I’m a self-employed writer working from home. I don’t have a boss or time clock to keep me on task. I’m totally reliant on myself to decide what my day will look like and where my focus will be for the day. While I’m pretty good at keeping myself busy, I had the feeling I could do better. I suspected I could tighten my focus during my workday, leading to greater output and achievement.
However, it was the “getting started” that slowed me down. I wanted to make better use of my time, but I was fairly comfortable in my limited accountability state. Changing my processes and workflow seemed daunting at times, and part of me just didn’t know where to start. If only there were someplace small to start that could help me to gain momentum. After grappling with it for a while and researching it a bit, I realized that I could apply Lee Brower’s Motion Theory to my situation.
For me, Motion Theory is one of the most intriguing Empowered Wealth concepts. Taking loose inspiration from one of Newton’s laws of physics — an object set in motion tends to stay in motion — this concept capitalizes on the idea that once you get moving on something, you’re much more likely to keep doing it. I recently applied this theory to my work and have been pleased with the results.
I started by getting clear on the state I wanted to find myself in. In Motion Theory, this is called the power statement. My power statement is this: I am efficient and productive during my workday. Above all, this is the vision I have for my time spent working. The next step was to apply an empowering question, which is the true start of Motion Theory: What small step can I take today that I will get me closer to being more efficient and productive during my workday?
Once I achieved that level of clarity around what seemed like an insurmountable issue, the course of action was obvious to me. The first step I took was to start tracking my time during the day, as if I were utilizing a timesheet. I start each day by noting the time that I begin work, and I track each task, as well as the time spent on that task. At the end of the day, I tally the hours, subtract breaks, and I have a very clear picture of my workday.
My “Pringle” (the action that sets this in motion each day) is to have my time tracking notebook sitting right next to my computer, opened to the day’s time tracking sheet. Once I sit down, I’m easily able to note the time I start. Once I get into that motion, I’m motivated to keep noting my time tracking as I move through the day. To set myself up for success, on the evening before, I make sure the notebook is on my desk, open to the next day’s page with a pen sitting on top, ready to go. This ensures that when I sit down to work, I can take immediate action. Once I note my start time, I fall into the day’s groove rather easily.
As a way to keep myself in motion, I’m mindful about celebrating my progress. This is an important part of Motion Theory. Getting the motion and momentum going is the first key. The second, equally important key, is celebrating successes. When I look back on where I’ve come from, it’s easy to celebrate my more efficient and productive workdays. Once my husband gets home from work, I share my day’s progress with and we have a silly (yet effective) celebration party for my achievements. This bonding time for us, coupled with the satisfaction I gain from knowing that I’m using my time wisely and effectively, helps keep me motivated to continue.
Knowing what I wanted to do and figuring out how to get it was the key to my success with Motion Theory. By distilling my efforts for a more efficient and productive workday down to literally having my notebook and pen next to my laptop, I’m able to focus my efforts and energy on the day, not wondering if I’m doing enough. Revamping my habits and patterns came more easily to me once I decided that it was important to me and worth doing. Celebrating even the smallest victories gives me the encouragement I need to keep going. I start each day with confidence because I know that I’ve already set myself up for success.