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How to Stay Motivated to Work on the Road

Here’s what has worked for me:

  1. Don’t give myself a choice. The hard part comes when we say, “Should I do this now or not?” and then we realize we have tons of other options, like checking social media and reading the news and sending pictures to people and looking at cat or robot photos online. What has worked for me is telling myself there is no option. Work is something I’m going to do, non-negotiable, just like I’m going to do the basic duties of being a parent, without question. I have felt temptation to let myself off the hook, but then I shake off that temptation and just do it. Giving myself a choice would lead to pretty bad results.
  2. Have a challenge for accountability. This Grand Travel Experiment, which I announced a couple weeks ago to all of you, has been very helpful. I know that I’m going to report back to you, and I don’t want to report complete failure. This is mostly helpful in that it reminds me to be mindful of my urge to rationalize or give up. I think we all have those urges and rationalizations, but we mostly don’t realize that they’re going on — we just follow them unconsciously. Having this challenge forces me to realize what I’m doing, and make a conscious choice.
  3. Have people who expect the work. It really helps that I have you, my gorgeous Zen Habits readers, expecting my blog posts, as well as mySea Change members expecting articles and emails from me on a regular basis. I’m keenly aware of this expectation of me, and I don’t like letting people down. So I do the work, without giving myself a choice.
  4. Get it done, then don’t think about it. When we’re out walking around, seeing the sights and tasting delicious vegan food, I don’t want to be worrying about work I have to do. So one motivation for me to get my work done is to not have to think about it later. This keeps me focused: I only give myself an hour or so to do my work, so I can’t mess around. I have to be on task, be sharp, get it done, and then I have the luxury of not thinking about work for the rest of the day.

So that’s what I’ve been doing, but I don’t claim that everything has been going “perfectly”. I get tired and lazy, I got sick for a couple days (nothing too bad, just a fever), sometimes we’re rushing out the door because we want to get an early start. And so the temptation is to forget about the work, but I know that won’t turn out well. So I try to get the work done anyway.

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I think the things I’ve been learning about working while traveling should apply to non-vacation work as well. It’s amazing — I’m able to do pretty much all of my regular work in a short period while traveling, which tells me maybe I’ve been futzing around quite a bit when I’m at home. A great wake-up call!

 

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