Creating A Project Ritual to Encourage Happiness

I’ve been working on my procrastination habits. Havi of the Fluent Self has a great procrastination program that many of you should consider buying if you have trouble with getting stuff done. Here is my review of her program.

Havi’s programs gave me the idea to design a little ritual to put myself in the right frame of mind before I continue working on a project. My problem was not being able to start. My problem has always been finishing. My procrastination kicks in when I’m in the final stages of the project. I begin second guessing myself and its direction.

My Ebook

My latest project is an ebook/series about Google’s best practices. I’m using it to entice people to subscribe to my RSS feed. Registration is in the upper right corner. If you’re not ready to work happy now then please don’t sign-up. (pause) Arrgh! I knew that you would probably see through my ploy (reverse psychology), but I thought I would give it a try. The ebook will be there when you are ready for work happiness tips from Google. I just know you are going to love this ebook when it comes out.

So first I’m going to make myself accountable and say that my ebook/series will be available by January 7, 2009. Don’t worry about this excellent resource costing you $19.95. It will be free. It’s free because I want to give more value to you my dear reader.

My issue with procrastination - every time I sit down to do the work, I end up checking my email or doing some blog marketing instead. It’s my Achilles heel. It’s easier to just jump into this other work because it doesn’t require as much intensive brain power. I’m also afraid of failure and I’m not afraid to admit it. The ebook isn’t perfect (what ebook is?), but it was written to help spread the brilliant ideas that Google uses to encourage great work.

Back to my Ritual

I love rituals because they help reinforce good habits. Praying before bed sets the mood for your sleep, or your morning routine before work helps look and smell terrific, setting the tone for the day.

Here is my ebook ritual that I use before I begin working on it. It’s helped me focus my energy, stay relaxed and accomplish high-quality work.

My Ebook Ritual

  1. Clean off desk - (It’s almost always a mess, because I’m working on various projects. Putting my stuff away is a whole different issue that we’ll explore at a later date). This forces me to only focus on the task at hand.
  2. Close all open windows on my computer - When I see other windows open I’m inclined to do a quick email check.
  3. Put on music to fit the mood that I need to be in – intense (Bach or Mozart), calming (Yoga style trance), or exciting (dance style). It all depends on how I feel and the mood that I want to create. The volume also varies depending on what I need to get done.
  4. Make a list of what I want to accomplish - No time frame. When I put myself on a time frame it stresses me out. I just set my goals and try to get them done. If you need a time frame then go for it. Sometime we need a little stress to motivate us.
  5. A one minute relaxation - I take 60 seconds to calm my mind and put myself in a mindset that encourages good work. Click here to check out one of my favorite relaxations.
  6. Self coaching - I ask myself, “How I can enjoy the work?” I think of the “present me” – actually doing the work and how I can get pleasure out of it. As well as the “future me” – how accomplishing this task will improve my life. This keeps me motivated throughout my work.
  7. Get started - This is where I used to hesitate, but now I just jump in because I have prepared myself for what I want to get done.

It works!

My ebook (big project) ritual usually only takes 5 – 10 minutes, but saves me an hour of procrastination. I’ve stopped putting big projects off to later in the day. Your mind is most fresh after you wake up. By getting an early start on the big project I can exhaust myself then save the less intensive tasks (email) for later in the day.

This might not work for you, but try tweaking it. Maybe you want to light a candle to signify your burning desire to get your stuff done or maybe you want to do some push-ups to get your heart pumping. Whatever you do, I believe that a ritual helps set the tone for your project and encourages you. Instead of being a big bully, forcing yourself to do work.

By creating your own ritual you’ll promote the right frame of mind that accomplishes great work and also feels fun.

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Image courtesy of bunchofpants