Well week 1 of my experiment in Deep Work has ended. I had mixed results.
The first three days of the week were fantastic. I woke up early, had my breakfast smoothie, and got right to work. Each day by lunchtime I’d accomplished more than I sometimes get done in a week.
It was amazing! Being able to consistently complete things that matter to me was surprisingly invigorating, and I found myself feeling better and having more energy in the afternoons than I had for a while.
I also, however, found my motivation slipping as the week wore on. This, combined with the fact that I slept terribly Wednesday night, meant that my shiny new schedule went out the window in the latter half of the week.
It was frustrating at first.
Why couldn’t I even stick to my goals for a single week? Yet the fact is that habits take a long time to form, and I was trying to create several new habits all at once, making my task all the more difficult. I had to accept that it was going to take some time before it truly stuck.
Rather than beating myself up, throwing my hands in the air and giving up, I’m choosing to be patient with myself. Every day is an opportunity to start fresh, to wipe the slate clean and begin anew.
That’s such an encouraging thought for us all.
No matter what you’re going through, no matter how bad today was, every morning can be a new beginning, if you let it.
You’re never stuck in your old patterns – you can always start again.
The challenge with new beginnings is making sure to do something differently with them. As the old adage goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
How can we achieve success when we’ve met with failure so often in the past?
I believe the answer is simple: don’t rely on your willpower.
The key to my experiment in deep work succeeding – indeed, the key to most goals succeeding – is to set up processes that force me to adhere to the schedule I’ve set for myself. Systems that allow me to comply naturally, almost without thinking, rather than having to force myself to do it every single day.
I’ve tried plowing through on sheer force of will many times, and it never works for very long. I simply don’t have that much willpower. This time I’ve decided to try something new.
Tune in on Thursday to find out some of the tools I’ve chosen to implement in this experiment of mine. And if you have any tips for how you stay focused, please let me know in the comments!