You have your tasks set for the day.
The conditions are perfect: The sun is shining, everyone is smiling, the air is fresher than usual.
When you put your hands on the keyboard, ideas just pour out from your mind and onto your screen. Everything just works: All your focus is on one task at a time, and you complete them.
You exceed expectations: your boss praises you, and you’re doing great work for yourself. You feel satisfied.
You’ve done a lot. Nothing went wrong with what you did.
It’s an amazing feeling. But it doesn’t last long: you may not be so motivated the next day.
Sometimes, you have days when you don’t feel like doing much. When you do so, you start to think about that amazing day again. It gets frustrating:
- How do I become as motivated as back then?
- What do I need to do to achieve the same result?
- How do I stop comparing myself all the time?
Your job now is to capture that feeling.
How to capture the moment
Set aside one hour to yourself.
No distractions, no technology; just pen and paper.
In order to capture that lovely day, you need time to reflect. Record the following:
Write down what were the conditions around you, and within you.
After all, the mix of both resulted in that golden moment you were looking for.
Your conditions can range from:
- The weather
- The temperature of the room you were in
- The taste of your coffee
- Whether you’ve done much exercise
- Your internet speed
- The amount of time spent being distracted, etc.
Next, write down what are your preferred tools for input:
- What tools do you need to work with? A good outfit, a laptop, your favorite pen and notebook?
- What’s your style of writing? Do you prefer long-winded notes, or bullet points?
- What inspired you to do so well that day? Did you propose to someone the day before?
- Did you get enough sleep?
Write down the flow. This is where the magic happens:
- What were your chosen methods?
- What was your thinking process as you carried out your tasks?
- What level of research was needed to achieve this?
- Which tasks were completed?
- Have you done the 5 most important tasks?
- Did it turn out to be as you imagined?
- How much time did you spend on each one?
Feedback & Reflection
It’s time for feedback! What do you think of your work? How do others think of your work?
Then, you reflect. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What did you do?
- What were your objectives?
- Who was it for?
- What was your intended goal?
- What did you have to research?
- What skills did you have to use?
- Were you already prepared beforehand?
- What were your thoughts throughout the entire session?
- How many perspectives did you use to tackle the whole situation?
- How large of a part did the following play into your session: your phone, social media, friends, colleagues, personal worries, world events, electricity, internet speed?
- What could you have done better? What methods can be explored further in order to be more productive?
Be as methodical as possible here. This is your chance to record down the whole process.
It is always good to have a system for self-reflection: you spend less brainpower on thinking up questions to answer, and instead use that on actually answering.
You can even play around with what you’ve written above, drawing it out like a diagram:
Conditions -> Input -> Process (Methods, Thinking, Diagrams, Research Headlines) -> Output -> Feedback
Recording your Golden Moment.
You have your diagram. Now, you have your reflection. It’s in one file, or in your notebook, or documented somewhere that is easily accessible.
Congratulations! You have just made a graphical representation of your most productive time.
The purpose of this is to remember the level of clarity and focus needed to achieve that level of output.
Assign a phrase to this Moment.
Treat it like a password: It’s that important. It can be anything you want, it’s your Golden Moment after all.
Write it on a post-it note and put it somewhere visible: your workstation, the bedside table, or your phone wallpaper. You need to make every effort to remind yourself of this mindset.
This is to condition yourself into reliving that Golden Moment again.
Shocking your routine
When you need to work again, and you’re not feeling so empowered: look at your phrase. What does it mean to you?
The memories will come back: How much you did, how satisfied you were, how content you were, what you are capable of. How should you implement this into your routine?
Remind yourself over and over again what you are capable of achieving when you are productive.
Keep the phrase in your mind, and the feelings will surface again. When you capture that feeling again, keep it sustained for the rest of the day. Naturally, you would be more productive, positive and empowering on a day-to-day basis.
One thing to note: Personality is formed from habit.
Prepare yourself for the day by looking at this phrase as a routine. Write the phrase anywhere, anytime. Forgot what you wrote? Go through your answers. Your objective, is to pull yourself back into that moment again.
I have a few phrases of my own to get back into the zone. Sometimes, one phrase isn’t enough, so I have more.
- ‘Nothing But Now.’
- ‘Shut up and do the work.’
- ‘The world around me does not matter until I myself move forward.’
These are my phrases. They may not mean much to you, but they do to me.
They came up when I was at my most productive, and when I am really satisfied with what I have done. These are my Golden Moments, and no one can take that away from me.
By going through these phrases over and over again, I can capture the feeling again. I can look at my past self, the great work that I’ve done, and tell myself I can do better than that.
Capture that feeling, and do better. You will do better, and nothing else will matter.