How To Show Up Everyday
even when you don’t feel like it
Consistency is the superpower wielded by the most successful among us.
For many of us, showing up can be the hard part, especially when you don’t feel like it.
Every now and then I get that too.
On my worst days, I struggle to stay focused on what I’m supposed to be doing. I waffle. I procrastinate. I loiter around a task instead of doing it.
It happens to all of us — even the pros.
But somehow, I still manage to show up and eventually get it done. I still get those client articles and coding projects out. I still write and publish stories on a regular basis. I still plot and plan things for future execution.
So how do I do it?
Program a trigger
Ever since I started exploring the concept of habits, I’ve discovered that there are two kinds of habits — active habits and passive habits.
Passive habits are the things you do automatically without prompting. It’s the act of brushing your teeth before going to bed. It’s the idea of having a shower at a certain time in the day.
Active habits are based on triggers. You don’t usually start doing them unless something has triggered you to do it.
For me, I’ve programmed myself to write when a particular playlist starts playing. I keep this playlist exclusive for work activities and don’t listen to it outside of working hours.
For some people, it’s the act of brewing a cup of coffee or checking their emails before starting actual work.
Whatever that trigger is, it’s part of a bigger routine that your brain is used to performing. It’s muscle memory for a set of tasks that you do on a regular basis.
Productively procrastinate with preparation
Yes. There is such a thing.
As much as I rely on my trigger, sometimes something goes wrong in the process. I might have just finished a large project for a client, which suddenly gives me more time than usual to do something.
Or it’s school holidays and my hours are skewed from parenting duties.
The act of productive procrastination is creating the scaffold to the thing you’re supposed to be doing.
My main daily task is to write a few coherent pieces for clients. Sometimes I struggle to show up because I haven’t done the prep for it.
This means having the right knowledge and understanding of a new topic, or I hadn’t done the brainstorm for article ideas and pitches, which means that my subconscious can’t get to work on it while I was sleeping.
Planning is not something we do regularly enough and sometimes, that’s just what we need to perform our main tasks.
Feed and rest your brain
Brain farts happen when you’re tired. Or when you’re hungry and nutritionally depleted.
A stressed-out brain is often a distracted brain. It’s overloaded by too many thoughts in the background and foreground, made worst with tiredness.
Nutrition depletion is something we often take for granted and caused by our bad eating habits. We overload ourselves with sugar but not enough of the other good stuff like vitamins and minerals.
Sometimes, we might feel full but our brain might be starving for the right chemicals. When an imbalance occurs, your performance drops — which can lead to frustration.
When we get frustrated, our work suddenly becomes harder than it needs to be.
Sometimes, all you need a good night’s sleep and a few good and balanced meals to give your brain what it needs.
Make it your identity
When we work at a traditional job, we exchange our time for money.
Money is a modern requirement to survive and governs the way we operate on a day-to-day basis as a society. When we decide to do something that’s outside of the expected norm — like freelancing, starting your own business, or write that book in your spare time, there is no one there to micro-manage your time.
You are your own boss and you need to set an example for yourself.
You need to make turning up a part of identity — because when you are a person that turns up every day, it’s hard to go against the grain and be someone else.
Just some thoughts
Turning up can be harder on certain days than others. However, it’s not impossible.
You have as much ability to do so in same capacity as those that seem to do so without much effort.
We just dont get to see them in their bad days.
So don’t be too hard on yourself.
An inability to focus can be caused by many factors which can be mitigated by the help of a routine, finding your stride, resting, feeding your brain with the right stuff and make it a part of who you are.