Photo by mulmatsherm
Most of us have a job that we continue to go to daily. I am assuming that at a job most of us get some sort of work done. The amount of work that we get done varies greatly, but the main point is that each of us achieves something at our job. By being at a job you can be quite productive, and in some cases more productive than when we are at home. No matter how much you dislike what you have to do at your job you are productive to some degree. This is due to being accountable for the amount of work that you produce.
Difference of work and home
When you are at home you are able to do whatever you want. You can watch TV as much as you wish or just sit in front of the computer until bed. In most cases there is no one looking over your shoulder finding out if you are doing something productive. You might have a spouse or roommate that does this, but let’s assume you aren’t being watched all the time you are home. You have the freedom to do what you want, and most of us abuse this freedom. I know that I will do what my boss wants while I am at work, but at home I will find it harder to motivate myself to do something. I am often unmotivated at work, but I am still responsible for the work I produce. No matter how much I rather not work, I still have to. This can work for all those projects that you should do but you really don’t want to. You have the fear of losing your job or not getting a raise at work if you are unproductive. At home you rarely have fears if you are unproductive. You might not make extra money because you never start the online business you always wanted, but you aren’t scared to lose that money that you haven’t had. No one is going to come to your house and fire you because you are sitting on the couch doing nothing. Here are a few steps that will make you accountable for the work you do at home.
1. Risk losing something.
At the job you risk losing your income if you don’t do anything, so make it a risk at home to be unproductive. This could be as simple as money or as big as your television. Find a friend and give them some amount of money that you would be uncomfortable losing, I would suggest as much as $100 dollars. Tell them that they can keep that money if you do not achieve some specific goal. This has to be a very detailed goal so that you and your friend know exactly if you succeed or not. Do not be vague such as “lose weight”, instead you want something measurable such as “lose 15 pounds in three months” or “run a mile every three days”. You don’t need to have a friend hold the money for you though, but you have to trust yourself to give the money away if you fail. You could decide to give the money to a charity if you do not achieve your goal, or something else. Perhaps you don’t have the money to do this with, but you do have a lot of items. You can give an item to a friend instead, but this item has to be of value for you. If you find yourself putting off things to watch TV then agree to give a friend your TV or donate it. This way if you do not do what you said, then you have no future distraction. This wouldn’t work well with something that you do not care much about, such as a light that you never use or an extra computer that you needed to get rid of. There has to be a risk in it for you.
2. Tell people about it
None of us like to be embarrassed by failing at something. If you tell all your friends that you are going to run a marathon then you will feel embarrassed if you don’t do it. If you just keep the goal to yourself then you will not feel pressure to succeed. I know that I was hesitating to tell people that I was beginning a raw diet because I didn’t know if I would be able to become fully raw. I would be reminded of my failure if anyone was to ask how I was doing at raw when I had failed at it. Once I started telling people that I was going to be fully raw I felt that I was committing to it far more than I did by myself. The harder the goal then the more public it should be. You might find it easier to stop a goal if you only told your friends, but it is harder when complete strangers know of you quitting too. Put up a sign on your car of your new goal. Make it a signature on all your emails. Tell everyone about your new goal. Go big. Make a shirt that has your goal on it, such as Café Press allows you to customize your own shirts. Use the goal itself, “I will lose 5 pounds, please encourage me” or something bigger “If I am not running right now, kick me” Put on that shirt often so that you can remember your commitment. Find other creative ways to make yourself follow through.
3. Devote time for your goal
This is pretty basic, but many people never make time for their goal. They just assume that time will find them. They will get around to that exercise schedule sometime. They will make a plan when they have more time. Work doesn’t allow you to only do something when you find the time. You have to show up each day and do something. It doesn’t matter if you want to go or not. You still have to go. Your goals should be like this. Set a time to do something productive. I suggest early morning so that you can get it out of the way and enjoy the rest of the day without the stress. Wake up early and do your goal for the allotted amount of time. Do the work that you need and get done. If you finish early, then you can clock out early. No more excuses, make time now.
4. Pretend someone is watching
Most likely you have a boss of some sort. This boss will review the work that you have produced. They often check to see if you are being productive. This works because you know that someone will be checking up on you, so you do your work. Apply the same idea at home by having a friend check up on you. They don’t need to come over every hour, but instead have a friend call you at the end of your scheduled time (see tip #3) and check how you did. You should have something to report in terms of progress. You can also track your own progress. I know that I will work harder if I think someone will actually check up on me. The same applied to school; you are working because you know the teacher will want to see results on a test.
5. Set deadlines and hold yourself to them
If we can something done anytime then we don’t feel the pressure. We will take our time, which means never doing it. We don’t have to get something done soon, then we are less likely to try to get it done. Think back to school when you would only do the project the day before you had to turn it in. You might have had four months available to do it, but you didn’t start it until the last minute. A job gives you deadlines to complete work, so you should do the same idea at home. If you want to lose weight, then make sure you lose something in a month. You want to train for a marathon then sign up for one. You have to be ready by that day. Sticking to the deadlines are harder. Try to associate some type of risk with missing your deadline (See tip #1).
Once you have finally finished your project then reward yourself with something. The end result could be a reward enough though, such as being fitter or happier. If it was something that you need more of a reward to complete, then treat yourself to something. This is the reason you work, because of the reward of a paycheck. It seems to be a pretty big stimulator to go to work for 40 hours a work, so some reward will work for you. Maybe you can’t find the motivation to start a new business. Think of the extra money you will have and plan a trip with that extra money. Think of something that will motivate you to complete your task.
If you are able to be productive at your job, then you can be productive with your own time. Think of reasons for this productivity and try to apply it to other times. You might hate working, but there are reasons you keep doing it every day. Hopefully you will enjoy your goals a lot more than you enjoy your work. Unless you are one of the lucky few that enjoys their work. If so, can you apply that love of work to some other task?