Canadian Lawyer

May 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 56 of 59 55 in order to actually get it done." It's surprisingly brilliant. Your feelings don't have to match your actions — especially when you truly want to move forward. You could feel tired but still put on your goggles and go for a swim. You could feel like you'd rather staple yourself to the chair than build another PowerPoint deck — and you still get the presentation done. Dahl also quotes Oliver Burkeman, author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, who writes: "Who says you need to wait until you 'feel like' doing something in order to start doing it? The problem, from this perspective, isn't that you don't feel motivated; it's that you imagine you need to feel motivated." Once again, this is where routines can outsmart feelings. Sure, you might feel like watching cat videos, but every morning, you sit down at your computer and open a blank document. You write for two hours (or what- ever your routine entails) and you don't bother taking your emotional temperature. Progress ensues. Then you repeat, repeat, repeat. Delegate whenever possible The other day, I had a great idea during my morning workout. It was one of those eyebrow-raising light-bulb moments. Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with my three focus areas I mentioned above. So I made a note in my phone and asked our COO to follow my mental thread. I was tempted to chase it myself, but I knew I had to stay focused. I realize that delegation isn't always possible, especially when you're just starting out or money is tight. But when it's possible, delegation can pay off big time. Offload an activity if: • You can regain precious time, energy or focus and apply it to something that will truly move the needle for you. That kind of work is priceless. Stretch yourself a little and measure the results. You can always test delegation in baby steps. • Someone else can do it better. In my case, there's almost always someone on our team who has more knowledge or niche expertise than I do. They'll create a stronger result in less time — and again, I don't get distracted from my goals. The importance of enjoying the ride I've talked a lot about everyday motiva- tion, but how do you sustain your drive for the long run? It's an important question. The answer will look a little different for everyone, but ultimately, we're all motivated by joy and meaning. The Antidote author Oliver Burkeman first led me to Buddhist teacher Susan Piver. Tired of forcing herself to be "good" and master the daily to-do list, Piver decided instead to focus on the pleasure of her work. "Once I remembered that my motivation is rooted in genuine curiosity and my tasks are in complete alignment with who I am and want to be," she says, "my office suddenly seemed like a playground rather than a labour camp." She asked herself what would be fun to do and then focused on what she loved about each activity. In the end, her day looked the same as it did when she was "disciplined" — but the experience was nearly effortless. "Yes, discipline is critical, just like all the teachers say," Piver says. "And there is definitely stuff that needs doing that is just never going to be fun, like paying bills and cleaning the cat box. But I suggest that instead of being disci- plined about hating on yourself to get things done, try being disciplined about remaining close to what brings you joy." Talk about a perspective shift. We all go through tough times, work at jobs we don't love and endure genuine unfairness. But if you're struggling to do something you care deeply about, go easy on yourself. Tap into why you started your business or why you're flexing your creative muscles in the first place. It's a much happier way to move through your days. To recap: Establish your systems and habits. Stay focused on what matters. Delegate and tune out the noise. Your motiv- ation will grow. And if it doesn't? You don't need it anyway. "If you're struggling to do something you care deeply about, go easy on yourself. Tap into why you started your business or why you're flexing your creative muscles in the first place. It's a much happier way to move through your days." Aytekin Tank is the founder and CEO of JotForm, an online form creation software with four million users worldwide and more than 100 employees. A developer by trade but writer by heart, Tank shares stories about how he exponentially grew his company without any outside funding. For more information, visit

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