OT: Help with motivation

Kevin Miller kevin at runrev.com
Wed Feb 23 06:30:26 CST 2005

Hi Tom,

I use a whole range of different techniques depending on the circumstances.
Being really effective and productive is something you have to make a
priority and keep working on.  The most important techniques for me:

* Am I sure that I want to be doing this now?  Is it really in my best
interests, or is it better to be doing something else?  A lack of
motivation, if not explored, is quite often because there is some other task
or project that is actually more important and more pressing.  Be sure you
know exactly what is the best thing to be doing next and prioritize.

* Knowing for sure you should be doing that difficult task now is usually
enough, you just get it done.  However if you're still stuck, just get
started with the aim of doing 15 minutes on it.  Remember, with a difficult
task, motivation for the task comes *after* you get started, not before.  As
you get into it, your motivation starts to kick in.  Usually you can work
longer once you get into it.

* If your mind is not clear or you are under particular pressure:


Then the last thing you need is TV, or any other activity that stimulates
your over stimulated mind.  A clear, uncluttered, fresh mind is what you
want.  The easiest and most reliable method I've found for attaining that is
to go meditate for 15-30 minutes.  Its like having a nap but more effective,
clears your head, leaves you fresh and ready to get started.  A great book
on meditation is "Meditation for Dummies".

* If you find yourself surfing the web or working on some more exciting
project than the one you have determined needs to be doing next, stop
yourself as soon as you become aware of it.  Your mind is capable of finding
all kinds of ways to procrastinate, particularly if you've been working for
15 hours and the last task of the day isn't much fun.  Be aware of the
consequences of not completing the deadline - e.g. that the time wasted will
have to come from somewhere, so would you really prefer to be surfing the
net than going out for a drink with your friends or family later?  Not only
that, but the time you take out will feel better if you've completed
everything you intended for the day.

There are loads of other techniques that are important, like taking breaks,
taking days off, eating well, rewarding yourself when you complete a
difficult task - even if you have other things to do, managing your energy
levels, rotating difficult and easy tasks, breaking tasks down into small
chunks, delegating, saying no when you can't do something, creating
deadlines for all tasks, meeting internal deadlines with the same commitment
as external ones...but without going into detail, right now I know there are
other things I know I need to be doing ;)

Kind regards,


Kevin Miller ~ kevin at runrev.com ~ http://www.runrev.com/
Runtime Revolution - User-Centric Development Tools

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