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comment by rezzeJ
rezzeJ  ·  272 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 21, 2018

It's easy to feel compelled to do work when there's an external force binding you to it (even if your reluctant). However, finding that drive becomes harder when the only person you're responsible to is yourself, even for the things your passionate about.

I was in a somewhat similar position to you. I finished with academia and found that, even though I loved music and had spent years studying it, I could never convince myself to do the work. I would just waste my free time in the usual ways.

What worked for me is a slow but steady commitment to building self discipline. So at first I committed to doing just 10 minutes a day. Then once that became easy, I raised it to 30 minutes, then to an hour, and so on. Gradually, the urge to work became habituated. Hard work is still hard, of course, but the act of dedicating time to it became a natural feeling. This process is made easier if you have a schedule.

I started this whole process around July 2016. In January of this year, I tracked 91 hours of my free time that were put towards productive pursuits.

You can't just wait for true inspiration, motivation, or whatever name you wish to give to it. It does not inherently exist at a base level. If you think of it coming and going as it pleases, you will sink into apathy and inaction. It is born from the work you do on a daily basis and is perpetuated through dedication to your goals.

FirebrandRoaring  ·  269 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hey, I took my time before reading what you said. I'm glad I did: after what kb and veen said, this sunk in better.

First of all, I'm so glad that you found what works for you. I'm always happy to hear that other people make good of their time on this planet. It's inspiring, too. I hope you keep sharing your progress: it helps people like me feel better about my chances.

I have a question, though. Have you ever felt, after you first, second or N-th 10 minutes were up, that you could just do more? If you did, did it feel, next day, like you can't mount that mountain anymore because you're not up for X times more than what you've initially set for yourself?

That's what always gets me with things like this: I come by a decent measured progress schedule, stick to it for a while (the most I've managed was three weeks, after which the mountain failure feeling set in) and fail when the next obstacle seems insurmountable, even though I've managed so far.

Or, do you ever feel overwhelmed by the responsibility or the perceived pressure of "having to" do something to continue the chain of habitual action?

rezzeJ  ·  266 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I probably did a bit of a disservice by focusing so heavily on time. Simply committing to putting in the hours is a good motivator when you're looking to get the ball rolling, but it shouldn't be used as a singular measure of success.

I've had plenty of days in which I've barely done half of my 'quota'. That could be seen as a failure when looked at in isolation. But when widening my perspective and considering what I've actually achieved, I'm generally satisfied. And really, it's only when you're not satisfied with what you're achieving that you need to question whether you're trying hard enough.

It goes back to what kb and veen said, in that you need to recognise your victories and successes as well. If don't, you'll risk focusing on the wrong things and burning out.

I like what Leonard Cohen said:

    [Writing] begins with an appetite to discover my self-respect. To redeem the day. So the day does not go down in debt. It begins with that kind of appetite.

That's what I think about. Have I achieved something today? Have I redeemed it from being wasted? If I have, great! Keep grinding. If I haven't, what can be done to change that?

Putting in more time is the usually the answer to that question. And that action will be accompanied by victories to recognise.