Willpower: The Creator's Greatest Strength
I just read a book on Willpower and I wanted to write something about it, perhaps that can help anyone one day. I will not copy paste what's in the book, by the way you can ask me in the comments if you are interested in purchasing the book, I will try to resume what I think is the most important, not only from this book, but also from my own experience.
First, we have to understand what is Willpower, why it exists and how it works. The most simple way to put it, in my opinion, is like this: Willpower is the ability to go against your primary instincts. This is what will make you able to refuse to buy everything when you are doing some shopping, for example, or when you are hungry and will force yourself to eat vegetables instead of going to Macdonals. And also, basically, this is what makes you Human. The ability to take decisions, to think a little more longer term than usual, to ignore instant reward and pleasure in order to live in a better way in the long run.
To sum it up simply, we only have a certain quantity of Willpower, this quantity is consumed when we take decisions, it recharges when we eat and sleep. Some say this amount of quantity can differ from one person through another, meaning some might have more Willpowers than others. Some say your amount of Willpower can be trained, and increased. Finally, and what I think is the most interesting, you can decide and organise your day so that you will economise Willpower, and then use it for things that really matter to you, especially for Creators, who require a lot of Willpower to create content and improve.
Do not forget the basics
You can forget all kinds of complicated methods if you do not fill in these two mandatory: eat and sleep. Those two are like fuel for your Willpower. You cannot expect anything without it. So the first step for a creator is to manage properly is sleep schedule and meals, and both deserve more than one article.. But basically if you feel like you aren't doing enough as you should be, well then perhaps it is because you do not sleep or eat properly.
Our brain needs glucose in order to think and take decisions, and this is why students eat a lot of sugar based snacks, because their brain need it for studying intensively. But sugar is not the best way to feed your brain, as it is giving a glucose spike for a short period of time, and then what follows this pike usually is a feeling of tiredness, as your body need to digest this huge amount of sugar in your stomach. So in the end you eat glucose to be more productive, but that makes you more tired.. no, this is not a good way to do it. More natural nutrients such as fruits and vegetables will provide glucose too, but less rapidly than snacks and junk food. It will give you energy in the long run, thus making you less tired. If you stop eating glucose for a week, you will also stop receiving the need to eat some. Your body will be used for healthy food and feel less tired.
Habits and decisions
We saw that descisions exhaust Willpower, all throughout the day. When you wake up and ask yourself what you are going to eat for breakfast. When don't know which way to take to go to work, when you have to decide on what you will work today.. In every action that you do if you take a decision for it you will use Willpower.
A first solution is to plan things ahead. The more precise you will be in your planning, the less Willpower you will lose BEFORE starting an action. Make a to-do list. 3 important things for the day, maximum. Do not do anything else until those three are done with. It is ok to do less. For example, do not write: "go buy some food", but instead write a precise list of things you need to buy. When the moment will come, you will have less things to decide. Then, you will have more willpower left for other things. The most successful people might not have more Willpower than you, but they use it only for things that really matter. You can even make a "to not do" list.
A second solution is to use habits. The things we do without even thinking about it. It is hard to set up a habit, but it is easy to do a task when it has become a habit. This is how some people are so productive: they made the process of taking a pencil and writing or drawing, or whatever, become a habit. Here as well developing new habits deserve a whole article, but you can start thinking about it.
The do it or do nothing rule
In some way, Willpower is linked to procrastination, someone who procrastinates lacks willpower. The "do it or do nothing" rule is simple but powerful. This is how some writers are able to write 40 pages a day, each day, and still provide good books. What they do is applying this rule: for 4 hours in the morning, each day, they write or they do nothing. Simple as that. They might be sitting at cafes, if they don't write they will watch the sky, or people, but they won't do anything else, and this until they start writing. And it works incredibly well. You can apply this rule to every Creator. In whatever area. This rule is powerful because it is simple.
Keep track of where you are
A little strategy that can be effective even when you have no plan. Whatever you are trying to do, at the end of each day, check which progress you made and where you are. That will make you realise when you forget and the next day you will be more motivated. Also keeping track will help you be more realistic and plan things ahead easier.
Don't forget to reward yourself
You should not forget to give rewards to yourself. However, there are good reward, and bad reward. A good reward comes when you successfully completed a task you planned to do. It is important to not forget to do that, reward yourself with whatever makes you happy in the moment. A bad reward comes when you receive it for no reason, and then you forget that there is a reason and then you lose all motivation.
Procrastinate positively : This can sound funny, but it works. When you want to do something unproductive just for pleasure, just tell yourself "I will do it after I finish doing this particular productive task". This simple. As soon as you have "pushed back" the unproductive task, just like magic, the need will go away. This is how the brain work. Once you planned it for later, in your brain it happens the same find that as if you actually did it.