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Motivation

As I write this, it is the second week working from home due to the Coronavirus. I think for many, there is a struggle to get up in the morning and building that routine that feels worthwhile. My poor grandmother, who has is not used to being told what to do, especially not leaving the house feels defeated. Another conversation with my sister has sparked the creation of this post. Why are you not working on your blog and other ideas, now that you have more time on your hands? Why are you spending watching your free time to watch Netflix?. I replied, You are right, despite my free time, it is frustrating that I can’t seem to find the motivation to do anything.

Motivation is the desire to act in service of a goal. It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining one’s objectives

Why do we need motivation?

There are no clear answers as to why we need motivation but boiled down, we need it to get things done; whether it is to get up in the morning to start your day or to start a business. It is the thought process which leads to action towards a particular goal. The keyword I believe is goal. Goal setting is fundamental to getting the right level of motivation.

Many of you are aware that there are external and internal forces that would impact our levels of motivation. I find that motivation can be elusive and fickle. At times it can give me laser-like focus, other times when I want it the most, it is just not there. Procrastination is king.

Systems

If motivation can be fickle, is there a way to minimise our dependency on that and just get s**t done? This is where systems are so important – routine and discipline. There are two ways to think about it: prevention focus or promotion focused. Below are a few tips that I have found useful and helpful as I tried to crack the whip and get things moving.

M.I.Ts

A few years back, I was inundated with things I had to complete, both work and personal life. It was just a long shopping list of things that was not categorised or sorted. A list of things that I translated from my thoughts to paper. However, the 100 or so items in physical form was incredibly daunting. There was no motivation to complete it because it was just too big of an ask.

This is when I came across the concept of MITs – Most Important Tasks. Turns out that this is used a lot in the design world. Unfortunately, this had not translated to my side of the corporate world. The concept is incredibly simple. Each morning before I start my day, I put down a few (c.3) tasks that I have to complete. If I complete those things, I know that if someone called it a day, I would be happy with myself and that it was enough.

This helped with my motivation because the little post-it note on my desk became achievable. It drives to me to act now and think about motivation later, if at all. It forces you to focus on what is most important. Time is precious, what is worth doing? What is the One Thing you want to achieve in the long term and does that task on the piece of paper get you there? Be brave – be brutal.

Protecting your time

This is incredibly important, you need to identify when you work best. I am a morning lark, so if I wanted to get anything done, then I need to do it between 6AM to 12PM; as I know that I would not be as effective after that. After I have achieved my key tasks in the morning, I can do less mentally intense tasks, such as laundry or reading papers/documents for work. I reward myself later in the evening by winding down, reading and watching TV, but only after I completed by MITs. However, I would never be able to do that or build a routine if I did not protect my time. Be brave – be brutal.

Don’t Break the Chain

Now that you have started doing things, it is important to not break the chain. This stems from the idea of momentum. Once you start, it is easier to continue. Form the habit/routine and keep at it. After that, it will be like riding downhill.

Best of luck!

Protect your dreams

This weekend, I had a conversation with a family member which has inspired me to write this post. Have you ever had those conversations where the individual has an agenda and don’t have the capacity for listen to anything you have to say? Sigh…it completely drains you and my natural reaction to this is to completely shut down and become indifferent. It induces hair pulling and much frustration, but family is family, right?

My partner and I are looking to purchase a property together and has become an all-consuming process and has been on the back of my mind every single day. I tried to share the good news with said family member that we have found a place. The said individual then fires questions in machine gun-like succession:

  • Have you showed your mum?
  • Have you asked her approval?
  • Have you asked anyone else’s approval?
  • Is it a good area? It doesn’t sound like a good area
  • Do you know what you want?

They then ended their soliloquy with a dismissive, well do whatever makes you happy. -DEEP BREATHE-

With every dream, you will have to face the non-believers and others with their opinions. Some individuals have good intentions, though some would inadvertently project their fears and insecurities onto you. Others may have not so good intentions, some may be jealous of you pursuing your dreams and would try to hold you back where they can’t handle you getting ahead. Whatever it may be, it is important to recognise their opinion for what it is and then move on. Use that energy to refocus on yourself and gather information to make a better decision for yourself.

Whether it is trying to set up your own business, make a major purchase or quitting your job; take the time to know your why. As a performance coach, some of the key questions I ask individuals are, what do you think will be the challenges going forward? And, how do you think you will be able to overcome them? I have found that it is easy to identify technical difficulties when it comes to dreams, such as, I need to ensure I have this licence to set up this business; but not necessarily the emotional or relational difficulties.

What do you need to ask yourself?

After the conversation with said family member, I felt defeated. I started to lose focus and started asking irrational questions about myself and my dreams. Upon reflection, it is because I had expectations of what the individual should have said and feel. This is exactly where I went wrong – this is the wrong way to have conversations about your goals and dreams. We are incredibly social creatures and it is understandable why we would want to share them with others, but to ensure you don’t lose focus on the end goal.

I have narrowed it down to the follow options:

  • Either keep it to yourself, though this is not always easy
  • If you share your dreams, be objective when listening to others and only process what is worth processing.  
  • Better yet, share it only with select individuals who have the right experience and you think will be able to assist in your dreams or decision making.

It is natural to think about others and their opinion, but ultimately, you are the only person who would have to live with the decisions you have made. Stop worrying about others and what they have to say or what they are doing. Focus on your why and you will get there.