Motivation is behind our every move and its lack will seize our existence. It was not more than 3 months ago that I had to submit my working hours through my company’s online website. A process that usually takes no more than 5-10 minutes. All I had to do was login automatically (meaning I did not even have to remember the password!) and click on some boxes and that was it. I was done!
Although this was easier than anything I found it as the most troublesome of my tasks, that I always postponed. I tried to dissect why it was that I could never seem to find motivation for this task.
1. Repetition. It was not only that it was a repetitive task I had to do every month. It was the exact same sequence of clicks that would get the job done.
2. Lack of positive feedback. I never got praised for completing this, I never got a raise in my salary and I never got the feeling I was doing something important that would make me a better person or improve my work.
3. Association with negative feelings. My job at the time was not very fulfilling and I would see that task as an extension of it. Worse it would remind me of the hours spent in a less than productive job.
4. Lack of interest in this particular task. It was obvious that I found that task entirely uninteresting.
So based on all the previous remarks here is what you can do to increase your motivation and achieve more…
1. Add variety to your everyday activities. Whether this is going to work taking a different route once in a while or finding different ways to ‘skin a cat’ it is important to add some variety to your everyday life. Pick up a hobby, preferably one that involves physical activity or going out such as swimming, biking, hiking etc. Your life at the office will not look anywhere close as boring any more.
2. Associate your daily tasks with a long-term goal. If you don’t have one, find one. Working with no particular goal is similar to walking with no destination. You will soon stop and find something else to do. Having a higher goal will keep you going for much longer. Whether this is saving a certain amount of money for your education or aiming at a better job in the future it will make a difference.
3. Try to separate the task from its surroundings. Although this is something difficult and requires a lot of self-control it is necessary to do. It is very common to postpone an obligation because it is our boss that we hate that asked us to do it, or it is related to our uninteresting job. Breaking those negative links will help you achieve more.
4. Gain motivation by playing some music. If this is possible while you are at work or school play some music and see how much more productive you will become. Play your favorite music while doing the most “boring” task and it will be done before you even know it.
5. If you don’t like something in your life, change it. I know this sounds cliche. Your job might be uninteresting, the city you live in might not be the best place for you. It will all drive your motivation down. The truth is we always have options. Change it. It might sound hard at the beginning because we are creatures of the habit and changing your habits is hard. You will eventually be rewarded for your hard work though…
John Stamm @