How to stay motivated when you’d rather be elsewhere

Self-motivation is the factor that separates the most successful from the mediocre. More than skill or talent, the ability to start a task and keep at it even when you’d rather not is often the key factor that determines those who reach the top of their field. However, knowing this fact is not enough. No one functions at 100% each day. We are all human and we all have limits on how much of an unpleasant task we can perform before our interest wanes. Unfortunately, important tasks tend to come with some degree of unpleasantness. They either take a long time, require careful application of skill, collaboration with others you’d rather avoid or a combination of all three. This can create conditions where a person would rather not start a task because they feel the effort required is not worth the initial reward.

What do you do when you find yourself showing up at work but not being able to push yourself to complete tasks? As it turns out, quite a lot.

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Know who you are

The first week of February is here. By now, the majority of people who made New Years’ Resolutions have given up on them. If you are a regular at your local gym, you probably saw a lot more people having a go at the machines during the first week of the year only for the numbers to slowly dwindle down to the regulars by the end of the month.

The same water that softens the potato hardens the egg

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Time Management is Self Management

As a personal productivity enthusiast, I genuinely believe people want to make better use of their time. I also believe everyone has goals they want to achieve. Yet a lot of people struggle with time management. Lately, I have been giving the matter a lot of thought and I have reached the conclusion that most people struggle with time management because

Time Management = Self Management

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Self-discipline is what turns plans into reality

Self-discipline icon

“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”

Scottish Proverb

Everyone is an expert at wishing for exactly what they want. The student who refuses to study until a day to the exam wishes for an A. The man who refuses to exercise wishes for a muscular figure. Some people go a step further to write down what they wish for. It’s called a New years’ resolution. After that, nothing changes because nothing happens.

For most people, what stops them from acting on their plans is not a lack of interest or a willingness to change. It is a lack of self-discipline. It takes great mental power to be able to say “No” to lying down at home instead of going to the gym.

A definition of self-discipline
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Know what you like, then make it a career

A handwritten card that says "do what you love"

This is the second post about choosing a career that you love if you want to be at your most productive. If you missed the first post from last week, you can read it here. Choosing a career you enjoy is one of the most rewarding decisions you can make in your life. A few weeks ago, I had a discussion with someone who told me about a friend of theirs. That friend had been doing a job they didn’t like and that wasn’t even paying them well for the past 15 years. Assuming the friend lives for 60 years, that’s a quarter of their life spent being miserable!!! You don’t want to be that person.

Know yourself

Knowing yourself is the beginning of wisdom. We all have different strengths, weaknesses, interests and values. All these factors and many more add up to create a composite of who you are. We are not all destined to be bankers or pop singers. If you are the sort of person who finds it difficult to sit in one place for more than a few minutes then a desk job might not be for you. If you are the sort that can’t talk about the virtues of a product to random strangers, you might want to think twice before accepting a job in sales or marketing regardless how much it pays. Mitigating your weaknesses is possible but it often requires a great deal of effort and dedication. It’s easier to play from a position of strength. Make a list of all your strengths and weaknesses. Most people instinctively know what they like and the kind of activities they enjoy doing. Is there any career that requires you to use your strengths?

Eight people motivated by different things
What motivates you?

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