Sometimes I feel that I am running very fast just to stay still. I am doing a lot of work but I am not sure what difference it is making. The more I think like this, the more demotivated I become. After all, what is the point of working hard if I cannot see the benefits?
Step 1 Identify what I have been working on
To cut short my negative thinking, I need to remind myself of what I have achieved, so the first step is identifying the work I have been involved in recently.
Pick a time frame that works for you – if you don’t go back far enough you will not recognise all the things that you have been thinking about, so you will not de-clutter your brain enough. If you go back too far you will spend so much time trying to identify all the work you will not have time for the next steps – where the valuable positive thinking takes place. I usually review what I have been doing over the last couple of weeks as a week is too short to include all the places where I am spreading myself too thin but a month has too much work to sift through.
Step 2 Take pride in how much I have achieved
Having made a list, I review it for the scale/volume of tasks and achievements – just looking at the scale of the work can improve my mood because it is a quick way to realise just how productive I am.
Step 3 Find similarities
Next I try to group things together, because I want to take things to the next level and find connections and see if I can re-use similar work, or get more value from what I have already done by extending it to include a few more features, and using this enhanced version for other projects.
Step 4 Use similarities to find connections and innovate
This has proved so successful for me, that I now regularly group pieces of work together, list them and find similarities and areas where a little enhancement means they can be re-purposed for another initiative.
For example, I must give a lot of presentations which involve lots of work. I have to create a description of my presentation/webinar/speech for the organisers to use in their marketing. I need to create the presentation materials and I usually write a full article about what I am saying for sharing post-event.
By indexing every speaking engagement I have had in the last few weeks and looking ahead to all those coming up in the next few months, I can see several themes that I am speaking about. I group together all my event descriptions under 3 category headings, and the next time I need to write an event description, I have previous work that I can amend and update. I still create a unique event, but I can use previous work to jump-start my writing.
Similarly, I must create new techniques for solving resistance to change issues for my clients. I am benefiting from the indexing spreadsheet that my colleague has built, as I can quickly see what ideas I have delivered recently and use this to imagine the next techniques.
Step 5 Feeling motivated!
By sorting through everything, I am creating positive feelings and I feel great, really motivated, excited by the opportunities I have and proud of what I have achieved. If you feel you are stuck on a treadmill with no way of stopping, put an “cataloguing” hour in your diary, and build your appreciation for everything you have worked on.
We need to find ways to “tweak” and amend what we already have. We don’t have the time to commission brand new developments. We can feel proud of what we have already created, and we can feel efficient with the time we are saving.
Once again, a willingness to find something good out of something bad has re-energised me. I hope these ideas are useful for you. Have a look at previous articles in this series for more inspiration.