Wednesday, May 5, 2010
I found two other commentaries on motivation in the last few weeks. One I can't find now, but it reiterate my closing remarks in my last post: breaking things down and making incremental change. The author talked about reducing spending on entertainment by 5% each month until she reached her goal of spending 50% less in 2009 than she did in 2008. And she talked about averages: at the beginning of 2009, she spent 75% of what she'd spent, on average, each month in 2008 because it would be too hard cut her habits in half right away. By December, she was spending much less than she'd spent each month in 2008, but the reduction wasn't painful because she'd made it gradually.
The other is a post today on the Harvard Business Review (which is not stuffy or too over-your-head and has become one of my favorite blogs to read these days) about how to motivate yourself. It basically blows up the saying "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" to a thousand words, but the story the Peter Bregman uses to illustrate it is a good one.
(Image from Erupting Mind)
Plus he talks about the concept of scheduling time for second guessing yourself, which I've never thought of before. I'll have to consider how I could implement that in my daily life. Of course, just thinking about it now, I figure when its 6am and I don't want to go for a run, the thought of reevaluating my goal to exercise more at 2pm that afternoon won't be enough to motivate me; at 6am, all I want is to stay in bed and its very easy to ignore what I know my 2pm self will say when she's not even in the room.
That idea is much more applicable at work. I know that the days when I take 30 minutes to go through my Google Reader are less productive over all because I'm thinking about what I've read, what I could blog about, what I should share with people. Not my work. The days when I exercise the discipline to do one thing, even one small thing, on my to-do list right when I sit down are the days when I'm most productive because I'm in work mode from the first minute.
It's like when you're a kid and your parents say you can have desert after you eat dinner. Today, I like to think life's short, eat desert first! and assert my independence by eating cookies at 5 before we cook dinner. But, it turns out, Parents know what they are talking about - the days when I save desert for 8pm, when dinner is done, the kitchen is clean, and I'm comfy on the couch with my one true love (Netflix), are the evenings I enjoy it the most.