We’ve now gotten almost halfway through the Motivation Staircase. In Part 1, we defined what Motivation means; and in Part 2, we used that understanding to move from “I won’t do it,’ to I can’t do it,’ to ‘I want to do it.’ The question now is how.
Knowing how to do something is important, as it creates a boost of confidence that motivates you to do that thing. However, it’s just as important to know how to start and continue.
How do you get past wanting to do something to actually doing it?
The following productivity strategies have motivating elements to them. Therefore, they increase your productivity and motivation at the same time.
Now, stretch your legs and get ready to run up the final steps of the Motivation Staircase.
1.Don’t Break the Chain
You don’t need much in terms of materials for Don’t Break the Chain. Just grab a calendar and a writing utensil. If you don’t have a physical calendar on hand, pull up a calendar on any electronic device. Next, think of something you want to start doing or stop doing (e.g. Start: reading every day, working out, meditation, putting in some work on an ongoing project, etc. Stop: watching more than 1 hour of tv per day, eating fast food, smoking, getting less than X hours of sleep, etc.
Mark each day you meet your goal on your calendar and try not to break the chain. You’ll not only have a visual representation of how well you’re doing, but you’ll also have a source of motivation to continue (to not break the chain) at least until it becomes a habit.
Of course, you can’t be too hard on yourself, and life can be unpredictable. Therefore, this technique should allow for sick days and even off/rest days. Perhaps your goal might be at least four days a week instead of all seven, and you try not to break that particular chain.
2. 10 Minutes vs Procrastination
Sometimes, the thought of starting something feels so daunting that you’ll find just about anything else to do instead. Procrastination is real, and you’re not alone. However, with 10 Minutes vs Procrastination, you can set aside ten minutes to do what you keep putting off. After ten minutes, you’re free to stop.
Starting something is usually the hardest part, but this technique provides motivation to start it with no strings attached and without feeling as much dread. Yeah, some days you’ll stop when it’s time. However, there will be days (and this will surprise you) when you don’t mind continuing past the ten minutes. You just had to get past the hurdle of starting.
3. Productivity Journal
If checking things off a to-do list is not your thing; or, if you do use them but find it’s not working, a Productivity Journal might be for you.
Take a few minutes at the end of each day and list all the things you accomplished or completed. Some days may have zero to one thing listed, and other days may have several.
Journaling and reflecting on accomplishments can be a great source of motivation for some.
Take Away Points
- Remember that there are factors that can jeopardize your motivation to get things done even with the best system in place. Some of these include lack of sleep, other people’s negative influences and distractions, and an uncomfortable work environment. Be aware of things that decrease your motivation and productivity and try to mitigate them.
- There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Finding a system that works best for you is key, and this list is a good place to start in that discovery. For example, you might find that a combination of what’s listed is effective, or one of these techniques paired with something you’re already doing.
- When finding the right system, do something you know you can easily maintain. For example, having ten techniques simultaneously is hard to maintain. Moreover, it doesn’t make it any more likely to get things done compared to one or two. Also hard to maintain is committing to a technique you don’t like. For instance, committing to a Productivity Journal when you absolutely hate journaling.
- These techniques were curated to illustrate effective productivity methods that also help to motivate. In other words, they can replace or supplement your standard to-do list.