OT: Help with motivation

J. Landman Gay jacque at hyperactivesw.com
Tue Feb 22 18:52:45 CST 2005


On 2/22/05 4:56 PM, Thomas McGrath III wrote:

> Hello listers,
> 
> I hope this is not too far off topic.
> 
> I have been having problems getting myself motivated. I have a possible 
> customer for a few ideas I have and he said as soon as I'm ready that he 
> will try and sell them for me. I even have a lot of ideas for this 
> project. But I can't seem to get started. I have been sitting here for 
> weeks reading this list every day and opening up REV but still can't start.
> 

I have been there so many times I no longer need a map to find it. :)

What I do is: anything related, however remotely. Sometimes that just 
means reading the client's email and thinking about how I'd solve the 
problem. Sometimes it is looking through a stack with no intention of 
changing anything. Sometimes it is sketching on paper how I want things 
to look, away from the computer. Or pseudo-coding a single script. Or 
writing a tiny little function that will be useful down the road if I 
ever get around to the rest of it.

Usually I find that the problem is not the job itself but rather getting 
myself started, so I need to trick myself into getting involved. Once I 
start, the rest takes care of itself.

So I tell myself often: "Just DO it." I think about how bad I feel when 
I have something hanging over me and how much better I will feel when I 
don't. I promise myself I will quit in ten minutes (and usually I end up 
doing more.) I tell myself I will only work till lunch time. Or bed 
time. Or just until I have this one handler written, or this one layout 
done.

One of my biggest self-tricking ruses, and probably the one I use most, 
is to promise somebody I will do something by a certain deadline. I am 
compulsive about deadlines. So I make them for myself and then tell the 
client about them, even though they never asked me to. "I will have that 
for you by Wednesday," I say. (I have to tell them, I can't just think 
it, because I am not so compulsive about breaking promises to myself.) 
Then I am forced to do the work even if I don't want to, because living 
with being late is harder for me than anything else. (This trick may be 
a by-product of being an American. I understand other countries aren't 
as particular about time.)

My brain sometimes doesn't know what I'm up to, and falls for it.

-- 
Jacqueline Landman Gay         |     jacque at hyperactivesw.com
HyperActive Software           |     http://www.hyperactivesw.com


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