When I first made the decision to start a career in freelancing, I was a mess. I’d go to bed every night full of excitement and plans for the next day. I was going to change the world. I had to-do lists that were miles long, and tomorrow, bright and early, would be the day I’d start to tackle them and really make a business for myself.
But then the next day would come, and I’d inevitably find myself frustrated. Looking at the clock ticking towards noon yet again, and wondering where the morning went and why I had so little to show for it. Desire wasn’t the issue. I had plenty of desire to do great things with my life. The problem was that I simply couldn’t seem to follow through on my big plans.
Perhaps you can relate. Over the course of my life, I’ve met boatloads of people who have expressed similar sentiments; things like “there’s not enough time in the day,” “I wish I could be a morning person,” and “it takes me forever to get going in the morning!”
It’s easy to feel stuck in a rut because there’s so much in your life that you’d like to change that you don’t know where to start. You mean well, but it’s just so overwhelming. And so the days of stagnation increase in a never-ending pile. That was me. I had plans to start every morning with some journaling, a healthy smoothie, and a workout. I’d follow that up with hours of time well-spent on writing, interviews, and business R&D.
As a freelancer, I was the boss of my own schedule. Sounds wonderful, right? One problem – if you don’t have anyone to enforce your schedule, it’s often much harder to stick to it. When I first started this career, I was so unfocused. I would spend my mornings getting started late, then getting distracted throughout then morning, and then forcing out some mediocre work during the afternoon, my least productive part of the day.
I knew if I wanted to get more done, I needed to get going earlier in the morning. I had always prided myself on being a morning person, but in the last few years something had shifted. It now took a monumental act of will to get me out of bed in the morning.
One evening, before I went to bed, I decided to try a very simple experiment. I moved my phone (AKA my alarm clock) from its usual spot beside my bed to my desk across the room. I wanted to force myself to get out of bed to turn the alarm off, rather than just hitting snooze and rolling back over.
The result was astonishing.
I saw an uptick in my productivity almost immediately. I felt proud of myself and accomplished before I had even done anything. This served to consistently spur me on to more action. Since I had so much more time in the morning than I was accustomed to, I went ahead and started working in regular exercise into my schedule.
After my workout, fully immersed in the “I-am-woman-hear-me-roar” endorphin high of actually getting through a full workout, I found that I could easily conquer the unpleasant activities I’d been putting off for months. If I was fresh out of unpleasant activities, I could knock out a killer article in next to no time at all because I was just so focused. I no longer felt an obsessive need to check my email or link-trail across the internet.
I am not trying to oversimplify things. If you want to take your life down a different track than the one it’s currently on, you’re going to have to put in the work. Sometimes, though, that work isn’t as daunting as it feels. Failure often begets failure; but the reverse is also true. Success begets success. If you start your day off with success, you will find that successes will follow you throughout your day.
Getting out of bed is one of the simplest things you can do all day. You may be intimidated by all the changes you want to achieve in your life. But surely you can just move your alarm clock! Try it and prepare to be amazed by the changes that follow.
Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com