A pattern often discussed in personal development circles is a burst of motivation, during which one makes big plans, maybe even completes parts of them, and then falls off when the surge of motivation passes – which it inevitably does.

You can use these surges to make big plans and you can use them to get a lot done, but they rarely change the course of your life or cause you to produce more than you otherwise would.

This is because they seldom result in any lasting change.

To make the change last, don’t use them to make plans, or to knock out specific tasks. Use them to establish systems.

And NOT big or elaborate ones. Aim for an incremental improvement in your repertoire of personal systems that allows you to just get a little more done consistently.

When the motivation comes, don’t try to create something comprehensive to manage every aspect of your life.

Start by just centralizing your to-do lists, create a spreadsheet to break down a writing project into chapters, or establish a light sheet (courtesy of some of the best productivity thinkers I’ve ever encountered).

Put a lot of thought into this, make it as simple, as easy to integrate into your daily routine, and as easy to maintain as possible.

Don’t aim for big changes or grand aspirations – aim for small ones that you can stick with.

Those will compound dramatically over time and as you stack them on top of each other.

That may sound slow, but in practice it will take you to your goals MUCH faster than relying on periodic bursts of productivity or motivation.

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