Riding the Waves of Motivation

Brian Barela

“Motivation, productivity, efficiency—these things are not constants. In my experience, they come in waves. They ebb and flow, and there’s no sense in fighting it. The key is to recognize a productivity surge when it appears, so you can roll with it.”–Jason Fried from a recent Inc. Magazine post.

I produced two days of high quality work this week, coupled with exercise and extended family time. I felt a rush of adrenaline after getting so much done, and tried to convert that adrenaline into more high quality work.

It did not work. At all.

Jason Fried shares this advice to people like me who try to consistently achieve high productivity:

1. You can’t.

2. Stop trying so hard—if it feels like work, something’s wrong.

3. Do less stuff.

“Do less stuff” challenges me the most out of the three. Yet it’s the one that creates the most space in my life to recharge and ushers in a new wave of productivity. I would add “Do other stuff” to complement this challenge: mowing the lawn, taking a walk, getting outside and being active in some way help me recharge.

Preparing for the waves of motivation to come can be as important as the waves themselves. I use Things for Mac to manage my tasks; I enjoy the “Projects” section of the tool as it allows me to organize those non-urgent but important tasks that I can focus on when a wave of motivation strikes. If you have no tool that helps you plan and focus on the non-urgent/important tasks in your life then you may want to spend a few minutes browsing the Time Management category here on Staffhacker for some great tips.

Of the three tips Jason shared, which one is hardest for you?

By Brian Barela | Posted: Jul 21, 2011
Category: Time & Task Management | Permalink | Post a comment | Trackback URL.

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