If you want to hack your discipline and improve your productivity, make it a regular habit to do a thirty-day challenge.
Discipline is a muscle and laziness is a drug. A good, time-boxed challenge works as both an exercise for your discipline and detox for your laziness.
It doesn’t matter what type of challenge you do. Anything works. The gains you get from doing the work will bleed into other areas of your life.
Only note the name “challenge.” It should actually be challenging to complete.
This also means it is relative. If you are in good shape, a challenge to walk 20 minutes per day probably isn’t something you want to waste time on (unless you want to practice consistency). But for someone who is overweight and only walks when going from the parking lot to the front door of the store, that challenge might be perfect.
I’ve done three challenges, and all have provided a helpful boost to my creativity and momentum. In all areas of life.
- NaNoWriMo – Write the first draft of a novel during the month of November. You have to write about 1,700 original words every single day.
- InkTober – Produce an original ink drawing every day. This one was tough. I’m not really an artist, and some days I just had to throw something out in order to keep going. That’s part of the benefit of the challenge: to kill your ego.
- One Funnel Away Challenge – Have a functioning sales funnel at the end of 30-days. A good crash course. Best if you view this like the deliverable of NaNoWriMo: a rough draft.
Each of these challenges has been rewarding in their own ways, and all have given me momentum for other areas of my life, like parenting my children.
There are all sorts of challenges, ranging from food, fitness, to Bible reading. Pick one, and just do it. You will not regret it.
Some things to look out for:
- Time commitment – it should take at least 1 hour per day. This is enough time where you need to plan and be intentional, without being overwhelming.
- Accountability – there should be some pain if you fail a day. This can be small, like not getting the validation of posting your progress on social media. Or having to do double the work the next day. Some challenges have communities to provide direct accountability. But you have to put some skin in the game.
- Timeframe – keep it long enough to be difficult. There are shorter challenges, but anyone can sprint for a few days. You want to train your consistency over time, and thirty days is a good sweet spot for that.
You can even come up with one on your own. Doing this has its pitfalls, as it doesn’t have a built-in community for accountability. It will just be you, so enlist trusted friends and family to keep your feet to the fire.