The Reset Ritual
The problem with momentum is that although it can carry us on a good streak with the productive stuff, for example a workout streak, it can also carry us on a bad streak, for example if you’ve started binge watching orange is the New Black on a Tuesday morning (no not me I don’t know what you’re talking about). Sometimes you get off track because something extra fun or especially urgent comes up to derail you and it’s not too terrible to get back to it, but other times it can feel almost physically impossible to force yourself back to what you “should” be doing.
For productivity purposes we tend to think of time in chunks of days or weeks. This can work against us because it’s too easy to to declare a whole week lost on a Wednesday, or a whole day a write off at 2:00pm. But that’s your mind lying to you because it wants to stay in the low effort zone. Don’t get caught thinking that you can only reset and start fresh either “Tomorrow” or “Monday”
Having a go-to Reset Ritual makes it easier to break out of a non-productive streak because:
- You know exactly what step 1 is going to be
- The reset ritual helps you forgive yourself for having fallen off course as it is about seizing the current situation and doing your best starting right now
My Reset Ritual involves the following steps:
- Physically move a new location. I might walk to a park or a coffee shop, or just move from one room to another.
- With a pen on paper, make a list of everything you need to do that week. This is not to be done on a laptop, the pen and paper part are not negotiable.
- Once this list is complete, determine the priority items and make a list of 3-6 things you can realistically accomplish that day. It might be one item from the master list broken into small pieces.
- Write for 5 minutes about your intentions for the rest of the day, why you will benefit from doing these things, and how you will feel when they are done. Don’t skip the mindset work, I wouldn’t have it in my ritual if it didn’t add value. It reinforces the action of of keeping your commitments to yourself (so many people are better at keeping their commitments to others than to themselves).
- Set your alarm for a minimum of 30 minutes, turn off all notifications and distractions, and immediately launch into the scariest/hardest/most dreaded item you have committed to doing today.
And that’s the (no longer secret) secret sauce. If you are procrastinating right now by reading this, why not try it out right now. Let me know how it goes, or let me know if you have a Reset Ritual!