Running tip also helpful to developers: get your gear ready

There's a motivational tip I've read which is helpful to runners, which I think can also apply to developers. Prepare your gear in advance the previous day to make it as easy as possible to get out the door in the morning.

I don't run, but I do swim.

I always have my swimming gear in a bag, ready for me to grab if I get even the slightest impulse to go get some exercise.

Preparing your gear reminded me of another one of the motivation hacks I've often seen mentioned: leaving one small task undone for the next day. Isn't it just like preparing your running gear? Making it easier to get over that slight reluctance you might feel to get going.

I've started thinking of more ways to do this for other aspects of my life.

One of the tasks I enjoy the least is the required data entry for my bookkeeping. I used to keep putting it off to the last moment. The way I've managed to get myself to do it is by having a checklist. The checklist has very easy-to-follow instructions on what the next thing to do is.

This makes it easy to know where to start, and the satisfaction from getting a bit done usually keeps me going for a few steps more.

For more creative projects, a checklist isn't possible.

Even for more fun projects it still does require some slight effort to get going. To make it easy to get into the state of mind required to start, I like having a little nudge to get me going.

Instead of a checklist, I'll have a note in my journal, showing me the next easy next task I can do. Ideally something that can be completed in a few minutes, just to help me build some momentum.

I even have terminal aliases that cd me to the correct directory and open my code editor for my projects. For example when I type "cjs", the code for Candy Japan pops up. Now when I need to work, all I need is four keystrokes and a glance at my journal. The next step would be to make this command even print out the next task to do, so even searching through my journal would no longer be necessary.

I hope this inspired you to reduce the friction for your own projects as well. Go prepare your running gear.