There is an interesting discussion going on in my Getting Sh*t Done group on Facebook. (Let me know if you’d like to join!)

Lynn DT Hershberger, an accomplished artist, writes, “I am SOOOOOO distractable and SOOOOO unfocused! If I don’t have a deadline tomorrow, I seem to not know what to do next… I want more structure. If I put appointments on my calendar with myself, I blow them off. If I have appointments with others, they are holy. My friends can depend on me, but sometimes I can’t depend on myself.”

Kyndal Dimon, who is living the nomad life so many of us envy, responds, “I find being on the road gives me no accountability but I don’t have anything to be accountable for except my dogs, they are always taken care of and get fed before Mommy gets anything else done. The rest of my day is spent bored or frustrated with myself for not doing more for myself. I should be doing some sort of exercise but I sit most of the day.”

Both women have lives many others admire but they suffer from the same frustrations we all do: how to motivate ourselves when there’s no one holding us accountable?

This is one of the major problems of nomads, entrepreneurs, and freelancers.

Most people’s lives are driven by external factors like jobs, school, and community/family obligations. Those of us who have gone “off-grid,” escaping what Pamela Slim calls Cubicle Nation, suddenly find we don’t know what to do with ourselves.

We don’t get to rely on a boss to structure our time and tell us what to do. We have to do that for ourselves. It’s not easy.

There are plenty of tools, both online and off, that can help — but we have to actually use them.

What it really comes down to is motivation: how much do you want whatever your goal is? Do you want it badly enough to start keeping your commitments to yourself?

Sometimes even that isn’t enough, if you have gotten in the habit of putting your own desires and needs last.

So think about what has worked in the past.

What works for me are real, external deadlines with consequences.  Get a dog, have a baby, buy a house… I’ve done them all partly to put myself in a position where I had no choice but to get the sh*t I wanted to do, done.

For instance, my friend Colin Beveridge bet me $100 that I couldn’t write Getting Sh*t Done during one November and get it up on Kindle by the following New Year’s Day. Knowing I would have to donate $100 to a political candidate I detested did the trick.

That little ebook has generated small but steady monthly payments, totalling far more than a hundred bucks, ever since.

One very cool online tool that sets up real consequences for not living up to your commitments is Beeminder. com. You set goals and post your progress every day. Beeminder keeps track and if you fall below a certain level — you have to pay them! Brilliant motivating strategy.

Of course, if you need tougher love than that, I’m here to help. (Btw, to help motivate you further, there is a three-month coaching commitment. 😉 )

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