Creating A Project Ritual to Encourage Happiness

I’ve been working on my procrastination habits. Havi of the Fluent Self has a great procrastination program that many of you should consider buying if you have trouble with getting stuff done. Here is my review of her program.

Havi’s programs gave me the idea to design a little ritual to put myself in the right frame of mind before I continue working on a project. My problem was not being able to start. My problem has always been finishing. My procrastination kicks in when I’m in the final stages of the project. I begin second guessing myself and its direction.

My issue with procrastination – every time I sit down to do the work, I end up checking my email or doing some blog marketing instead. It’s my Achilles heel. It’s easier to just jump into this other work because it doesn’t require as much intensive brain power. I’m also afraid of failure and I’m not afraid to admit it. The ebook isn’t perfect (what ebook is?), but it was written to help spread the brilliant ideas that Google uses to encourage great work.

Back to my Ritual

I love rituals because they help reinforce good habits. Praying before bed sets the mood for your sleep, or your morning routine before work helps look and smell terrific, setting the tone for the day.

Here is my ebook ritual that I use before I begin working on it. It’s helped me focus my energy, stay relaxed and accomplish high-quality work.

My Ebook Ritual

  1. Clean off desk – (It’s almost always a mess, because I’m working on various projects. Putting my stuff away is a whole different issue that we’ll explore at a later date). This forces me to only focus on the task at hand.
  2. Close all open windows on my computer – When I see other windows open I’m inclined to do a quick email check.
  3. Put on music to fit the mood that I need to be in – intense (Bach or Mozart), calming (Yoga style trance), or exciting (dance style). It all depends on how I feel and the mood that I want to create. The volume also varies depending on what I need to get done.
  4. Make a list of what I want to accomplish – No time frame. When I put myself on a time frame it stresses me out. I just set my goals and try to get them done. If you need a time frame then go for it. Sometime we need a little stress to motivate us.
  5. A one minute relaxation – I take 60 seconds to calm my mind and put myself in a mindset that encourages good work. Click here to check out one of my favorite relaxations.
  6. Self coaching – I ask myself, “How I can enjoy the work?” I think of the “present me” – actually doing the work and how I can get pleasure out of it. As well as the “future me” – how accomplishing this task will improve my life. This keeps me motivated throughout my work.
  7. Get started – This is where I used to hesitate, but now I just jump in because I have prepared myself for what I want to get done.


It works!

My ebook (big project) ritual usually only takes 5 – 10 minutes, but saves me an hour of procrastination. I’ve stopped putting big projects off to later in the day. Your mind is most fresh after you wake up. By getting an early start on the big project I can exhaust myself then save the less intensive tasks (email) for later in the day.

This might not work for you, but try tweaking it. Maybe you want to light a candle to signify your burning desire to get your stuff done or maybe you want to do some push-ups to get your heart pumping. Whatever you do, I believe that a ritual helps set the tone for your project and encourages you. Instead of being a big bully, forcing yourself to do work.

By creating your own ritual you’ll promote the right frame of mind that accomplishes great work and also feels fun.

15 thoughts on “Creating A Project Ritual to Encourage Happiness”

  1. Hi Karl,
    I like this idea of a ritual – to get a project going. Procrastination is a big one for me, also, on certain projects. And, really, your ritual is good for me to focus on – especially clearing my desk and closing open windows – two things that continuously draw me away from doing what I “should” be doing…

    I’m looking forward to the ebook, Karl!

    Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  2. Tom Volkar / Delightful Work

    Great work Karl, putting yourself out there in a public declaration. That always works well for me.

    I dig rituals also. They work until they get stale and then it’s wise to create a new one.

    Looking forward to your book.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work’s last blog post..Pump Up Your Personal Power

  3. Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome

    Good for you with the ritual. Unfortunately for me they don’t work. I find the only thing that does is being firm and saying “Alexander, you sit your ass down and get to work.” and I meekly say “Yessir.” and then get whatever writing I need to do done. And then I pat myself on the head and say “Okay, now you can futz around on the internet for a bit, but only until your next task.” and off I go!

    I guess that is a ritual of sorts, isn’t it? 😉

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome’s last blog post..It’s Your Life So Take Control of It: Joanna Young Interview

  4. Hi Karl: I’m experimenting with time boxing to get projects off their feet (am writing a post on this soon). I’m also a big believer in rituals, they tell your subconscious mind to get on board with the project.

    Marelisa’s last blog post..Productivity and Foie Gras

  5. Wow! This was exactly what I needed tonight… I’ve been hemming and hawing and planning and basically wasting time today, instead of executing some PR releases that need to be done.

    Tomorrow, I’m going to create a ritual for myself and take care of business. Thanks Karl for the butt kick.



    Molly @ Stratejoy’s last blog post..Slices of Life a Success!

  6. Hi Tom, it’s always good to keep a ritual fresh. If it becomes routine then it might lose it’s effectiveness.

    Hi Alex, we all have our own way. As long as it works, that’s all that matters.

    Hi Marelisa, time-boxing is an interesting technique. I look forward to reading your post.

    Hi Molly, let me know how the ritual works. I love to hear success stories.

  7. Hi Karl – I find rituals work well when I don’t let myself get distracted. Often when I should be concentrating on my blogging activities, I find myself clicking links or doing searches for odd things that come into my mind. Before I know it, an hour has passed and I’m feeling further behind.

    I like the thought of concentrating on the task at hand and getting it done. Maybe if I set up some type of reward system it would work better.

    Barbara Swafford – Blogging Without A Blog’s last blog post..NBOTW – It’s More Than A Funhouse

  8. Your tips has inspired me, Karl.
    If we can save a little bit of time for doing a ritual as you said as well, I think any projects can be accomplished well without delay.
    I will try practicing these immediately.

    Arswino’s last blog post..No More With Me

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