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3 Reasons Relying On Motivation Can Negatively Affect Our Productivity

3 Reasons Relying On Motivation Can Negatively Affect Our Productivity

We were pumped up to do great things in life after seeing an inspirational video. We rose up from the comfort of our chair and did a lot of work. The day after that — nothing. Sitting on the same chair, we had a Netflix movie marathon, and no work was done for that day. Why did this happen? Why didn’t we maintain the same amount of work in both days? It’s because we rely too much on motivation. There are 3 reasons relying on motivation can negatively affect our productivity.

1. We do things only when we’re inspired

“Yeah! I’m gonna do this s***!” thoughts rarely come. We can hope for motivation to greet us every day, but they rarely do. It’s as if motivation is the fuel that drives us to do things when it’s actually not. We need to always do what we want to do in life no matter how inspired we are feeling. Motivation can accelerate the things we do, but it shouldn’t be the thing that moves us.

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2. We are prone to waste our day and stop halfway while doing things

Relying on motivation can cause the All-or-Nothing thinking. All-or-Nothing thinking is the tendency to do things perfectly or not do it at all. How does this apply to motivation? Imagine waking up with little motivation. For those who rely too much on motivation, they’ll decide to not do anything for the rest of the day because they are not highly inspired.

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Other than that, we will find that when we are motivated on a particular day, and suddenly, bad things happen in the middle of the day. Snap! Our motivation crumbled like a fortress made of chalk. We gave up and called it a day. Why? Just because losing motivation made us think that the day’s not perfect. That’s not the way life goes. Start, middle or the end of the day — we need to use all three periods productively, whether we are motivated or not. Motivation doesn’t indicate perfection but movement does.

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3. We will forget why we do the things we do in the first place

Motivation is just a feeling. Like any other feeling, it can come and go. We need more than a fleeting feeling to move us to do the things we do day by day. What we need to rely on is purpose and discipline. Purpose is needed to ensure that we live deliberately. Aren’t we born to do great things in life? Each one of us is a world-changer so make it our purpose to make a difference in the world. But purpose is not enough, we’ll need discipline to ensure that we can fulfil that purpose. Discipline ensures consistency and it’s the cure for laziness and procrastination. Purpose + Discipline = The magic pill for success.

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Stop reading and start moving!

Again, motivation is not necessarily bad. It’s good to help us do things faster but it shouldn’t be the one making us do them in the first place. To sum it up, here’s the key take-away from this article:

  1. Stop relying on motivation to help us be productive.
  2. Focus on finding a purpose in life.
  3. Be disciplined and do things consistently. (Don’t know how to improve your discipline? Read this Lifehack article to learn how).
  4. Stop watching too many motivational clips from Rocky (that includes Rocky II, III, IV, and V too) and finish that homework, report, and whatever you should be doing right now.

If you learnt something from this article, please share it with others so they can share the same experience too.

A question: Do you rely too much on motivation? Write your answers in the comment section below.

Featured photo credit: Steven Depolo via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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