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  • Writer's pictureDillan Taylor

Willpower is finite

In the past few weeks, I have been doing client work and web design in the first half of the day, then podcast and video editing in the evening.

Each time I switch over to my evening tasks, I become incredibly Resistant to work.

Thinking discipline was the problem, I forced myself to sit and suffer through. This made me nervous because I slowly began enjoying the work less and less–work I truly love.

We’ve heard it before (but humans are so good at progressively forgetting even the deepest truths); we only have a certain amount of willpower in the day.

Gary Keller in The One Thing reminds us that willpower is “depleted when we make decisions to focus our attention, suppress our feelings and impulses, or modify our behavior in pursuit of goals.”

It’s not a discipline issue; it’s a timing issue. Stretching your willpower thin throughout the day will almost certainly result in mediocre work on several tasks.

Gary argues that we must focus on a select few things and do them very well, as opposed to the alternative; what I was doing. He also urges (as one can surmise from his book’s title) people to do the most important thing as early as possible; when the battery of willpower is fully charged and before it gets drained.

I began theming (hyper-focusing) my days: “Today is client work. Tomorrow is podcasting. Thursday is web design and newsletter. Et cetera.” (Is it pretentious to write out the whole thing instead of just etc?)

My productivity has skyrocketed and my love for what I do feels recharged.

Time your willpower. Most important thing early. Et cetera.


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