Martin Rue

I build things on the internet.

Get Into Motion

A casual perusal of the questionable corners of the internet where productivity advice lurks reveals all kinds of curious productivity hacks.

If you're lucky enough to have never frequented such aforementioned internet urinals, let me give you an idea of what would await you:

It's as if someone made any kind of context illegal.

So, to chime in, here's my 2¢ on the subject of consistent productivity.

1. You have to want it.

2. You have to find a way to keep doing it.

The first part is easier. Just ask yourself honestly and you'll have a good idea.

If you really want to work on this idea, you'll feel excitement, you won't struggle too much to put time into it as it'll be fun and the sort of challenge that gets you out of bed.

If you don't want it however, someone else will, and they will be able to keep going for longer than you. Their drive and passion will outshine yours, and they'll do better work. So pick your battles. Don't just work on anything, as it doesn't work. Put time into something that has meaning for you, something that gets you out of bed.

If you don't know what that is yet, turn your “taking on new things” dial up to 11 and do a bunch more stuff. You'll at least increase the chance that you find your calling by widening your search area.

The second part is harder.

To keep doing something over time demands that you keep pushing yourself, especially when the initial motivation has worn off.

A trick I use is to just do something! Anything that's even loosely connected to the project or goal. The smaller the first step the better. The goal is to get into motion.

Staying in the game when you have a long-term goal is hard. In addition to the peaks that thrust you out of bed each morning with fire and focus, you'll also experience plenty of troughs. In the troughs you won't feel that same level of motivation. It's way too easy to procrastinate or distract yourself in those moments, convincing yourself you need to rest, or do something else first, etc.

Side note: rest is super important. Make sure you are resting regularly. Without rest even the simplest things are impossible.

The reason that getting into motion works for me is that motion itself is the thing that changes my mindset. It doesn't matter whether it's something minor or unimportant that I do, so long as it gets me moving.

Once I've got myself up, opened the laptop, pushed an inconsequential bug fix, I'm now moving. I've done something! And damn, I did it despite not feeling motivated. Good on me. Guess what? I now feel a bit more motivated, and I'm much more inclined to lean into that and keep going.

The act of giving yourself something very simple and easy to do is to trick yourself. You know it's a trick, but it's also temptingly simple and easy, and often that's all you need.

This idea of getting into motion works for all sorts of things. For the past 7 days I've burned +1,030 extra, active kcals each day. There wasn't a single day I planned to do that. On some days I decided to go for a 15-min cycle, or a short walk. I knew what would most likely happen. I just needed to get into motion first and then remind myself why I wanted it.

And that's it. No buying a new chair, or following 10 steps. Putting out good work consistently is hard, period. In those moments where you're stationary and unmotivated, do anything you can do get into motion. It doesn't matter however seemingly insignificant it is.

Microdose progress and remind yourself what a tiny dose feels like. More often than not, that's all you need to become much more willing to switch gear and go for a bigger hit.