A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper. –E.B. White
The most prolific artists, writers, and otherwise productive workers do not wait for inspiration in order to begin their work. They simply begin. They may adhere to a schedule they’ve set for themselves to sit down and paint, practice, or put pen to paper. They may reward themselves once they’ve reached specific goals. They often set boundaries with friends and families and stick to their daily regimen, regardless of their feelings of lethargy, their lack of motivation, or their desire to procrastinate that day.
You may not feel the inspiration to write a report but that doesn’t mean you cannot get ahead on data entry or another less meaningful task. Oftentimes the thought of going to a meeting and interacting with others seems overwhelming, but once you get there, the socialization can be the energy boost you didn’t know you needed. Some days you may not be able to see past the dark cloud of a bad mood in order to focus on the job. Even when you think you can’t possibly complete a task, just beginning somewhere—words on a page, the beginning of an outline, a chat with a colleague—can provide the small nudge that will propel you forward.
This advice is often used for some of the daily, monotonous tasks in our lives—exercise, for example. It’s challenging to find time to fit exercise in and when we do have the time it may be the last thing we desire to spend time doing. However, if you commit to exercising for just 5 minutes you often find that your endorphins motivate you to continue for the full 30 minutes or hour that seemed overwhelming at first.
The same is true for work of any kind. If you start you may find more creative fortitude that you realized you possessed. Although procrastination might feel nice in the moment, it never feels good at the end of the day to realize that you’ve accomplished nothing. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike and don’t wait for perfection. Begin now—and piece by piece, your project (and ultimately your career) will begin to take shape.