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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Using Love to Find Motivation

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At Jewish World Review is an article by Helen Carefoot on turning goals into accomplishments. The article draws from several productivity experts to offer both general advice and specific tips pertinent to becoming better organized and more effective -- but laudably mentions that different things work better for different individuals. Accordingly, it advises self-monitoring and adjustment.

That last is indispensable. Over time, I have come to regard advice on productivity to be almost as difficult to evaluate and apply as advice on nutrition for the same kinds of reasons: Individual situations are variable enough and the science behind some of the advice (i.e., psychology or nutrition) is not well-enough established.

Having said that, I regard this as the kind of piece that offers most people a chance of finding something valueable. In my case, I expect to put the following to good use the next time I have to deal with certain kinds of tasks that normally bring out the procrastinator in me:

Image by Cristian Giordano, via Unsplash, license.
Drumming up enthusiasm to accomplish even mundane tasks is half the battle, she said. Tying consequences and rewards to tasks helps them get done. "Think about the reasoning behind it and ask 'how can I find the "I want to" in that task,'" she said. For example, [Liz] Sumner recently obtained an Italian driver's license after several less-than-fun visits to the Italian equivalent of the DMV. Her motivation was being able to drive in her new home country, and she used that to propel her through steps such as making time to study for the test (which was given in Italian) and booking appointments. [bold added]
I wouldn't call this (or advise?) "tying" consequences and rewards to a task so much as discovering and retaining awareness of those things. Yes, you could try to "gamify," but I think looking for a real motivation by love will work better, by tying the goal and actions to the rest of your knowledge and values.

This advice reminds me of the visualization techniques Mark Murphy recommends in Hard Goals, but one can go further. If one has to sit and wait at the DMV in order to enjoy those scenic drives, why not also find a way to use or enjoy that time, in the likely case that the room is not filled with the world's most scintillating conversationalists? I did just this at the DMV a few years ago, when I wrote part of a blog post on a smart phone -- using the venerable, 1960's-era emacs text editor -- just to see if I could.

-- CAV

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