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3 Reasons Relying On Motivation Can Negatively Affect Our Productivity

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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 October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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