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I logged onto Facebook the other day to update some things on the Mustard Seed Money page. Shameless plug: if you haven’t “liked” the page yet, head on over. I post interesting outside content, as well as my favorite blogposts over this past year.
Did you do it?
Thank you if you did! It wasn’t all that hard, was it?
So, back to the story.
My Old Friend
On my Facebook newsfeed popped up a post from a friend that I grew up with. I’ve basically known him all my life. I met him when we were five years old, and we went to school together through college.
We both graduated and got traditional jobs. However over the years, he became restless with sitting behind the desk and decided to let his entrepreneurial spirit take over. He’s delved into a couple of different ventures along the way, including music producer, fitness instructor, and now nutrition coach.
From the outside, it seems like a pretty winding path. But it’s been fascinating to observe at a distance.
In many ways, I admire that he’s carving out his own niche. As many of us know, Facebook and other social media sites allow us to portray the image of ourselves that we want the world to see. From my own optic, it appears that he is pursuing his dream every single day, and I fully support him.
Don’t Stop, Don’t Quit
My friend’s favorite hashtag on Facebook, “#DontStopDontQuit”, appears on almost everything he posts. As a spinning instructor, he constantly encourages his students that their body is stronger than their mind may think.
To go along with that sentiment, one of my coworkers has sign above his door that says, “Don’t worry, you’ll pass out before you die.” It always makes me chuckle and is a great reminder that I still have more to give every single day that I am alive.
This is one of the main reasons that I decided to join a bootcamp at the start of the year. I knew that I couldn’t reasonably push myself to get the results at home that I wanted. I use to do P90X, and its founder, Tony Horton, is known for the phrase, “Just push play everyday”, as in pushing play to start the DVD is sometimes the hardest part.
Just Push Play
When I had a really horrible boss, I use to tell myself in the morning when I didn’t want to get out of bed, “Just push play.” I’d remind myself to get through the day and then be that much closer to a better future job.
That self-talk really helped me stay positive and focused on my end goal, which was/is FIRE.
For the past year, I have been grinding away on this blog. I’ve only missed a couple of days, when I was super sick in March and could barely keep my eyes open. But other than that, I have been working hard trying to provide three interesting weekly posts.
Admittedly, there were plenty of times when I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to come up with something interesting that would pass my toughest critic, my editor-in-chief, Mrs. MSM. But inevitably, something permissible would spring up in my head to share that she approved of.
Editor’s Note: I like to push Rob to keep upping his game. As a reader myself, I want to come away thinking that an article was worth the time I spent reading it. So if it doesn’t hit that litmus test, then I believe there is need for some improvement.
Advice from Jerry Seinfeld
Recently, I stumbled upon this article from in an interview on Lifehacker with Brad Isaac, who shared some productivity advice he received from Jerry Seinfeld backstage when he asked if Seinfeld had “any tips for a young comic”. Below are some excerpts from that interview.
He [Jerry Seinfeld] said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day.
“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”
“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.
It works because it isn’t the one-shot pushes that get us where we want to go, it is the consistent daily action that builds extraordinary outcomes. You may have heard “inch by inch anything’s a cinch.”
Daily action builds habits. It gives you practice and will make you an expert in a short time. If you don’t break the chain, you’ll start to spot opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t. Small improvements accumulate into large improvements rapidly because daily action provides “compounding interest.”
So how can you start your chain and end procrastination?
Here are five things that I do to start and add to my chain.
Take the first step.
“Doesn’t matter if you can dream it or not, all that matters is if you can begin it or not? Take that first step.” ― CA Vikram Verma, author
I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve dreaded starting a task. I would doubt my ability until I finally took the first step and realized it was much more doable than I anticipated. Oftentimes, I’ve found taking the first step is the hardest part.
Break up your work into 15 minute blocks.
“You cannot run at full throttle when applying your mindset to all of the different things running through your head. Focusing is the key to manifesting your desires.” ― Stephen Richards, author
You know the old adage, “how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” In the same manner, break down your work into easily digestible pieces so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of work that you have to do.
“The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet
Create an incentive for yourself once you finish a task. Taking short breaks improves your productivity and enables you to stay focused. Plus, all work and no play makes for a dull day.
Think about what you’d rather be doing.
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” ― Michael Jordan, retired MBA player
I use to procrastinate and complain about the tasks ahead of me. Instead, I could have completed the task and moved onto something I’d rather do. Time is valuable. Why spend it complaining when you get spend it doing what you love?
“Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished.” ― Neil Gaiman, author
As much as you dread a task, completing it well is the best feeling. Nothing beats that sense of relief. It feels like all the tension that I held in my neck and shoulders has finally been released with that weight lifted off my shoulders.