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Acknowledging the Effort It Takes to Start a Task

As entrepreneurs, all too often, we get fixated on activity goals and results goals. Last week, I wrote about how I use Google Keep to organize my tasks and keep myself motivated. These tasks are primarily activities and results driven, but over the last couple of weeks, I started to create tasks with “Start work on _____.”

Let’s be real with ourselves here for a moment. Procrastination can be a problem for even the most successful and driven people. Unless you’re in a position like an emergency responder, procrastination can quickly take over your work. For me, procrastination is a huge cause of stress. The longer a task lingers, the more I can feel it eating away at me.

One of the best ways to train your brain into doing something is positive reinforcement. If you’re on a rigid diet but love candy, reward yourself with a single Skittle. If you’re an entrepreneur like me starving for any indication that you’re making forward momentum, being able to tick the checkbox next to a task can give you that endorphin rush to keep you going.

As someone who played MMORPGs for a massive chunk of my life, my brain has been rigorously conditioned to chase those tiny little endorphin rushes. In these games, you would get it from killing a major boss, defeating your opponents in Player vs. Player combat, acquiring a piece of rare, high-value equipment. These small things that happen at seemingly random intervals create huge positive reinforcement that keeps you playing the game day after day.

For me, my endorphin rushes are now completing tasks, getting a prospect to ask for a demo or proposal, making a sale, having a great conversation with a prospect, being able to meet with my advisor and accountability buddy and telling them I accomplished my goals for the weeks. Being able to get this same reward for starting something that I could potentially procrastinate on has been a fantastic way to keep me focused on priorities and making forward momentum with my business.

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