Recently I was sent an interesting piece on “motivating yourself when you just don’t feel like it.” In other words, how to slay the demon procrastination.
The suggestion of this article was particularly timely as I’ve been feeling somewhat adrift for the last few weeks. I’d already overcome my inertia, but I realize that some of these tips could have been useful in getting me going again.
- Let fear take hold. Use the “fight or flight” response to scare yourself into acting — and working!
- Keep the finish line In sight. Avoid natural tendencies to look simply at an immediate objective and focus on the ultimate goals.
- Make it a game. Figure out ways to measure yourself — then try to beat yourself
- Tell someone else. Sharing a goal or objective can bake in some social pressure (something that we’ve written about before).
- Break it up. Break your “big hairy goal” up into into more manageable steps.
Most of Jason’s suggestions seem fairly obvious but I’m intrigued by the suggestion to make your work tasks into a game. There’s been some interesting discussion recently on using gaming metaphors to change behavior — everything from the RPG-like metaphors of Weight Watchers, to the underlying psychology of Nike Plus, to the MPG readout of Toyota’s Prius and smart meters in homes reducing energy consumption. The first step in changing your behavior is generally to “instrument” and measure it.
I’d love to see the mostly dry GTD and productivity tools re-imagined as role-playing games, complete with leaderboards: “Can you ‘level-up’ and deliver that annual report?”
How are you measuring yourself and your work?