Unconventional Motivation Techniquesby dave on 2007-07-18
I've read a few articles on motivation and procrastination lately. Everyone in the bay area seems to be trying to be as optimized as possible. I've found most of what I've read to be obvious or just plain crap however. They usually involve things like "just do it", or "trick yourself into thinking you'll only spend five minutes on it".
There are two obvious problems with these. One, my mind somehow always finds out when it's trying to trick itself. Second, if I could get myself to "just do it" I wouldn't be putting it off and reading your article for help would I?
Anyway, I've devised a few unconventional techniques to deal with my own procrastination and motivation issues. Through practicing these 5 techniques you're (not really) guaranteed to become the master of your motivation.
1. Out-Lazy the Laziness
You can't get yourself to "just do it" because you're in a crappy, lazy mood. At least, it's too crappy and too lazy for the task you're up against. You could get up and run around a bit but that would also take that burst of motivation that you're just not feeling at the moment. Fortunately, the lack of motivation has left you with an abundance of laziness! (Just stick with me on this.)
So you say to yourself, "Alright self, you want to be lazy? I'll show you lazy," and force yourself to watch a horrible and especially boring movie. Make sure it's not television or you'll be too tempted to change the channel. I might suggest Crossroads or anything else staring a teen idol. Mediocre movies that you've seen 100 times also work.
Watching a movie is an easy thing to get yourself to do while you're lazy. Anything sounds better than actually doing your work. The trick is, the movie's an especially boring one and you have to watch the entire thing in one sitting even though you know you have tons of stuff to get done. After 93 minutes of Not Yet a Woman, you'll jump at the opportunity to do anything, especially your work. If there's still a significant amount of laziness left, press play and watch it again. If after 2 watches you still find yourself content to sit in that chair and call a friend, you have some bigger problems.
2. Get Pissed
This one's pretty self explanatory and can be very powerful though it's the dark side of motivation. Make sure you don't use too much of the dark side. Find a group, person, place, or any noun really that's keeping you down. Maybe they don't believe you can't finish the task, maybe they're making it harder, or maybe they just think you're an ass because you for some reason get pissed all the time. In any case, blame all of your problems and and more on that noun and then go about your work to prove that you're better than them.
For a more dramatic effect, walk around with randomly tucked in clothing, never maintain your hair, keep an imaginary friend, and mumble things like "I'll show you all!" to yourself but loud enough for others to overhear.
3. One-Sided Love
This method is the opposite of method 2 and only really works as long term motivation. Set your sites and heart on a person who's a bit out of your league. Make sure they are, by getting a few rejections or asking their friends, because if after a short while you find that they actually like you, the whole plan is dead. Anyway, liking a person out of your league can be a very motivational factor as you attempt to get in their league. It uses the same "I'll show you" mentality as getting pissed but with a positive spin.
4. Get in Shape
I'm not talking about physical shape. (That probably would help too. I wouldn't be the one to attest to it.) I'm talking about getting in shape with work, whether it's physical, mentally draining, or monotonous. Work is a lot like running. You can't sit on your butt for 3 years and expect that you'll suddenly be able to run a marathon. You have to work yourself up to doing certain amounts of work and concentration a day.
Listening to music can often be a big mood changer. My weapon of choice is often a one Mr. Frank Sinatra. Specifically "Let's Fall in Love".
_"Weeeee might have been meant for each-other! To be or not to be, let our hearts disc-cov-er! I have a feelin' its a feelin' I'm concealin' I don't know why. Its just a mental, incidental, sentimental alibi...." _
Maybe it's my jazz band background but if you listen to that and don't feel classy and like dancing, again you have some problems beyond the scope of this article and need to call a friend. It's almost guaranteed to move your grouchy butt from sitting in your lazy chair to sliding across your previously unappreciated wood floors.