Think It, Do It
Even with the best of daily blogging intentions, even on a long holiday weekend, it appears I couldn’t keep my re-start streak going for three straight days.
But, at least, it appears I’m not alone. In one of his earlier books, productivity guru Mark Forster relates this exercise:
All you have to do is pick one task which you are going to do the next day without fail, and then do it. If you succeed at that task, then you pick another different task for the following day and make it just a little bit more difficult.
And so you continue one day at a time, picking one task which you will do each day – each day a little bit more difficult. Once you are confident that you can carry out any task no matter how difficult without fail, you then repeat the process with two tasks.
It doesn’t matter whether the tasks are meaningful or completely nonsensical. The idea is to do them for no other reason than because you have decided to do them.”
As easy as it gets. Yet, as Forster points out in his later Do It Tomorrow, that simple game “has in fact proved too difficult for just about everyone who has tried it.”
Clearly, I wouldn’t fare particularly well on Forster’s exercise either. But I do increasingly believe that mastering it, achieving that sort of conscious self-control, is at the heart of productivity, and most other life successes.
So, perhaps, that simple exercise is worth working on. Perhaps it’s less about will, and more about skill. Perhaps practice makes perfect, and self-control can actually be learned.
Or maybe not. Either way, I think it might be worth the effort to find out.