“Now hast thou but one bare hour to live,
And then thou must be damned perpetually.
Stand still, you ever-moving spheres of heaven,
That time may cease, and midnight never come.”
Christopher Marlowe: Doctor Faustus
You’re on the beach of your dreams, under a sunset that flares with every color you can call to mind, plus a few you can’t even name. You’re listening to music that sets your body and soul tingling with pleasure. You’re making love with an intensity of feeling you never imagined could exist.
“All right, time’s up. Move along there now. Next one, please.”
“Your time is up. We haven’t got all day. You should have done all you need to do by now.”
“But . . .”
“No buts. If you can’t manage Nirvana-like ecstasy, plus a world-shaking orgasm, in three point five minutes, that’s your problem. I’ve got a universe to run here.”Advertising
Far-fetched? Not really. That’s where our world is headed. If it can’t be done in a few minutes or less, forget it. No time.
What do you need to slow down for?
I don’t advocate living more slowly for the sake of it. If you want to enjoy life, you need to go slow because that’s what it takes. Strip away enough time and, instead of the image I started this article with, you’re left with a picture on a calendar, a ring tone on your cellphone, and a quick fumble behind the door. The stuff of great experiences? I don’t think so.
Wine has to mature to become great. Cheese needs time to bring out the flavor. Gabble through the greatest poem at the speed of a sports commentator and you’ll be left with disappointment.Advertising
Why rush through life? Do you want it to be over so soon? Doesn’t it take time to appreciate its joys and experiences?
- Time to learn. Time is necessary to learn, to think, to reflect, and to internalize fresh ideas. The more you rush, the more you are forced to stick with what you already know.
- Time to think. Time to plan, to prioritize, and to choose how best to expend your attention and energy. Doing anything in haste increases the risks of missing key elements, making needless mistakes, and wasting effort.
- Time to enjoy. Rushing through an experience robs it of most of its value. Gobbling down a fine meal, leafing through a work of literature with more than half your mind elsewhere, allocating 10 seconds to see the sunset. You might as well not bother.
- Time for others. It’s not only unpleasant and callous to deny the people close to you your time and attention, it’s downright rude. Why do so many relationships break down nowadays? My bet is that those involved simply don’t allocate enough time to spend together, learning how to enjoy one another’s company.
- Time to be creative. You need time to reflect and see the links between items or areas of knowledge. The human brain doesn’t work well with disconnected ideas or pieces of information. In all those “gaps” where they appear to be doing nothing at all, the world’s outstanding creative minds are hard at work reflecting, ruminating, “noodling” with odd ideas—tinkering with patterns and unexpected connections. What you see as the result is a mental iceberg: nearly all the activity that brought it about is hidden below the surface.
- Time just to be. This is the only life you have. How much of it have you missed already because your attention and energy were elsewhere? How much will you still miss, because your days are so filled with activities that there’s no space left to just to live?
Money isn’t a substitute for time. However much you make, without time you can’t spend it or appreciate what you spent it on. Nor is wealth a substitute for love. And making more quick profits is definitely no substitute for true business success.
How much time do you really need?Advertising
How much of other people’s time are you worth? A few minutes? An hour? A day? A year? How long should they take to appreciate the full flavor of who you are as a colleague or a person? Would giving you less time than that mean they sold you short?
Fine, so that’s how much of their time you believe that you’re worth. Now, how much of your time should you give them?
Time is the magic ingredient. Take it away and what’s left is virtually worthless. Rushed, frantic living is no living at all.
Adrian Savage is a writer, an Englishman, and a retired business executive, in that order, who now lives in Tucson, Arizona. You can read his other articles at Slow Leadership, the site for everyone who wants to build a civilized place to work and bring back the taste, zest and satisfaction to leadership and life, and its companion site Slower Living. His recent articles on similar topics include Why a great deal of writing about work/life balance is sadly off the point and Counting your days: A cautionary tale and an idea to get life into perspective. His latest book, Slow Leadership: Civilizing The Organization, is now available at all good bookstores.
Last Updated on October 30, 2018
How to Motivate Yourself: 13 Simple Ways You Can Try Right Now
Who needs Tony Robbins when you can motivate yourself? Overcoming the emotional hurdle to get stuff done when you’d rather sit on the couch isn’t always easy. But unless calling in sick and waking up at noon have no consequences for you, it’s often a must.
For those of you who never procrastinate, distract yourself or drag your feet when you should be doing something important, well done so far! But for the rest of you, it’s good to have a library of motivational boosters to move along.
Whether you’re starting a buisiness, trying to los weight or breaking a bad habit, you’ll learn how to motivate yourself with different techniques in this article.
Table of Contents
13 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself Right Now
Despite your best efforts, passion, habits and a flow-producing environment can fail. In that case, it’s time to find whatever emotional pump-up you can use to get started:
1. Go back to “why”
Focusing on a dull task doesn’t make it any more attractive. Zooming out and asking yourself why you are bothering in the first place will make it more appealing.
If you can’t figure out why, then there’s a good chance you shouldn’t bother with it in the first place.
2. Go for five
Start working for five minutes. Often that little push will be enough to get you going.
3. Move around
Get your body moving as you would if you were extremely motivated to do something. This ‘faking it’ approach to motivation may seem silly or crude but it works.
4. Find the next step
If it seems impossible to work on a project for you, you can try to focus on the next immediate step.
Fighting an amorphous blob of work will only cause procrastination. Chunk it up so that it becomes manageable. Learn how to stop procrastinating in this guide.
5. Find your itch
What is keeping you from working? Don’t let the itch continue without isolating it and removing the problem.
Are you unmotivated because you feel overwhelmed, tired, afraid, bored, restless or angry? Maybe it is because you aren’t sure you have time or delegated tasks haven’t been finished yet?
6. Deconstruct your fears
I’m sure you don’t have a phobia about getting stuff done. But at the same time, hidden fears or anxieties can keep you from getting real work completed.
Isolate the unknowns and make yourself confident, you can handle the worst case scenario.
7. Get a partner
Find someone who will motivate you when you’re feeling lazy. I have a friend I go to the gym with. Besides spotting weight, having a friend can help motivate you to work hard when you’d normally quit.
8. Kickstart your day
Plan out tomorrow. Get up early and place all the important things early in the morning. Building momentum early in the day can usually carry you forward far later.
Having a morning routine is a good idea for you to stay motivated!
9. Read books
Read not just self-help or motivational books but any book that has new ideas. New ideas get your mental gears turning and can build motivation. Here’re more reasons to read every day.
Learning new ideas puts your brain in motion so it requires less time to speed up to your tasks.
10. Get the right tools
Your environment can have a profound effect on your enthusiasm. Computers that are too slow, inefficient applications or a vehicle that breaks down constantly can kill your motivation.
Building motivation is almost as important as avoiding the traps that can stop it.
11. Be careful with the small problems
The worst killer of motivation is facing a seemingly small problem that creates endless frustration.
Reframe little problems that must be fixed as bigger ones or they will kill any drive you have.
12. Develop a mantra
Find a few statements that focus your mind and motivate you. It doesn’t matter whether they are pulled from a tacky motivational poster or just a few words to tell you what to do.
If you aren’t sure where to start, a good personal mantra is “Do it now!” You can find more here too: 7 Empowering Affirmations That Will Help You Be Mentally Strong
13. Build on success
Success creates success. When you’ve just won, it is easy to feel motivated about almost anything. Emotions tend not to be situation specific, so a small win, whether it is a compliment from a colleague or finishing two thirds of your tasks before noon can turn you into a juggernaut.
There are many ways you can place small successes earlier on to spur motivation later. Structuring your to-do lists, placing straightforward tasks such as exercising early in the day or giving yourself an affirmation can do the trick.
How to Stay Motivated Forever (Without Motivation Tricks)
The best way to motivate yourself is to organize your life so you don’t have to. If work is a constant battle for you, perhaps it is time to start thinking about a new job. The idea is that explicit motivational techniques should be a backup, not your regular routine.
Here are some other things to consider making work flow more naturally:
Do things you have a passion for. We all have to do things we don’t want to. But if life has become a chronic source of dull chores, you’ve got a big problem that needs fixing.
Not sure what your passion is to get you motivated? This will help you:
You can’t put everything on autopilot. I’ve found putting a few core habits in place creates a structure for the day.
Waking up at the same time, working at the same times and having a similar productive routine makes it easier to do the next day.
This guide will be useful for you if you’re looking to build good habits:
Flow is the state where your mind is completely focused on the task at hand. While there are many factors that go into producing this state, having the right challenge level is a big part.
Find ways to tweak your tasks so they hover in that sweet spot between boredom and maddening frustration.
Easily distracted and hard to focus? Here’s your solution.
With all these tips I’ve shared with you, now you know what to do when you’re feeling unmotivated.
Find your passion and develop a positive mantra so when the next time negativity hits you again, you know how to stay positive and motivated!
Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com