a selfish motivation (as well as a "better world" motivation) you will run out of energy... as it is not your commitment, but your guilt that has led you to take the decision.
2) Do the hard stuff first. If you really are committed to a decision, challenge yourself to do the hard stuff that you find most difficult first. Seth Godin talks about two ways that people begin projects: amateur and professional.
- Amateur Commitment: I do the fun stuff first. I do the bits that I enjoy. As the initial motivation drops off I find myself starting to have to engage with the harder part of the project... and I stop.
- Professional Commitment: I do the hard, difficult stuff first. If I really am committed, I am committed to do what is hard. As my initial motivation runs out, I have already cracked some of the really hard stuff... and I have the easy stuff to finish up.
3) Surround yourself with people that want you to succeed. Sometimes you have to hire a coach to get someone to commit their resources to your success. Not all friends and family members really want to see you become a different version of yourself... it is hard for me to watch someone just like me succeed... it is a heavy deal for one's ego.
4) Decide what you will stop. Nobody has "spare" time. If you truly are to commit to a new project, you must deliberately choose what projects or activities that you will stop. My friend Prof Yago helps companies with Crisis management. When he arrives to the leadership team meeting, his first question "write down what you are going to stop doing? If you cannot each give me a list, I will not begin to work with you. You don't have spare time. You must choose what to stop." I love this idea. I don't have spare hours... My days are always filled by something.
Tactical Approaches to Commitment
Then in terms of tactics...
- Schedule time for it - block out specific time. If it is not on your calendar, it is not going to happen.
- Use Pomodoro technique. - Learn how here https://conorneill.com/2017/01/31/i-cant-focus-how-to-learn-to-focus/
- Have an Accountability Partner - someone who you hold accountable for their project, and they hold you accountable for your project. Find someone who also has a similar size goal and agree to have daily or weekly calls.
- Join a mastermind group - similar to accountability partner but this is a larger group, normally focussed around similar projects... but independent of each other. Vistage runs Mastermind Groups for growth oriented CEOs. The book True North Groups by Bill George describes how one such group works.
Further Reading on Productivity and Commitment
I wrote a long series on Productivity several years ago:
The Jedi Productivity Series
- “Be Systematic” if you want Productivity (and balance)
- Goal Setting and the 20 Mile March (LT, ST, habits)
- Deal with “Urgent” Interruptions
- Obi-Wan’s guide to say “No”
- Getting on top of the Email Inbox (a.k.a. Jabba the Hutt)
- “Use the phone Luke…” Master the telephone
- the Power of Delegation
- Hyper-effective Meetings
- Yoda’s first rule: Do or do not, there is no try
- Making time for yourself
- Why you matter
What else has helped you Commit to Important Decisions? I'd love your contributions in this thread...
Find a series of emotional anchors that will push you to continue the journey once you have started. What will the world look like,?how will you feel? how will those that matter feel when you achieve that goal? Sometimes a negative anchor serves as a better motivation.
Make the "commitment" the goal until it becomes a habit.
Most important of all listen AND take note of what YOU say when you talk to YOURSELF. This is where the programs for your success or failure are written.