Masterclass on motivation

Some books and  essays I will have mentioned

“The willpower instinct” by Kelly McGonigal
“The now habit” by Neil A. Fiore
“Drive” by Dan Pink
“The power of Moments” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.


Some videos

Fogg behavior model in 2 minutes and 30 seconds
Kelly McGonigal’s Google talk about willpower
Dan Pink’s Ted Talk


18 strategies for what to try when motivation falters

1. Is it reasonable to feel motivated in this situation? Perhaps not. Let go of the idea that you have to be constantly engaged and committed.

2. Is there a poor match between your situation and your natural motivation? You may need to change the situation or go somewhere else.

3. Is this just a natural dip? Maybe even an expected dip? A dip is not a permanent state of affairs. Sometimes you have to accept that you are low on motivation. Soon, the curve will point upwards again.

4. Are you spending a little too much time worrying about your lack of motivation or how boring something is? You can limiting the amount of time you spend brooding by having a set time and duration each day set aside for you to think about this. When thoughts come up, you know you can think about them later.

5. Is there some part of your work that you are still motivated to do? Focus on that part. Is it possible to make that part a larger part of your assignment? Could you convince your boss or client to let you do more of this thing?

6. Is it possible to redefine your work so that you can use more of your talents (i.e. doing what you are good at and what is easy for you)?

7. Is it boring because it is too easy, or too difficult? Can you lower/increase the difficulty of the work? Can you lower/increase your level of ambition?

8. Does your goal feel too large or complex? Break it into smaller tasks so that you can get a feeling of momentum and accomplishment.

9. Can you make the things around the boring parts more fun, like working at the nice caffe, or scheduling lunch with your favourite colleague?

10. Can you add your own goals to make the task more interesting and meaningful? For example, you might hate having so many meetings but device on the private goal for the day of listening better, or communicating more visually.

11. Is there someone you admire or who inspires you that could help you or give you some advice?

12. Is there someone near you who seems especially motivated right now? Go and talk to them and see what happens.

13. Are you having difficulties because you are doing the boring part at the wrong time of day? Your motivation will be stronger in the morning and be used up throughout the day. Don’t waste your motivation. Prioritise tasks better.

14. Can you get rid of things you are unmotivated to do? Can you change tasks with someone else? Or you can solve the boring parts once and for all or make them easier to do (automation, templates, etc.). Can you buy yourself free?

15. Plan for fluctuating motivation. Think about the things you have to in the near future. Which things might decrease your motivation? What can you do to prevent these things from happening? Make up a plan for what you will do if that thing happens (cf. pessimistic planning).

16. You don’t always need as much motivation as you might think. Often it is getting started that is the hard part. So deliberate less and just jump in (like you might jump into an icy swimming pool). Makes things easier to begin by remove unnecessary friction). Try the tactic if saving some of the simple/fun tasks for tomorrow.

17. You can train your willpower by picking a very small thing to work on (a small yes or a small no). This trains self-monitoring (pausing before acting).

18. And yes, sleep, meditation, slow breathing, and of course exercise, all make a huge difference.