As I write this, it is the second week working from home due to the Coronavirus. I think for many, there is a struggle to get up in the morning and building that routine that feels worthwhile. My poor grandmother, who has is not used to being told what to do, especially not leaving the house feels defeated. Another conversation with my sister has sparked the creation of this post. Why are you not working on your blog and other ideas, now that you have more time on your hands? Why are you spending watching your free time to watch Netflix?. I replied, You are right, despite my free time, it is frustrating that I can’t seem to find the motivation to do anything.
Motivation is the desire to act in service of a goal. It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining one’s objectives
Why do we need motivation?
There are no clear answers as to why we need motivation but boiled down, we need it to get things done; whether it is to get up in the morning to start your day or to start a business. It is the thought process which leads to action towards a particular goal. The keyword I believe is goal. Goal setting is fundamental to getting the right level of motivation.
Many of you are aware that there are external and internal forces that would impact our levels of motivation. I find that motivation can be elusive and fickle. At times it can give me laser-like focus, other times when I want it the most, it is just not there. Procrastination is king.
If motivation can be fickle, is there a way to minimise our dependency on that and just get s**t done? This is where systems are so important – routine and discipline. There are two ways to think about it: prevention focus or promotion focused. Below are a few tips that I have found useful and helpful as I tried to crack the whip and get things moving.
A few years back, I was inundated with things I had to complete, both work and personal life. It was just a long shopping list of things that was not categorised or sorted. A list of things that I translated from my thoughts to paper. However, the 100 or so items in physical form was incredibly daunting. There was no motivation to complete it because it was just too big of an ask.
This is when I came across the concept of MITs – Most Important Tasks. Turns out that this is used a lot in the design world. Unfortunately, this had not translated to my side of the corporate world. The concept is incredibly simple. Each morning before I start my day, I put down a few (c.3) tasks that I have to complete. If I complete those things, I know that if someone called it a day, I would be happy with myself and that it was enough.
This helped with my motivation because the little post-it note on my desk became achievable. It drives to me to act now and think about motivation later, if at all. It forces you to focus on what is most important. Time is precious, what is worth doing? What is the One Thing you want to achieve in the long term and does that task on the piece of paper get you there? Be brave – be brutal.
Protecting your time
This is incredibly important, you need to identify when you work best. I am a morning lark, so if I wanted to get anything done, then I need to do it between 6AM to 12PM; as I know that I would not be as effective after that. After I have achieved my key tasks in the morning, I can do less mentally intense tasks, such as laundry or reading papers/documents for work. I reward myself later in the evening by winding down, reading and watching TV, but only after I completed by MITs. However, I would never be able to do that or build a routine if I did not protect my time. Be brave – be brutal.
Don’t Break the Chain
Now that you have started doing things, it is important to not break the chain. This stems from the idea of momentum. Once you start, it is easier to continue. Form the habit/routine and keep at it. After that, it will be like riding downhill.
Best of luck!