Humans are good at excuses.
Especially teenage humans. I work with *counts on fingers* fifteen of them at the moment.
If personal responsibility was a diamond glittering at the side of the road, they’d cover it with palm fronds and hurry on before anyone could ask them about it.
A series of excuses or…just life?
For me, work lends itself to plenty of excuses. There’s meetings and airport runs and documentation. Shopping. Remembering to cook food for myself. Laundry. More work.
Then there are all the extra things: picking up a shift for a sick coworker. Going to a neighbor’s house with a friend to process. Getting a fever and needing to take a test to ensure I don’t have covid. Trying to find a 4-wheeler.
Life is hard. When we aren’t doing things, we’re planning for them. Or, maybe, we’re relaxing and when we glance up from that book or our phone it’s three hours later and time to make another meal.
And sometimes we ask ourselves…
How can we actually get the things done that we want to get done?
It’s simple. Not easy, perhaps, but simple.
You take control of your life. And you do it in three steps.
If you don’t know what you want or where you are going, you’re not going to get there. Revolutionary, I know. But there you have it.
I want to write the very best I can. To do that, I want more coaching. To earn money for coaching, I offer coaching of a different kind myself.
I know what I want and I know the steps to reach it.
I’ve written out my priorities in regards to writing, studying, and teaching, but different aspects rank higher or lower on any given day.
When I redesigned my website, I sat down for a week and just worked on that. During NaNo (at least some years) I abandon marketing and just write.
Knowing your priorities ensures you are working at what actually matters.
Your priorities will shift with time, but knowing them gives you a focal point to take the things that are important and get them done.
How many times have we heard or said or thought ‘I just don’t feel like doing that right now?’
Well, guess what?
It doesn’t matter.
Shut up and take control of your life.
Emotions come and go. Sometimes we love chasing our priorities. Sometimes we’d rather do anything else. If you let your emotions drive productivity, then you will have very little control over what you accomplish.
Priorities are things we work on whether we feel like it or not. There are exceptions, of course. Sometimes we simply need a break. Sometimes dropping a day’s worth of writing and going to see a friend who needs help is the right choice.
But we don’t decide to spend all day in bed watching a whole TV show because we just don’t feel like getting up and working.
Motivation is a choice
You choose what you do.
That’s the whole point of having priorities. You’re placing aspects of life at various levels of importance so that, when you don’t feel motivated, you can look at your priorities, remember your reasons for placing them, and tackle them anyway.
It’s allowing a deep desire for a long-term goal to burn steadier and stronger than the quick longing of short-term satisfaction.
Exercising your own will despite your emotions is hard. But if you want to get things done, and if you want control of your life and be productive, then you’ve got to take control. Which means you choose where you are going and what you are doing.
You have priorities. You may or may not have motivation. Guess what?
It’s time to get moving.
You don’t have to have every single thing figured out. If you wait for that, you’re not going anywhere.
Shut up and do it
I don’t care how good your intentions are or how sound your priorities are. If you don’t actually move, then it’s all worthless.
Taking control of your life and getting things done means you take control of your life and get things done. It doesn’t mean you never take a break. It doesn’t mean you can’t choose to reschedule one priority and let another one take over for an afternoon.
It does mean that these things are conscious choices.
What are you waiting for?
Get up and get moving. Take control of your life.
No, it’s not easy, but then again—since when has life been easy? That’s not the point.
It’s up to you to be productive with your life or leave it to flutter in whatever wind blows.
I highly recommend you do something with it because the wind will change.
So decide what you want. Make up your mind to do it.
Then shut up. And go do it.
Original post published May 2019.