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How do you keep track of everything you have to do?

And how to deal with your inherent also wanting to be lazy and NOT get things done?

How to motivate yourself to be more and do more?

How do you get out from under your funk when everything is just piling up around you?

You could go read another self-help book, or go look at your reading list of “How to network like a cheetah on speed” or “40 clients in 40 days” or “Bananas bananas, money!” or whatever strikes your fancy.

How do you deal with your INNER conflict about getting things done?

What if someone, somewhere in your past, didn’t praise you when you really needed praise? What if you’ve been fired? What if it’s hard to believe in yourself sometimes? You wanted to be farther along in life than you are right now. How do you get out from under the thumb of your own inner critic?

I read a quote by Leonard Cohen about hard work last night that resonated with me and wanted to share it with you.

“I think unemployment is the great affliction of man. Even people with jobs are unemployed. In fact, most people with jobs are unemployed. I can say, happily and gratefully, that I am fully employed. Maybe all hard work means is fully employed. We have a sense here that it’s smart not to work. The hustle, the con, these have been elevated to a very high position in our morality. And probably if i could mount a con or a hustle in terms of my own work I would probably embrace the same philosophy. but I am a working stiff. It takes me months and months of full employment to break the code of the song.” -Leonard Cohen, in an interview with Paul Zollo, 1992. From Songwriters on Songwriting.

So whether you have a full-time job right now, or you’re officially unemployed, how do you make the most of each moment? Do you waste time sometimes deliberately at work? Do you think it doesn’t matter if you waste time, because you can’t do what you REALLY want to do? Well, I used to think that too. But now that I’ve been out of the 9-5 workplace for a few years, I have to say, it really DOES matter if you waste time. I can’t believe how much it matters. I have been able to accomplish so much by tracking my time and trying to make sure each day counts.

Paul Zollo asked, “Do you have a discipline for writing? Do you write at the same time every day?”

Cohen replied, “I get up very early (around 4:30). I like to fill those early hours with that effort. Usually I blow it and fall into disillusion and disrepair. Where the mind and the body and the writing and the relationships and everything else goes to hell. I start drinking too much or eating too much or talking too much or vacationing too much. And then I start recovering the boundaries and putting back the fences and trimming the hedges. but when the thing is working, I find early in the morning best.”

Do you get up early and fill your morning with meaning? Or do you get up late, roll out of bed and rush off to work with your hair half-brushed? How can you make more time for yourself, for things that nurture you, that make you glad that you got up early?

What if you are just dreading starting the work? What if you wish you could have gone into a different, easier, line of work?

Cohen says, “Almost everybody’s work is hard. One is distracted by this notion that there is such a thing as inspiration, that it comes fast and easy. I have to work as hard as any stiff, to come up with the payload.”

Let’s face it, whether you’re working for someone else or working for yourself, you’re working for yourself.

I agree with Cohen’s notion that there is no such thing as inspiration sometimes, there is just hard work. You have to make a start. You have to set a deadline, and run with it. Do you have ways that help you start to work when you don’t really want to work? I’d love to hear your ways you start, and how you keep yourself going.

What have you been putting off? What’s a goal you have for this week? How can you achieve it?