029: Maintaining is hard, not the start

No start up and grow with no maintenance solo. Once a week, check yourself what is working well, could be working better and totally sucks.

They say to start is the hardest part. I doubt it because starting is actually easy when you know where to begin. What is probably holding you back is the paralysis of choice or you are thinking too much which is why you should write.

Or, as Cory McCabe says:

We put off tasks that:
a) require mental focus,
b) are too vague in what is required.

As a result, you „often fill your time with doing other things“.

Another hurdle I can think of is that you are naturally lazy, lean-back and chilled out but not a doer. Trust me, I can relate — I had those years.

To get out of that comfort zone I want you to play a bit. Imagine you were someone else. Pretend to be another person. Incorporate this person and envision him/her as someone who starts and continuesYou are not faking, you are allowing yourself to grow into another person’s realm (actors do that all the time). It is likely that you will not feel comfortable there in the beginning, and it is possible that you will never get fully accustomed to the role of a doer. But you will remember how it felt to be a doer. Having felt like a doer will shift your mindset although you only experienced it virtually. Having tasted the doer mindset empowers you to execute with more clarity and decisiveness in your next endeavor. What you felt as a (virtual) doer you will always carry with you. Your brain has been carved.

Starting was easy, now the hard part

In two paragraphs you learned that starting is fairly easy. Consider it done. Start anything. Do it. Do it often. And realize you will never take off with a project when you only started the engine. You have to take further action to make it move. When you only started you cannot even fail or fall on the ground. If you did not start you cannot stumble. No action means you will not face a hurdle but only when a hurdle is in front of you are able to cross it or fail to try crossing it.

Fast forward

I am assuming you started your project now, made the first baby steps, bumped into many obstacles, mastered some and failed on others. You entered the entrepreneurial cycle of nightmare and day-dreaming. There is only constancy in change. Your journey as a doer is keeping you in a position to continue without exhaustion, perform without burnout and bring tangible results without turning into a robot.

You want to prevent what happens when for example a web server crashes because of an overload of requests. One way for you to do that is personal maintenance, at least once a week. (I do it every day — I will tell you why and how in a second).

Maintenance makes sure you check yourself:

  • Mental health
  • Bodily fitness
  • Energy level
  • Amount of abnormal behavior (ticks)
  • Anxiousness
  • Intensity.

Plus, check the overall feeling of what you think is working well, could be working better and totally sucks.

You check in with yourself and allow „me time“. You can write it all out, speak it off your chest or walk outside reflecting while breathing fresh air and giving your puppy some poop time.

Maintenance helps you sustain yourself for a long life.

Maintenance enables you to endure in demanding times in terms of social interactions, tasks to accomplish within a tight timeframe or when you are at a point where you need to get an overview of things so you organize and tidy up. Do not underestimate the cognitive effort of tidying up your thoughts as well as your digital and physical workplace. It is demanding and tiring.

Maintenance gives you stability because only when you know where you are standing (thanks to the self-check-in) you can know where it is best to stand stable.

Imagine a cut-off tree laying on the ground at the edge of a cliff — one end in the air, the other end on the stable ground. Without checking in you would walk blindfolded on the tree towards where the tree is in the air, feel the strong breath inside your face and eventually touch the ground below in gravity speed — like a nail into the wood. You nailed it!

I promise you many of those nailing moments will come. You can nag about failures, blame and always complain or start using your time for more beneficial work. Maintain today!

How to maintain best?

Schedule a maintenance session at least once a week and repeat it. If you plan 1-2 hours that is fine, it can easily be 4-6 hours, even a full day. Maintenance takes time.

I check myself every day (except for Sunday) by writing as the second thing in the morning after I got up and walked 20 minutes. Writing has been serving me well as my therapy. I knew things were off on a day when in the morning I did not spend enough time in my writing room.

Be conscious, serious and honest about where you are standing and how close to the other end of the tree you are already.

When you are done with your maintenance you close the session and check out. If you respect your maintenance schedule you are likely on a road to a working system whether you are a web server, robot or human person 😉

This was episode 29 of the #weekendpunchline 👊. Every Saturday and Sunday.

Also published on Medium.

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