• Momentum is crucial for success
  • Managing your time and changing your mindset build momentum
  • Look for easy wins and develop a winning attitude to keep momentum strong
You’ve got two reports to write by the end of the week. You’ve already sat on it for days and now you’re running out of time. You’ve barely written a word of one, never mind the other.

It’s a similar story every time you have an important task to do. When you’ve got a lot on your plate, you can’t keep momentum. You get distracted. You shift your focus to other minor tasks that are easier and less important.

You call it quits on the hard stuff even when you know you could easily get all of it done. And you’ve got tons of excuses to justify your lack of progress.

It’s not until when the deadline is in your face that you actually hunker down and get it done.

This kind of vicious cycle causes so much stress and just makes your work life so much harder than it should be. And it could all be avoided if you just kept going instead of quitting or letting yourself get sidetracked on other bullshit.

Keeping momentum is key for avoiding this pressure and getting productive. You can smooth out your workload and actually make real progress, not just scramble to get everything done at the last minute.

Staying on top of your shit is the recipe for work happiness and job satisfaction and it’s well within your reach.

Momentum leads to success. When you have a ton of momentum, it’s easier to make progress.

It’s like Tony Robbins says in this quote:

“People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

How Momentum Works

Here’s the thing about momentum. It needs to gather pace. It’s like trying to push a car.

At first, you need to get a ton of weight behind it to get things moving. It can feel like a superhuman effort but it works. Then, once the car starts moving, you only need to maintain a constant even force to keep it going.

If you leave the car alone and don’t apply any effort to it, it’ll slow down and stop.

Your projects at work all follow this same kind of principle.

They won’t get themselves done.

Getting started can take a huge amount of energy but once you get going, you’ll find it a lot easier to keep on going.

In terms of office work, this is when you’re in the zone and cranking away on an excel analysis or building that Powerpoint deck. You’re motoring along and it’s only when there’s an unavoidable distraction or task that diverts your productivity.

Just like the car, once you’ve started to gain momentum, you’re well on your way to success. 

Why It’s So Easy To Lose Momentum

Your mindset is absolutely crucial when it comes to momentum. It’s the difference between being stuck and being far ahead.

Unfortunately, your mind is naturally programmed to avoid current pains and seek immediate pleasures. In work terms, that means you’re blowing off the tough project work and cyberloafing, shopping online, scanning social media or doing shallow bullshit work.

You’ve become your own worst enemy and it’s led to mediocre output.

Chances are, you’re falling into at least one of those traps and your momentum is never gaining steam.

But if you can identify why your momentum is stalling, it’s much easier to turn things around. You know what the problem is so you can address it and build the momentum you’re lacking. 

1) Giving Up Feels So Much Better 

Your procrastination often has a super simple basis. You feel happier quitting than getting stuck in so you roll with it. It’s all about avoiding pain.

There can be a few reasons why this happens. 

A) You’re Overwhelmed

That initial push of effort and energy to get started can feel overwhelming. Rather than jump in, you check out instead. You’d rather stay in your comfort zone where you feel safe.

You start looking for something else that feels easier and keep the harder tasks on the back burner until they can’t be ignored.

B) You Feel Discouraged

If you've got started but you’re not making the kind of progress you expected, it’s easy to get discouraged. Oftentimes, this is a mindset thing. You see small progress as no progress at all and give up.

C) You’re Afraid To Fail

Fear of failure and lack of confidence can be a culprit too. If you keep putting off tasks, you don’t have to face up to the possibility of failing. It’s supposed to be a safety mechanism but in reality, it just causes a ton more stress and pressure later on.

D) You Feel Lazy And Unmotivated 

But sometimes, you just don’t feel like doing the work. Hard work may pay off in the long run, but laziness pays off now. And everyone is all about instant gratification. So, instead of getting down to business, you lounge around wasting time.

2) You Get Distracted By Shallow Work 

We just talked about ditching harder tasks in favor of easier ones when you’re feeling overwhelmed and this focus on shallow work is a huge momentum killer.

Responding to emails as soon as they come in.

Organizing meetings for weeks down the line.

Doing “research” for projects.

Whatever form your shallow work takes, it’s only false productivity or otherwise known as faux-ductivity.

You’re so fixated on minor work that doesn’t really matter and getting nowhere with the stuff that “moves the needle”. It’s straight up procrastination.

The crushing effects of procrastination can and will kill any hopes of recovery so much so that you’ll keep putting off deadlines until you can’t ignore it anymore.

You‘re not building momentum by working this way. You might feel busy but you’re only fooling yourself.

It takes an average of about 20-25 minutes to refocus every time you switch tasks. Think about how many times you switch tasks during the day - that’s practically half of your workday wasted on refocusing.

You need to avoid shallow bullshit work if you’re going to make progress and get shit done. It's the only way to build momentum and get ahead.

3) Your Inner Asshole Starts Messing With You

Every time you think about hunkering down on a deadline, your inner asshole comes out to mess with you.

It undermines you. It tells you, “You’re proabably gonna fuck this up.”

So you second guess yourself. You doubt your abilities. You jump on every opportunity to avoid working on it.

Sometimes, your inner critic will hold you to super high standards that hold you back from even getting started.

It tells you "truths" like:

You’re not ready yet. Put it off a bit longer.

You suck at this. You'll never get it right so why bother?

And it adds up to a massive crisis of confidence that means you keep putting off the deadline until it’s almost too late.

You feel so anxious whenever you have to hand in a project and it’s easier to do your best impression of an ostrich than to roll up your sleeves and get it done.

You need to quiet the asshole in your head if you wanna make any positive progress. Doing things like confidence affirmations to banish your inner asshole can help tremendously.

4) Your “Can’t Do” Attitude Shows Up

Believe it or not, adopting a “can’t do” attitude can make you more successful. But, not in the way you’re thinking right now.

The good kind of “can’t do” attitude is all about saying no and setting boundaries rather than your inabilities or lack of skill or motivation. It’s about prioritizing and focusing on your top priorities.

There’s also the more common bad kind of “can’t do” attitude. This is the unwillingness to put in the effort or time to do something. This can be due to being unmotivated or maybe, not having the knowledge or skills or a combination of things.

Generally speaking, it’s just a bad attitude on things.

You feel resentment about your job and workload so you put off important tasks and projects until the last possible moment. You just feel like quitting your job.

Part of the problem is negative thinking. It’s linked to the inner critic we’ve just talked about. These negative voices in your head kill your confidence and keep you rooted in fear. To protect yourself, you need to stop the bad attitude. 

Maintaining Momentum During Tough Times

Keeping momentum high when work gets hard is largely a question of mindset and managing your time. Nail these two things and the battle is mostly won.

When you’ve been giving into distraction and overwhelm, this can be a major shift. You’ll likely have to make a ton of changes but it’ll help you build momentum and ease the pressure you’ve been putting yourself under.

Try these tips to get on top of your workload and reprogram your mind for productivity and success. 

1) Focus On Sub Tasks

Starting small is the way to go. It’s all about sub-tasks and easy wins. Now, don’t confuse this with small bullshit tasks. This is about focusing on the important projects.

Break down that big important project into major tasks and then into smaller sub-tasks and maybe even into yet smaller sub-sub-tasks. It’s a simple but effective way to shift your mindset.

Think of it this way - when you look at the top of the mountain, it looks impossible to reach. But, when you narrow your focus to only look just a few steps in front of you, it’s far more realistic and achievable.

When your only visual target is the end goal, you feel like you’ll never get there. It just seems too far away and makes quitting a lot more appealing.

You drift over to shallow work and avoid doing the real work. It’s like the adult version of sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting “can’t make me!” whenever you’re confronted with a hard project or task.

This is where sub-goals or tasks can keep you going. They stop you from feeling overwhelmed and end the comparison game.

Sub-goals are a game-changer for this.

Instead of beating yourself up because you’re not at the finish line yet, you can use the next sub-task as your target. You stop seeing projects as one big task and start breaking them down into manageable mini tasks.

Every sub-task you complete is another bit of momentum. You can download a free project task checklist in this article about getting in the zone.

You can also use a cool motivational and inspirational Chrome browser extension called Momentum that will keep your most pressing task for the day in front of your face every time you open the browser.

You can install this Chrome browser extension at the Google Chrome web store.

Check out this 2-minute video clip of the Momentum Chrome browser extension.

VIDEO: Use Momentum Dash
YOUTUBE: Lindsey Weissert
LENGTH: 2:25
Summary points:
  • Using browser tabs to keep you on track is genius
  • Put your main project task for the day front and center and sub-tasks in sidebar
  • Personalize settings further maximize your productivity
Every time you check-off a sub-task, you’re proving to yourself that you can make progress. It makes you feel more confident and gives you a shot of positive energy.

Suddenly, things look a lot less depressing and you feel like you’re on the right path. You’re motivated to keep going. And you’re building momentum all the time.

Every time you achieve a sub-task, it’s important not to sabotage your momentum by relaxing too much.

Oftentimes, people will take their foot off the gas for a little too long and kill the momentum they’ve just built up. So, moving quickly to the next sub-goal is a lot smarter since you don’t get a chance to slack off.

And as you'll see, quick and easy sub-tasks are great momentum builders. 

2) Reward Your Progress

Small wins are so powerful for building momentum. Recognizing and celebrating your small victories triggers dopamine production in your brain.

You get addicted to the dopamine hit and keep chasing small wins so you can experience it over and over. Tapping into this positive action-reward cycle keeps your momentum strong.

To make it work for you, try to set up your sub-goals so they're easy to do. This way, they become quick victories that build momentum and confidence.

It’s like dominos. One small action sets off a chain of events. The momentum of the first domino is what starts it off and it’s just the same with your tasks. Nail the first one and you build momentum.

It’s not just small wins. You need to celebrate every major project milestone you complete too. Every item on your “done” list deserves a self high-five.

It's like when you complete another level on the video game and take another step forward on your mission. It feels good, right? And you feel like you’re making progress. This is the real-life equivalent of that.

An easy way to do it is to use the project task list we mentioned previously. When you see a bunch of “done” checkmarks on that sheet at the end of the day, it feels so good. 

3) Get Accountability From Your Work BFF

Need an extra push to keep momentum?

Get your work BFF involved!

They can help you celebrate your progress and give you a metaphorical kick in the ass if you look like you’re dropping the ball or dragging your ass.

This research from Gallup shows just how important your work BFF can be, especially for being more engaged and productive. It’s one of the easiest ways to be happier and more successful at work.

As a bonus, work BFFs make work fun and they also help you get through rough days too.

Not got a work BFF right now? It’s time to find your tribe!

Look for opportunities to have more meaningful conversations with your coworkers.

Swapping gossip around the water cooler is a great ice-breaker but it’s not enough if you want them to have your back when you need it.

You need to go beyond being friendly and nurture those connections. Keep at it and you can become a genuine support system for each other. Plus, it can also grow into some positive kick-ass alliances down the road.

4) Develop A Winning Attitude 

A winning attitude goes hand in hand with self-belief. You feel confident you can get shit done, no matter what’s thrown at you. You feel unstoppable and you’ll become your own best cheerleader.

Got roped into doing a last minute presentation?

No problem. You’ve done it before and you’ll do it again.

You tell yourself things like:

I can do this.

I will make this happen.

I got this.

Your inner critic doesn’t get a chance to speak out. It doesn’t even get a peek in. It’s not dictating how you behave and sabotaging your chances of success.

When you’ve been accepting everything your inner critic says, it can be super hard to shake it off. It’s beaten down your confidence for so long and it’s only natural that you find it hard to switch things up.

If positive self-talk doesn't come naturally to you, try using confidence affirmations to banish your inner asshole and reprogram your mind.

Repeat confidence affirmations every day and you’ll be well on your way to overcoming your brain’s negativity bias and developing a positive attitude even when life sucks.

5) Quit Making Excuses

When you’re under pressure, it’s easy to point the blame elsewhere.

I don’t have time for this.

This is all Sophie’s fault for dumping so much shit on me.

If I didn’t have to show up for this meeting and do this presentation, I’d be able to focus.

Everyone is asking for everything all at once.

Sure, sometimes you can’t control what gets dumped on your plate. Some days it’s nothing but putting out fires all day. But often, you do have the power to structure your workload. You’re just not making the best use of your time right now and it’s adding to the pressure you’re piling on yourself.

You’re probably using shallow work as an excuse to feel busy instead of getting into what really matters. It makes you feel productive so it doesn’t feel like an excuse, even though it is.

But the truth is, these excuses are killing your momentum and sabotaging your success.

To turn things around, you need to show up and do the fucking work.

Remember those sub-goals we talked about earlier?

Breaking down projects like this means you can set the bar low in terms of showing up, especially in the early days of shifting your mindset for momentum.

Take responsibility for your schedule. Learn to say no and set boundaries on bullshit requests and tasks. When you do this, it is empowering. It builds your confidence and positivity, both of which are game-changers for keeping momentum.

6) Visualize Your Success

Visualization can be incredibly powerful. You can literally think your way to success. Your brain can’t tell the difference between imagining a scenario playing out and it happening in real life.

Seeing yourself having success is an underrated way to keep momentum. Instead of being fixated on what could go wrong, you're training your brain to expect the best.

Take a page out of Michael Jordan's book. He always took shots in his head before shooting for real.

The more you picture yourself achieving your goals and getting shit done, the easier it is to make it reality. Your brain treats each visualization as an actual success and this repetition gets it used to scoring wins for real.

The key here is to dig really deep into what's happening in these visualizations.

How do you feel?
What’s happening around you?
How are others reacting?
How are you holding yourself?

The more in-depth you can go, the more powerful your visualizations will be. Before you know it, you’ll be programming your mind to expect success. Then, you’ll be able to do more with less stress.

And guess what?

It starts to create positive momentum that snowballs into bigger and bigger gains. 

7) Focus On Deep Work

Constantly switching from task to task zaps your energy. Most of the time, you’re dealing with “urgent” bullshit tasks that could really wait until another day.

We talked about how this sabotages your momentum but what can you do about it?

Since everything can’t be #1, prioritizing your time and blocking off deep work periods for your top priorities is the way to go.

You can get super immersed in what you’re doing and before you know it, you’ve made real progress. You’re totally on top of your game and in the zone.

And you can get to those less urgent shallow tasks later on when you’re done with the important stuff. In fact, you can schedule shallow work periods into your calendar so you know exactly when you can work on them. 

Build Momentum To Stop Sabotaging Your Success

Lack of momentum is killing your productivity and encouraging mediocrity at work. Turning in average work is your norm, mostly because you quit as soon as the going gets tough and wait until the very last minute to meet your deadlines.

It’s a sure-fire recipe for stress and low-quality work but it doesn't need to be like this.

With some mindset shifts and prioritizing your time in the right way, you can easily build momentum and get ahead at work.

Break down your projects into bite-size tasks that score easy wins and focus on deep work where you can. It’s a game-changer for productivity and success. And soon enough, your job will be so much more fulfilling and awesomer.

Keeping momentum is in your hands. You have the power to take control of your workload. You might be losing momentum right now but that’s going to change.

It’s time to take that first step today.

Feel Better,

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