1. Use sense memory to your advantage.
Ever walk into your parents house and have the scent take you right back to your childhood years? The connection between scent and memory is unbelievably strong. Next time you’re flowing on a project, light the same scented candle. The details will fade, but on a subconscious level, you’ll associate the scent with productivity.
2. Stop thinking that this one project is a defining moment in your career.
It’s easy to extrapolate the moment- imagine that what we’re doing now will define us professionally. The problem is that this causes us to freeze- to be paralyzed by the idea of judgment or failure. The truth is, no matter how big the project, it’s not the end-all-be-all of your career. Only give it the weight it deserves.
3. Start The Ben Franklin Schedule
Knowing what’s going to be gives a sense of ease and control. Structure your days in time blocks. Take a look at Benjamin Franklin’s schedule to get started:
4. Don’t hold yourself to someone else’s standard of perfect.
“A career contribution isn’t made in a single ideal moment… it is a collection of good and great moments that add up over time.” (Psychologist and author Art Markman.)
“Doing your best work” is that people have to redefine what their best means. Usually, it’s not as unrealistic standard in your mind. It’s almost always not a matter of not doing the best you can, but not doing the best you think someone else expects.
5. Eyes on the prize- focus on what it feels like when you’re done.
This one’s my favorite. If you constantly focus on the task of doing, you’ll continue feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list. Focus on what the end result feels like, and you’ll get there faster and with little stress.
6. Don’t forget to add the monotonous to your to-do list.
All it takes is scratching a few things of your list to really get things moving. Add some simple things that you normally do anyway. The act of crossing these off will get you in a flow and you’ll want to keep going.
Always schedule in things you enjoy. Taking a brief hiatus from what you’re working on can inspire that “a-ha” moment you’re looking for. Besides, your life shouldn’t be a never-ending lists of obligations.
8. Stop pushing for stability.
Our productivity is hurt by our want for comfort. We naturally want to do stuff that makes us feel within our element- and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. However, we all realize we can’t force placidity.
Don’t fight anxiety- use it.
9. Stop making excuses to deflect.
Do not believe in waiting for ideal circumstances to act. Don’t wait until you’re in a certain place- you work isn’t affected by where you are it is affected by your mindset about where you are.
When you really get into flow, it doesn’t matter where you are — you tune everything else out anyway.
10. Stop working.
The most inspired ideas come when you least expect it. Walk away from your work and clear your mind. Inspiration hits where you’d least expect it- you can’t force it. However, you should have somewhere to start looking. I suggest a file on your computer of links to your favorite essays/articles/videos. Pull from these, even just as a healthy distraction.