One of my favourite time management principles that I’ve ever learned, comes in the form of a simple quote:
“A man can do anything so long as it’s not forever.”
When there’s no light at the end of tunnel — no end or finale in sight — it can feel hopeless and discouraging.
You might ask yourself, “What’s the point? Why should I keep going? If it never ends, why should I even get started, let alone continue on with no finish line in the foreseeable future?”
But when there’s a clear ending to the story, you can see the light and you know the end is nearing closer and close — you’ll be that much more likely to keep going until it’s done.
In your day to day life, it’s important to consciously create finish lines where there aren’t any.
For doing things you’d rather die than do, time block it out with a clear start time and end time for the work session, paired with a reward after you do it. Maybe it’s having a dessert, a break, something that makes it worthwhile to keep going.
To keep yourself sane in regards to a work day you don’t want to do, set an end time when it’s time to shut off for the day and go to bed — even if that means working up until 30 minutes before you intend to sleep. And if possible, set breaks throughout the day to keep yourself working in small enough segments that it’s achievable, and you get to go one block at a time.
For measurable targets, set something within your control that is big enough to excite you, but small enough that it’s believable to accomplish. Maybe this is 10 points of contact with prospective clients, where even if they don’t respond (ie. calling them on the phone), you did what you could (voicemail, email or text follow up).
The key is changing “forever” or an unknown target to something that is crystal clear and creates a game. You don’t just run for the sake of running. You push yourself to a certain threshold, whether it’s distance or time. It’s clear and you know it’s eventually going to end.
Setting up your life like this will make doing the challenging but necessary actions in your day to day that much easier.
And as an added bonus, you don’t have to stop when you’re outside of the tunnel. You can quit if you really want to, or you can keep going, and everything after that becomes so much more fun.