Motivation, Part 1, Extreme: Stress
When freelancing, one of the biggest problems for you is productivity. Working in office, you always have your boss or your colleagues around, so no matter how lazy and how tricky you are, you have to work at least one hour a day. But what if nobody looks after you?
Hmm, yes, you can work naked, but that's not what I'm talking about.
Planning? Bullshit! GTD? I don't know. Haven't read Get Things Done yet. Seen results? Yes, but it's the topic of another, longer article. This one describes me in my early freelance years.
This is not an advice and should not be treated as advice or call to action. The described techniques could make you fail your work and ruin you carrier. I am no responsible for any damage you may receive following this article.
Shock Therapy, or Remember College?
Do you remember you college years when you spent semester partying and hanging out and studied only a night before exam? I remember, because I still study like that.
Try the same approach.
Do nothing until your conscience or common sense (whatever is stronger) starts crying out: Work, bastard! You need to pay your bills! Creditors are waiting for you! Do start working, idiot! NOW! You'll understand then how productive can you be. You'll see how easily can you set priorities and divide important things from less important.
Talking seriously, stress could be a great motivating factor. Under stress, the brain works faster than ever. It can sort things in background, so you won't even notice that you're doing important things, leaving less important and just forget unimportant ones. It also can make unusual (correct!) decisions and rely on intuition more (which is, as I believe, more good than bad) under stress.
This may (or may not) lead you to success once or even twice, but not every time. You can't take stress over each time. The purpose of this shock therapy is to show you your real potential so you'll never be satisfied if you don't work efficiently enough. Stress can also help you find some habits which help you working, like favourite music for coding, favourite tea or coffea, most comfortable workspace layout, etc.
But how to put yourself into stress? Try this only if you are ready to take risk and responsibility for it's consequences (well, freelance itself is risk).
- Promise your client to do something that's possible, but what you are extremely lazy to do. When deadline arrives you'll have to do it anyway. Stress? Stress.
- Be out of time. Take more work than you could possibly finish. Stress? Yes...
- Spend more money than you can afford. Get yourself depend on work you are doing. Stress? Oh, yeah!
Pros and Cons
- You discover your true potential
- You teach yourself to thing unusual and trust your intution
- You teach yourself to set priorities correctly
- You find out your working habits.
- You learn how to behave under stress, so you'd feel more comfortable in accidental unpredicted stress situation
- Your are under stress
- You may fail your project which may influence you entire carrier
- Your failure may hit others badly, especially your family
- You may understand that this is not for you