Whoopee! It’s gone. January, farewell, the accountant’s hell, season
of deadlines, screaming fits and stimulant-fuelled all-nighters: our pressure cooker month. At last the pressure’s off and we can
sit back and…what?
Go on working like crazy, that’s what – because February’s just January without deadlines.
So how do you maintain momentum when there’s no pressure?
Well, firstly, you do sit back. Have a weekend off: you’ve earned it! Then get straight back into the saddle, and if you feel no pressure urging you onwards, create some!
No, I didn’t say create some stress, I said create some pressure. Create yourself tight schedules to work to, because if you don’t Parkinson will kick in and your tasks will ‘expand to fill the time available’. And be sure you’re being effective, not just efficient, or you’ll end up doing things which are pointless, even though you do them brilliantly. Speaking of which, remember what we’ve already learned about brilliance and perfectionism: keep them in perspective. Performers will spend hours practising a single bar of music but, hey, making the coffee’s just making the coffee!
Remember nothing succeeds like success: if you feel you’re on top of things, you will be. So ensure you have specific goals and targets. Keeping Pareto in mind, know which 80% of your goals are best served by the crucial 20% of your activities. De-chunk your tasks: break them down into smaller tasks which you can see disappear as you complete them. And anything you do, learn to love it: find the fun! What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, writes Nietzsche.
Here’s a list of extra tips to boost self-motivation.
- Mix with motivated people.
- Never cease learning: always read, watch, listen.
- Be positive: find solutions not problems.
- Don’t think: do! If you’re stuck, do something else!
- Know your own enthusiasm patterns.
- Chart progress: you’ll nurture something you see grow.
- Help others.
- Accept that sometimes life is tough.
- Don’t work nonstop: take breaks.
- Cherish your motivators: pictures of baby seals, jelly babies, Mozart, whatever. If it fuels you, have some.
- Don’t procrastinate.
- To beat writer’s block writers simply write. Rather than nothing, do something!
- Reflect on Zig Ziglar: People often tell me that motivation doesn’t last and I tell them that bathing doesn’t either. That’s why I recommend it daily.