Work is a stress management game. Every day we work over 8 hours, forced to interact with those who we don’t wish to, commute, learn and study, and all that stacks up and at the end of the day, you don’t have much free time for yourself. And to be worse, sometimes you are given work that you’re not good at or you don’t enjoy. Work could be better if you can do what you like and/or good at and make money, but that’s not how things work. Same for me too, and perhaps that applies to everyone in the world. Then the question is, how do you make yourself want to do things, or motivate yourself?
In this article, I plan to talk you through how to motivate yourself, but not in that ordinary “set a goal” “bribe yourself with a treat” kind of thing. I plan to make this article, and your reading experience, something more.
To be all fair, motivation (or at least that feel of motivation that you want to feel) does not exist according to science. You are not motivated because you feel troublesome or worry about everything that hasn’t happened yet, and just can’t get the hang of working on whatever is in front of you. That spare time existing in front of you before tackling a task is what we call “lack of motivation”. In other words, we’re giving a blank emptiness a name called “lack of motivation” thus there is no such thing as “motivation” to begin with.
That means, if you start your task, motivation will come naturally. And controlling this, in one way is “setting goals” or “bribing yourself with a treat”.
But sometimes that itself is even non-motivating. Just do it, one may say, but if we could, we wouldn’t have this problem to begin with. Therefore, I propose 2 ideas: 1. Find a hobby where waiting time is required, and 2. Do things as a habit. Both won’t happen in a short period of time, but it is surely more effective than the ordinary setting a goal method. Also, I’ll introduce you the “Short concentration” method too.
First one; find a hobby where waiting time is required. Hobbies usually are reading, watching movies, playing games, those kind of things. I think you have something that you enjoy doing as well. Great leaders usually have something they strongly enjoy, and commit to that to make their life meaningful and energetic. But, out of the point, the idea we’re exploring here is to work in that waiting time. It might sound somewhat like a treat, but if you like watching movies, reserve a seat in the theaters. You have a job needed done, but the deadline is near, but you don’t feel like it. Lacking concentration is the problem here, so reserve a seat in the movie theater near the end of working hours. Browse on the internet for about 10 minutes calling it a refreshment break, and you’ll be sure to find something. And once you’ve done that, you know you have to finish work by then to fully enjoy the film, because the theater won’t wait for you.
Another example would be to bake cookies. Baking requires some waiting time no matter what, so get your job done there. Once you’re done and burned all your brain sugar, there’s cookies fresh and ready to eat (careful of eating too much).
I myself sometimes paint miniature figures and plastic models. This boosts up my concentration, and once that’s done, I need to let it sit for a good few hours to dry. I don’t do it often, but it does work.
Next one is, make it a habit. This is simpler than the first one; you just have to set a core time to do things with full concentration. Quick question: when do you eat lunch? Many people I believe will answer around 11:30 to 1 P.M.. Of course you feel hungry around that time, but also the reason is, because it’s a habit for you to do so. Do you take a shower before or after dinner? When do you brush your teeth? Do you check your email first thing in work? Do you feel unmotivated to do any of those, but at the end, do you still do it in that time you usually do? That’s all (maybe not all) a habit, and it’s applicable to work too. I always feel sleepy around 2 to 3 P.M. because my lunch is being digested. Thus I set my super focus time, from after lunch to until that sleep starts showing up in myself. I’ve been doing this few years ago, and it has kicked in myself now I don’t even need to think of focusing, I just do it.
My other super focus core times are Tuesdays and Thursdays. I try my best to get things done in these two days at least. Other days in the week, if I meet my requirements, that’s fine. I don’t overwork it.
Lsat, “Short concentration”. People don’t have as much concentration as they think they do. If you’re good at concentrating, that’s a treasure so keep that and skip this part. But fore most people, keeping concentration for over an hour is not as easy, especially if the work isn’t thrilling for you. Despite that, there are so many distractions around us even in the office. The point here is, to do things as quick as possible. Concentrate in small blocks, take many breaks, and try getting more done in total of longer concentration time. Even if your concentration lasts only about 10 minutes, then work fully in that 10 minutes. Continue that 6 times with small 5 minute breaks in between, you find yourself with a total 60 minute concentration. Key is try not to focus for full 60 minutes. You might do alright at the start, but your performance will drop by time. Tackle the task in small portions. Conditioning yourself to maintain top performance is a great way to succeed. And that conditioning differs individually. For one person it could be doing some stretches, while for another person it might be listen to a song. Taking a quick nap closing their eyes, meditating, watching videos on YouTube, juggling, playing with toys, reading, talking to others, whatever it is, you are conditioning yourself for top performance and it’s not slacking around and just playing. Make your minimum pause when you need to is a great succession key.
And there you have it, how to motivate yourself. It’s all what worked for me, and might not apply to everyone, but I think it’s a lot more specific than “setting a goal”. Try it if everything else doesn’t work, and you may find the best strategy for yourself.