I'm going to tell on myself. My biggest fear, the thing I think about the most these days, is — am I able to produce content that truly brings value consistently. It's honestly all I think about when I write for you.
Because here's the thing — once you buy your shiny new MacBook and use it to make flyers for clients or write an article for a publication or whatever it is you are doing as a freelancer, you have to face the biggest challenge of your freelancing life. Consistency. Staying consistent with the quantity of your work, the quality of your work, sending your invoices, reaching out to new clients. All that takes a deep discipline.
Here's the other thing — you will never master it. Achieving perfect consistency is not entirely unlike a Buddhist's journey to achieve nirvana. Few ever get there. So why bother? Because the practice itself will make you a better freelancer.
Consistency is a discipline you will continue to strive for your entire career. Some months you'll kill it. Some months you won't. But the moment you give up, it's game over.
The Feeling of Zen
Nothing makes me feel better at the end of the day than knowing I cleared out my to-do-list. It makes me feel centered andwhatnot. Conversely, nothing gets me in a pissy mood more than knowing I wasted the day away watching 30 Rock.
The book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz talks about the judge in all our heads and what role they play (hint: to judge us). I call the judge in my head, “Past Jason.” For me, Past Jason gets all fussy when he feels I did not check off enough on my to-do-list. And then, he gets all worried that I’ll never do those things. Here’s how I shut him up.
Let’s expand. I look at myself as three people — Present Jason, Past Jason, and Future Jason. I make sure Present Jason does his best to stay in the moment to accomplish things that benefit Future Jason. This, in turn, logs away some wins in Past Jason’s memory so he can STFU everyone in awhile.
Example. My goal is to write every day. I am accomplishing this with varying levels of success. Since I have manifested my goal in my head, out loud and on paper, Past Jason is leaning over — Can you do this? Have you been consistent like this in the past? I’m not so sure.
Consistency isn’t about perfection. Sometimes it's about being just consistent enough, so when you do miss a day, you trust yourself enough that you will pick the ball up tomorrow. The more I write daily, the more Past Jason doesn’t get all up in my shit the day I need a mental health day. Because he has instances logged away that show I can get back on track.
Where to start
Make your bed every day. Seriously. Relentlessly look for small things you can be consistent with and work your way up. Take a shower, brush your teeth, put on decent clothes. Even if you're working from home. In short, have a morning routine.
Use The Pomodoro Technique. Put your phone on silent, set a timer for 25 minutes, and work on the thing you've been putting off. When the alarm goes off, take a 10-minute break. Work your way up to doing this three times a day. Then 5. Then 8.
We put off the things we don't want to do because we don't know where to start and can't see how it ends. Commit to working on that thing for just 25 minutes, and I bet you understand what you need to do, how to get there, and how long it will take. Then, set that timer again and go for another 25 minutes if you want.
Here's a great article on the Pomodoro technique if you're interested in learning more.
Keep your engine clean and in good running condition. Drink some fucking water. Meditate for five minutes. Eat a salad once in a while. Take a brisk walk. This type of shit is so vital to consistency, but it's often completely overlooked (👉🙋♂️).
Work on your Non-Zero Days. Lifehack blogs write about this concept a bunch. The idea is, do something today that will get you closer to your ultimate goal (and help Future You™). No matter how small. Over time, small actions add up to significant milestones.
Here's a community that explores the concept of non-zero days that you may find beneficial.
These are some things that have helped me become more consistent, and I'm leaning on them a lot these days as I continue to build out this newsletter for us.
What are some of the things you do to help stay consistent? Hit me anytime. I'm interested in hearing from you.
Buy me a coffee on Venmo: @jasondotgov