Set Up for Success

I wanted to share a few ideas I've either come across or come to understand that utilize psychology to trick the mind into being more productive.

You snooze you lose.

The mind can often times make excuses or simply just bury any thought that would cause you to get off the sofa and actually do something. Recognize this for what it is: the brain's attempt to conserve energy due to premodern and now faulty wiring. This feeling of wanting to do unproductive (easy/low energy) things all day is the default and to overcome it simply get up and take action anyways. Rewire your brain by consciously overriding the default. The more you do this the easier it becomes.

Promise a little, do a lot.

Make a promise to yourself to just do 5 minutes or just do one small task. This is the foot in the door that will give the mind an excuse to "just get it over with so I can go back to being lazy". This generally amounts to starting and continues on way past the initial promised effort resulting in a great deal of progress made toward your goals.

Break it down.

Life goals can be and often times are quite ambitious. Because of this they can seem daunting, but if broken down far enough then progress can be made daily towards those ends. Small tasks can be accomplished regularly and the completion of said tasks inspires further action.

A constant reminder.

Put a not so subtle and constant reminder to do the thing you need to do somewhere along your path. Don't rely on your calendar or some reminders app. Make it a physical thing that prods you and says, "remember me... yeah, I'm still here and you didn't use me yet today". So, if your goal is to be more active/healthy then the reminder might be an exercise band or free weights in your office. If the goal is to walk the dog daily, then put the leash in your kitchen so you see it every time you go to grab lunch. If the goal is more abstract then consider this: at a time when you have motivation write a series of tasks on paper, one per page, in really big writing and then stick these "signs" up in places where you'll see them often.

Natural focal point.

If you have an office space or a home office, set up this space in such a way as to draw the attention towards whatever it is that's your daily driver. If it's a laptop on a desk, then have any couches or chairs pointed directly at the laptop. If it's a piano, then point everything at the piano. So, if sitting or wandering through the room the eye is naturally drawn towards the focal point and this then becomes a constant reminder to do the thing you came into that room to do.

Make it easy.

Set up your workspace in such a way as to make doing your tasks easier. So, if you need to shoot a video tomorrow then set up the camera today and get everything ready so that when you come in tomorrow there's very little resistance to doing the thing you need to do. If you need to call 10 clients, then write up a brief outline of the conversations you plan to have with each of those clients and place that by your phone just before you go to bed. It's a lot harder to put something off in the morning when most of the work is already done and the will power tank is sitting on full.

With love,


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