Working hard is hard, but there are techniques you can use to make hard work easier
Most people understand that they must work hard and make the necessary effort to achieve high levels of success. People who have had exceptional results have done so by overworking everyone around them. We understand the relationship between effort and results and we know that we have to make an effort to achieve something meaningful.
But working hard is hard. Very few people have the discipline to exert intense effort day after day and year after year. Most people have a desire to work hard, but lack the spark to get them up and running or the tools to stay motivated. Even when they try to work hard, they become distracted, let their minds wander, and have ineffective hours of work or practice. And when that happens, skill development suffers and they never fulfill their potential.
But the good news is that anyone can develop the ability to work hard, and once you’ve learned how, the feeling of working hard can be rewarding and deeply gratifying. If you want to make hard work a habit or something that becomes part of your personality, here are three techniques that can help you:
1. Focus on the process:
Ian Fleming, writer and creator of the iconic James Bond character, had a vivid imagination and the ability to draw from years of experience as an officer in the British Naval Intelligence Service. But he knew that writing a 300-page book would take hard work. Imagination and experience alone would not be enough. Fleming needed a process that would enable him to bring his stories to life. He created a simple one, devoting three hours to writing in the morning and one hour in the evening. That’s it
During those hours he wrote everything that came to mind, whether it flowed well or not. While he was writing, he never went back to review his words, correct a mistake, or confirm a fact. There was time for that later. He just focused on his trial, which wrote for four hours and ended up putting down his work. This simple process earned him 2,000 words a day and in six weeks a new James Bond novel was born.
Every out of the ordinary has a routine created and followed, and you must do the same. Your process could be time based (like with Fleming). Or it could be activity-based – doing a series of specific activities each day. You could even take a milestone-based approach: work on a task until you can achieve something in particular. It could be anything that works for you. But without an ongoing and repeatable technique that keeps you moving, you won’t achieve your goals.
Set yourself a daily goal for what you want to achieve each day and stick to it – no zero days or days when you do nothing for your goal. When I write my books I usually have a milestone-based process where I write 1,000 words a day. That is my daily goal, and I know if I keep doing this my manuscript will be complete before I know it.
2. Use a commitment device
Now that we understand the need to establish a process, we must also realize that settling into a routine is a challenge for most people and requires a lot of discipline. So they give up. It’s hard to stay motivated and persistent, especially when you don’t see any visible progress. One way to stay true to your process is to use a tool called a “commitment device”. A commitment device is a tool that removes temptation and sometimes penalizes you in some way for not doing what you know you should.
When I need to focus on my research and writing, I move my phone to another room. This way I can concentrate on my work. When my mind starts to wander and I absently reach for it and realize that it is not there, I remember that I put it down for a reason. Moving my phone to another room is a commitment tool.
Cutting up your credit card is a commitment tool that prevents you from spending money unnecessarily. Or you can decide to donate $ 20 to a charity or household fund if you don’t do your activity for two hours a day. Handing over the money is one way to keep you motivated.
A common and helpful engagement tool is working with a partner, colleague or coach. You can’t take a day off knowing someone else is waiting for you. There are tons of commitment devices that you can set up yourself. You have to choose one to make your daily process a habit and it is this adherence to your simple routine that will help you put in the efforts it takes to reach incredible heights.
3. Make yourself comfortable if you feel uncomfortable
As humans, we function at our optimal level when we have a moderate level of anxiety or are a little outside of our comfort zone. If we stay in our comfort zone, we don’t push ourselves and therefore don’t achieve much. Conversely, in situations where we are too far out of our comfort zone, we become unproductive because abnormally high levels of anxiety cause stress that can affect our performance.
To seek growth, we must learn to push ourselves to work comfortably outside of our comfort zone.
You can operate better from your comfort zone, just as you can get better at anything else: with practice. Practice pushing yourself by planning longer and more focused lessons, learning new skills, and being conscious of your improvement efforts.
One way to practice being outside of your comfort zone is to learn a new skill, or do something you’ve never done before, and do it until you are comfortable with it. The journey from beginner to advanced, even with small activities, gives you the feeling of pushing yourself and moving from adversity to comfort. As you learn new skills, you become more comfortable with discomfort. This sensation is transferable and will help you get better in any area you want to improve.
The three techniques outlined above can increase your volume of work, which is critical to skill building and personal growth. You still have to work hard, but these tools take away the pain associated with hard work and allow you to schedule more productive hours that will get you closer to the results you want. Try them; They work.