Motivation is the mental push from you to accomplish an action. People have motives to do many things. Maslow’s Theory, one of the widely discussed theories of motivation debates that physiological needs (such as food, water, sleep etc) are the most basic and fundamental.
On the basic needs level, we could visualize how getting fired may lose our ability to buy food and get a good night sleep. However, some of us are capable enough to not worry about these needs. We lose motivation with our projects and tasks. We fail to see how the current task maps to a bigger picture. We need more defined ways to motivate us everyday. Here are some ways to help you in the new year.
- Start with the small bits. Procrastination occurs when the task is too big. Break the project down to smaller chunks that suit your attention span. If you can concentrate for only 40 minutes, break up your task to allow you to complete it within 40 minutes.
- Look forward the success after completion. Getting started is good, but completion of the task is the outcome you need. Visualize how completing your current task at hand will satisfy yourself and contribute to your success.
- Rewards. Reward yourself after each task is completed. It’s okay to reward yourself by watching 10 minutes of television after the completed 40 minutes of work. You’ve done a good job. It’s okay to cut yourself some slack.
- Find your motivational switch. Everyone has a way to switch on their own motivation mode. Some people may be motivated by praising their efforts, others may be motivated by participating into a group discussion. Whatever it is, find out what’s your switch and exploit it. Look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to get some ideas.
- Map the task into long-term goals. How can your task at hand contribute to your long term goals? Is your long-term goal achieving financial freedom, or social significance? Will working now directly help your long-term goals?
- Think about how procrastination eats away at your success. If thinking positively does not work for you, then think about what will happen if you do not complete the tasks on time? Thinking negatively gives you stress, and stress may help you get through tough times. It’s depends on the situation and your personality. Pressure may work for you.
- Give yourself a punishment or consequences. Can competitors overtake you if you are not working right now? Promise yourself not to go golfing before you’ve completed your task. Similar to stress, punishment may work for you to eliminate your lack of motivation.
- Ask yourself a question: Why work? When you’ve fulfill all your basic needs – you are wealthy and healthy. Why brother to work? You keep working because there is something deep inside that makes you want to continue. Find what it is, so you can remind yourself and motivate yourself on the task level.
- Looks for bits that you really love to do, and do it. To motivate by passion is my favorite. Find what you love to do and do that part first. When you have started and is in the flow, other tasks in the same project will become easier.
- Join with other people who are working hard. Has it ever occur to you when you are surrounded by people who work hard, you will be energized and will work hard as well? People motivates each others. If you have friends/colleagues who are working on a similar project, join them, discuss and talk about the project. Participation will motivate you.
- Kill the repetitions and schedule. Are you being too organized and work on the same schedule for projects and tasks? You may reduce your own motivation by the Hawthorne effect. Work around the clock. Complete the task at another time. Walk away. Do something else for now.
If you suffer by your lack of motivation this year, try one or more of these tips in 2007. Once you’re motivated, nothing can stop you being successful.