How to get anything done. Literally, anything.
Do you ever struggle to finish projects? assignments? executing ideas? Yes, me too! well, sometimes. I’m going to share with you in this very short article how I manage to get stuff done, my ultimate secret!!!
As a designer, I usually have so many projects going on, from client work to personal projects and in my other life as a teacher; lessons to plan and assignments to evaluate. In the midst of all this it sometimes becomes difficult to stay motivated, energized and finish everything on time.
Here is the simple trick I use to progress; the carrot, stick and donkey. I’m sure you already have an idea of what I’m going to say next. Let’s break it down shall we:
Donkey — That’s you! You’re the individual working towards a goal, the one in need of motivation.
Carrot — These are your desires, your hobbies, your distractions…or even your wife or husband. You might be confused right now, good, it’s going to make sense soon.
Stick — Self Discipline.
This is how it works; we all have things we love; our desires, hobbies or even people. For me, these are things like watching Soccer, Anime, chatting on WhatsApp, watching videos on YouTube, hanging out with friends etc the list is almost endless and I’ve realized that from time to time while working on projects, these distractions come into play and further delay the completion of these projects. These are the things that make up the “carrot” because honestly, we can’t live without them, they bring joy & relaxation into our lives.
So how do I get motivated to work towards accomplishing my goals for the day? Simple, I reward myself with a “carrot” after every goal accomplished!
By doing this, I manage to get rid of the “carrot” during my creative process because I know that I’ll always get my “carrot” once I accomplish my goal. That’s the “stick”, an act of self discipline. No soccer unless I finish the logo design for my client, no going out unless I finish marking all assignments. It sounds a bit harsh but once you try it once, that feeling of satisfaction when you reward yourself with a nice cold beer after a long day of pixel pushing is unmatched.
Rewarding yourself with the “carrot” ensures that you get to work hard towards important goals while maintaining discipline and at the end of the journey you don’t only get to enjoy your “carrots” but you also get “everything done.”
To make it more interesting, you could alter it & make it more fun; the bigger the goal, the bigger the “carrot.” When I manage to accomplish huge projects I reward myself with even bigger rewards. At one point, after all my students had passed their Diploma exams, which was my intended goal, I treated myself to a self-date, went to a fancy restaurant and had my favorite “strega pizza”…yea, who orders pizza at a fancy restaurant, right?…anyway, the point is, rewarding yourself with a bigger carrot gives you more motivation to move on to the next goal. And the cycle repeats.
After all, you know your “carrots”, instead of seeing them as unwanted and toxic things, use them as rewards for motivation.
Disclaimer: While at it, don’t get consumed by the “carrot” to the extent that you forget the reason “why” you’re doing whatever you’ll be doing. Stay true to the mission and purpose.
After posting this article I’m going to have my favorite Zambezi lager and I’ll have to finish a logo design project for a client soon after otherwise I won’t be able to watch an episode of Nanatsu no taizai tonight! Tell me, whats your “carrot?”