How to Beat Your Monday Blues with Newton's Law of Productivity

Let's face it. Monday is the toughest day of the week to work after losing your momentum over the weekend. In order to be productive this week, you have to regain your momentum until you become unstoppable. And momentum is all about starting small...and Isaac Newton.

"Newton’s First Law of Productivity

First Law of Motion: An object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force. (i.e. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest.)

In many ways procrastination is a fundamental law of the universe. It’s Newton’s first law applied to productivity. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest.

The good news? It works the other way too. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. When it comes to being productive, this means one thing: the most important thing is to find a way to get started. Once you get started, it is much easier to stay in motion.

So, what’s the best way to get started when you are stuck procrastinating?

In my experience, the best rule of thumb for getting started is the 2-Minute Rule.

Here’s the 2-Minute Rule adjusted for productivity: To overcome procrastination, find a way to start your task in less than two minutes.

Notice that you don’t have to finish your task. In fact, you don’t even have to work on the primary task. However, thanks to Newton’s first law, you’ll often find that once you start this little 2-minute task, it is much easier to keep moving.

Here are some examples…

  • Right now, you may not feel like going for a run. But if you put your running shoes on and fill up your water bottle that small start might be enough to get you out the door.
  • Right now, you might be staring at a blank screen and struggling to write your report. But if you write random sentences for just two minutes, then you may find that useful sentences start to roll off your fingers.
  • Right now, you might have a creative block and be struggling to draw something. But if you draw a random line on a sheet of paper and turn it into a dog, then you might get your creative juices flowing.

Motivation often comes after starting. Find a way to start small. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion."

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Article: The Physics of Productivity: Newton’s Laws of Getting Stuff Done by James Clear