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Do you go to the gym for classes and/or have a personal trainer? Do you call a friend to keep you company so you can have a burst of productivity? It’s not because it’s hard or we don’t know how, many of us are smart and capable people who also don’t like to do things alone.

Our need for external stimulus/structure is related to our motivation. We are naturally motivated to take action on things we enjoy that are uncomplicated. When I was little, no one needed to tell me to or help me organize my Archie comics, but someone did have to wake me up to get me to school. But when our joy is mixed with doubt of some kind, doubting it will matter, doubting we’ll be appreciated, doubting we can handle the appreciation, let alone if it’s a task we DON’T want to do….we become stymied. That’s where the external structure can come in handy.

The other day my client and I were reviewing her Grand To Do (a Joumor organizing tool). One task was: Create webpage. In response to me using the Joumor Principle: “Anything else?” over and over, she mumbled some other straggling components like load content, and make notes in the database….We captured all of them.

“Ok, can you do it now?” I said.
“Now?! While we’re on the phone?” She asked.
“Yes. Can you?” I asked.
Sigh. “Yes, ok, I guess,” she said.
“Ok,” I said, “I’m here,” and pressed a silent start on the timer.

8 minutes and 57 seconds later she was done. As my clients often do, she laughed when I told her. AND she rejoiced that she had completed the task.

Taxi Driver Work OutIn the movie Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro was creepily motivated to work out completely alone, which he did voraciously to an extreme end. Most of us are not like that. Most of us are social animals.

But what if your friend isn’t available, you can’t afford a coach, and you’re uncomfortable hiring someone to help you?

The Power of 9 Minutes: Why 9? Because it’s less than 10. It’s a surprisingly long block of time when utilized in a focused way. Set your timer, iphone or oven or watch on countdown mode. It’s important that the timer “Ding!” when the 9 minutes are done. You are setting your subconscious up to feel like there is an external person/structure in place and you will busily get to work.

Choose 1 task, set your timer to 9 minutes, press start…and report back- it’s fun, free and effective!

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