Inconsistently Consistent

inconsistently consistent

As I look back on a near burnout situation, I realize that I should have been inconsistently consistent.

Maybe you should too.

A Lot of Streaking

I have found an amazing tool to help me get a lot done. How much? Well, in the first half of this year I wrote over 130,000 words, a book on adventure, over 100 blog posts, and over a dozen scripts. I also coded and released a popular mobile app, created scores of videos, launched an adventure web site, created a YouTube channel, shot a dozen adventure guide videos, and a lot more.

How? Through streaking.

Um… let me try that again: with streaks.

One of the most powerful tools that I’ve found to be successful is the Jerry Seinfeld method of using streaks to make progress. In short, instead of only writing when the moment strikes you, you write every day. You set a certain bar of writing that you do every day and you do it without fail.

You start out easy and increase over time to where you want to be. You may start at even one minute a day. It’s the consistency that builds they habit that you can grow over time. I started at five minutes a day and at this point I’ve been writing for an hour each day for about a year and a half.

As you can see, it’s helped me a lot, but after nearly burning out I realized I needed to be inconsistently consistent.

The Consistency in Inconsistency

There is something powerful about consistency. It’s the thing that helped Roald Admundsen be the first to the South Pole. His team made consistent progress each day regardless of weather. If it was bad, they did the same amount. If it was easy they did the same amount.

Another team lead by Robert Falcon Scott thought it much better to push hard on days that were good and simply avoid days that were bad. They never made it back.

But there’s one thing about consistency: things change. Yes, you need to consistently do what needs to be done each day, but at the same time what needs to be done changes over time.

When I first went full-time at Cedowin Productions working on AweVenture I worked long hours starting at 4:15 each day and going until 8:00 or later many days. That’s what the situation required to ramp up. 

Now we have our exciting, customizable, scavenger-hunt app with over eight adventures out, scores of videos, a new Competitive Mode update, and half a dozen more adventures already shot. Keeping up that pace began to burn me out. I had to change what I was doing and why. I had to become inconsistently consistent.

Inconsistently Consistent

When you want to be successful, you need to be consistent. At the same time, you want to make sure that your focus is on the things that will make you successful.

So how do you know where to stay consistent and what to change? Here are three simple steps to help you build a consistent path toward success:

  • Know Your Priorities and Skills: In order to be successful, you first need to know what success looks like. What are your goals and why are they important to you? Know what skills you bring to the table and which you need to offload. For me, writing, producing, directing, and coding are my highest priorities where graphic design, web development, and marketing are tasks I offload.
  • Reevaluate Often: I have a baseline of time I put into my most important tasks each day, but that changes as requirements change. The company still needs video, coding, and writing, so they remain my highest priorities with a bare minimum of an hour for each of them every day. Other tasks, such as storyboarding, 3D modeling, and more than an hour of training each day have either been removed or reduced from the schedule.
  • Be Consistent: Even though some tasks have been removed and some have been reduced, I still consistently do 40 minutes of training a day, and at least one hour of coding, writing, and video work each day. The consistency will remain the same; it’s the focus on what I’m consistent with that will change. Just like Admundsen, it’s the consistency that brings me to my goal.

We need to be consistent and always make reliable progress with our most important priorities. At the same time we need to constantly be evaluating what those are and how they benefit us. When you are inconsistently consistent in this way, you may not be the first to make it to the South Pole, but you might be amazed at how much you can accomplish even in the most challenging of conditions.

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About the author

David is a father, speaker, blogger (obviously), and author of How to Create Amazing Presentations sharing the tools, tips, and techniques of the experts to make you an amazing presenter, 7 Steps to Better Relationships built on the stories and lessons on this blog with seven easy steps to help you maximize your interactions with the people you care about most, and The Man in the Pit to help you care for loved ones struggling with depression.

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