Productivity isn’t about willpower and pushing yourself to work harder.
I tend to write about fitness and I get teased (and sometimes criticized) when I talk about being fit. Many people assume I played sports as a child and grew into fitness easily.
The truth is, as a child I was a wuss. I was the one picked last for games, and with good. reason. I never could understand why you’d stand still when a large ball was headed your way. I got into fitness when a friend invited me to join her in a gym class in New York. She didn’t let me argue: she handed me an extra set of tights and dragged me along with a promise of brunch afterward.
I won’t tell you how long ago it was…but I got hooked and never looked back. And that’s why I brag about my fitness. It’s totally unexpected. Fitness gave me confidence and strength, as well as bragging rights when I had to see a doctor. I’ve looked up all the articles on fitness and health.
As an academic, I co-authored a research paper many years ago. We found that people who exercised for their own gratification (such as feeling good afterward) stayed with the program; those who wanted to lose ten pounds for a wedding fell by the wayside. I work out for the social component and for pure vanity.
The same principles apply to marketing. If you really detest a task that’s been on your “to do” list forever, you won’t do it. You might be better off with a task that’s second best – -but you’ll do it. Otherwise you can hire someone to do the work for you, or find a way to make the work more fun.
By way of analogy, I detest running. I admire runners but I get bored and sore every time I try. I know people are just the opposite – they hate doing anything in the gym but love to run or play sports.
Many business owners find themselves seeking motivation for content creation – anything from blog posts to sales letters to websites. We all know it’s the most critical part of our marketing but it’s also the most frustrating…and it doesn’t get easier.
One way to make a writing task more enjoyable is to combine it with storytelling. Working on a book? Find a story to open each chapter. Writing an article? See if you can come up with a story that makes the writing easier. Looking for consistency? Start with your story archetype.
Ultimately your story has to relate to your business purpose. But sometimes a story can give you inspiration so you find yourself thinking of other stories that seem even more relevant. Or you release the story did its job – you did the writing! – and you don’t need it anymore.
This approach may seem a little too simple or even hokey, but it’s actually a way of warming up your brain. “I used to dread marketing,” one of my clients said. “After you introduced me to storytelling, I look forward to content creation now.”