Fear of failure, fear of self-sabotage, fear of so much success that I lose my freedom. And I’ve come to learn that when this fear builds, it creates guilt and overwhelming pressure; these two things can sometimes lead to me completely shutting down.
As I started putting a name to this strange and unnerving cluster of feelings, I became more focused on studying self-sabotage and procrastination, to try and unravel which changes I needed to make to stomp on these things holding me back from my ultimate best.
The answer just hit me one night… the thing that felt it limited me the most of all is time. I think a lot of entrepreneurs can agree that there never seems to be enough time in the day. It can often feel like your worst enemy.
So, what did I decide to do? I took power away from the clocks in my home by not looking at them.
Yup. I started to avoid looking at every clock I own. It may seem strange, but by avoiding looking at clocks during my workday, I found a newly renewed sense of productivity and focus.
Here’s how my habit of not looking at clocks worked so well for me:
It eliminates my worst excuse, as well as my biggest demotivation.
I could look at the time, and I would either see a crippling reason to shut down or validation for bad behaviour. It would look a little bit like this, “Oh, it’s only/already X AM/PM. That means I have tons of time/no time until X.” If it was “only” 10AM, I had plenty of time to watch another episode on Netflix (which would obviously become more than just one). Or it would be, it’s “already” 8PM. I have no time to sit down and finish this one thing on my to-do list, because it will probably take a few hours…
Time honestly started to feel like that whole angel and devil idea on my shoulders… but they were both devils. And they were sabotaging my ability to get shit done.
A huge weight was immediately lifted off my shoulders.
I go to see an osteopath every month. I also take other measures to reduce what feels like a constant strain in my shoulders, ever since I started my business.
One night, I decided, “You know what? I’m going to stop looking at clocks. I’m just going to keep my feet moving and get things done.” The moment I decided to do so, I relaxed instantly. The pressure which released from my shoulders was better than any visit to the osteopath… I knew I was onto something that was going to work really well for me.
It simulates the early months of my business when I was most passionate.
Back then, it didn’t matter what time it was. When I’d first started my business, I was so excited by it that I wanted to do it all the time. I woke up excited to work. I thought I had the best life ever, and my work was the coolest thing I could be doing with my time. I never paid attention to the hour… because I just absolutely loved my work.
As the dust settled and some of the honeymoon phase wore off, trying to attain a work-life balance became more and more difficult. Work wasn’t funnest thing of my day anymore. I craved rest more and more. I found myself worrying far more often. I felt more stressed, and less happy. When I’m not paying attention to the time, I spend less of my day worrying about how much time I have left in a day, and more time just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other.
It makes me prioritize myself (finally).
This will sound familiar. My alarm would go off, I’d hit snooze (a few times). “Oh, it’s only 7:45. I have plenty of time before I should get up to work out.” Go back to sleep… next thing I know, it’s 10:30AM. Dammit… better get to work. I guess no workout today. Imagine this rolling out, but with every self-practice that’s good for me but takes a little bit of discipline… ugh.
Without being scared into a complete lack of action, I just move forward. I do love to continue moving. So as long as I’m doing something, it will lead to another something. Productivity at its finest!
I rely on the practice of one action naturally leading to another.
The reality of not knowing the time won’t let me mess around. It gets me moving, without letting the hour of the day be my excuse to procrastinate.
I’m trying to get into a natural rhythm of letting my actions being what dictates what happens next—not the hour of the day. This takes off the stress of wondering if I have enough time to put myself first, or even get as much done as I have planned. I just get on with it—and the time I would have spent worrying about whether I had enough time to complete my tasks gets put towards real, measurable action.
In order to facilitate this habit in a practical way, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to keep It effective. For example, I turned my digital clock in my bedroom around so it faces the wall. I also set up alarms on my cellphone and laptop to ensure I don’t miss any commitments or meetings.
Do you have a weird habit that helps keep you productive? If so, comment below to share what it is and how it works for you!
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