I have trouble motivating myself to do interesting things. If I don't force myself not to, I'll tend to sit on the couch eating cheese-puffs and reading web comics all day. I don't think there's anything wrong with eating cheese-puffs and reading web comics, but I would like to accomplish things in my life. I want to look back on my days and years and be able to point to many things that I have done to make the world a better place in small or large ways. So I need to do things.
The problem is, there are many things that I could do, and I don't find myself too motivated to do any of them. Or I'll work on them a little bit, but when they get a little bit hard I'll change gears completely and work on something else. This causes me to make little overall progress on any one thing.
I need to hack my brain so that I am motivated to do interesting things. At the lowest level, I've known for a while that my physical state of being dramatically effects what I want to do. If well-rested, moderately full, and have been drinking water regularly, I'll be much more willing to do interesting things. Similarly, if I've gotten some vigorous exercise then I'm more likely to be motivated.
These are probably the things I can do that will have the most impact on how motivated I am, and I've known about these thing for some time. Obviously just knowing that I should do those things is not sufficient.
Here are the actions that I will take:
- Carry around snacks and a full water bottle, and use them before I need to.
- Notice if I am getting hungry, and immediately make plans to go eat. If I'm doing something worthwhile, then I can put off eating. If I'm just puttering around, then I should go eat immediately.
- Go for a morning jog. I think that even a quick mile jog for a few minutes would work well. I'll try this tomorrow morning and see how it goes.
So that's my plan to deal with the physical sources of ennui. What about other sources?
I've found that I can be a lot more motivated if I'm accomplishing something. Basically I need to set up success spirals for myself; to use other words, I need to put myself in a state of flow.
One way to do this is to break up any job that I have to do into multiple chunks. General to do lists are helpful, but I often get discouraged if the list items are large. I think I need to focus on much smaller, simply achievable goals.
Another thing that I can do is visualize success. Think about what it will feel, taste, smell like to have this thing done. Think about bragging to my friends about having made this awesome thing. Visualize having the thing done, and playing around with it. Consider all of the things that I will have learned from the project, and all of the people that I will have helped.
Lastly, I can use other people to help motivate myself. I've unofficially been trying to do this with my RSS feeds by subscribing to the feeds of amazing people who do interesting things. The thing is, I usually just get wrapped up in reading all of those feeds. The idea seems to be a good one, but the implementation needs work.
What I'll do is keep a list of things that are incredibly motivating to me. Any time I find a new picture, video, or blog post that gets me excited about doing things, I'll put it on that list. When I'm feeling un-motivated, I'll take a look at that list of things and watch a few from it, then get back to doing my own things.
I was motivated enough to write this, now I just need to be motivated enough to put it into practice. It'll be a success spiral of motivation.