Last Updated Nov 17, 2010 6:50 AM EST
- Use Your Competitive Spirit. Give me someone to compete against, and I'll find reserves of energy and motivation that I never knew I had. You might well be wired the same. Perhaps you love the idea of competitions like National Novel Writing Month or maybe you'd be great at losing weight if you were competing with your partner. Look for a way to turn your work into a competition: this could be something informal with your friends, a competition that you find online, or even something you start up yourself.
- Tell Yourself "I'm Just Going To..." You're keen to write a book. The problem is, you never feel like starting. Every weekend, you promise yourself you'll spend two hours on it but somehow you never find the time and energy. Instead of trying to make a huge commitment, start ridiculously small. Tell yourself "I'm just going to open up the document," or "I'm just going to spend five minutes writing." Usually, you'll find that initial resistance vanishes once you get going.
- Set a Timer (and Try to Beat It). When you want to squeeze out a bit more work in a bit less time, race against the clock. Give yourself a challenge: if you think that cleaning the kitchen will take a half an hour, set your timer for 25 minutes. Using a timer encourages you to stay focused -â€" partly because you know that time is ticking away, but also because you know that after half an hour (or whatever), you'll be done!
- Listen to Music. If you exercise regularly, you'll probably know already how useful music can be. The same goes for almost any work that you're doing. If you're trying to power through your emails or get your filing done, fast and energetic music can help you feel awake and energized. For more cerebral tasks you might prefer music which helps you to feel calm and focused.
- Be Accountable to Other People. Accountability is a really powerful motivator. It can be incredibly simple to put in place, too: you're planning to do a certain amount of work on a website you're designing, so you put a quick message on Twitter or Facebook to say what you're working on. You can go further with accountability, too; perhaps setting up a small group of friends or colleagues who meet regularly to discuss progress and future goals.
- Give Yourself Rewards. Although completed work is often a reward in itself, it's sometimes the case that the pay-off seems a good distance away. By giving yourself small rewards, you can make difficult tasks seem much more desirable.
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