End on a win.
Here's a surprising yet obvious trick for staying consistent.
Today’s post is going to be short and simple. And it’s about two things.
1. End every batch of work — whether it’s 10 minutes or 2 hours long — with a clear deliverable.
This is quite obvious. If you leave your work without any clear accomplishment, no matter how small, it reduces your motivation to come back to it. You’re setting up a bad precedent for your next work sprint, even before you begin.
2. For longer-duration projects, like writing essays, writing a research paper, or just crafting a PRD, stop working when you’re on an emotional high.
This is slightly counterintuitive and might sound like it goes against the principle of momentum, but once again, follows the same principle as point 1:
Associate positive feelings with your work, thus increasing your motivation to return to it the next time.In the gym, they say,
“Don’t do reps till the point of failure. It only reduces performance in the next set.”
Similarly, while working, it’s good to build momentum, but don’t work till failure. Never quit when you’re feeling stuck or low with your progress. This creates a negative association with your work and reduces your motivation. You fear failure and hence lower your chances to come back to it and start working again.
Of course, the exception to this is if you’ve already accomplished some work and made some progress and are now running out of creative fuel. In that case, surely consider taking a break and going out for a walk or something.
But otherwise, never leave your desk on a bad note.
Try this and you will realize how obvious this feels in hindsight.