Have you ever wondered why do you always abandon halfway your to-do lists? Have you asked yourself why the idea of completing all those tasks seems like a huge boulder that smashes you in thousands of pieces?
I am not saying I know why, nor that I have all the right answers, but I found a mindset that helps me to keep my life on track: “Agile”.
I know, I know… Agile can’t solve everything, but it guides you with really helpful mind tricks that might transform your “eternal hibernation” into something very productive with minimum effort.
Just to reiterate what I said in my previous article: start small. When you want to learn a new thing, you are not going to spend your free time researching, learning, breaking up your routines and losing sleep at night because you want to reach that goal.
If you want to start learning a new language or a new instrument, be honest with yourself and start asking the right questions: Do I have the time? Does this activity fit my routine?
In other words, be realistic! If you don’t have a lot of time but you still want to go with it, see if you can incorporate this activity to your day-to-day. Example: I wanted to refresh my French after years of complete abandon. I started using the Duolingo app 20 minutes per day while preparing dinner or before going to bed, and it worked! This is because I know that it’s not a lot of effort and I am ok in investing as little time as possible without having a big impact on my day. Aren’t we all 9–5 employees that just want to vegetate when they get home from work?
To fight laziness my mantra is “course-correction”. If you start a diet and you don’t lose weight even though you starved yourself for days, don’t quit! Try different combinations until you find the one that suits you. One day you will learn something that will make your brain and routine click, so that what seemed difficult at the beginning, it’s now easier than ever!
We always expect to get things right the first time. But this is just an illusion that vanishes as soon as you become an adult and realize that you live in a real world. Imagine preparing a cake for the first time. Your first attempt might take some time and the result might not be what you expected, but as soon as you realize what are the ingredients and how they need to be mixed, “voilà, les jeux sont faits” with less and less stress than you have envisioned at the beginning.
Break the objective in smaller chunks
You can’t have the big picture if you don’t have any idea on how to get there. A goal is like a big puzzle with a hundred pieces. In the beginning, you think that you will never finish it, but as soon as you start putting the first pieces together, it becomes easier and easier to figure out which path you need to take, and the journey feels like a walk in the park.
Have a sustainable pace/rhythm
Who says that we need to revolutionize our life and become workaholic to achieve what we want or learn new things?
A sustainable pace is what you need if you want to have additional hobbies or interests for a very long time. Create a habit and stick with it. The cadence will help you to simplify the task and make it more pleasant. If you like reading online but you don’t want to put too much effort on it, schedule a time in your day when you know that nobody will come looking for you and you have the peace you need to relax and enjoy the moment. It could be very early in the morning or very late in the evening. This routine will be a wonderful treat when you have a bad day and you need to escape.
Reality not Perfection
Be aware of your limits. If your daily job is already taking most of your energy and you want to spend your free time to stay with your family, don’t add more stress to your life. Take it easy and focus on the reality: What makes you feel satisfied? Being realistic is much more productive than being a perfectionist and not accomplishing anything at all.
Outcomes not outputs
Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you don’t see any output in a very short period, focus on how learning new things made you feel. In the end, if you don’t enjoy the journey, is it worth the investment?