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Motivational Strategies

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  • Motivational Strategies

    I've been using GTD for a couple of months now and I definetly like it. The problem I have is sometimes I just plain lack motivation. No system in the world is going to do the work for you. Does anyone have any motivational strategies for the times when they just dont have it?

  • #2
    I have adopted a few ideas from Mark Forster ( that work well for me when I need a kick to get moving.
    In short I create a list with 4 columns and head each column 5 min,10 min, 5 min and 10 min respectively.
    On the left hand side I write my major context related next action categories:
    @ Computer
    I also add the following:
    Process Inbox
    Office Tidy-up

    I then set a timer on my Palm for 5 minutes and then spend 5 minutes pecking away at each area (listed on the left hand side). For example, I'll do all I can from my @Computer list until the timer goes off. Then I reset the timer and spend 5 minutes on my @Calls items, and so on. When I've made it though the 5 minute items I then reset the timer for 10 minutes and begin again. If I'm not done everything by the end I begin at 5 minutes and start all over again.
    Amazing what you can get done this way.
    I often find I have to pull myself away from my work, as I start to build momentum.
    Hope this:
    a) makes sense
    b) helps

    Craig Kennedy


    • #3
      DA video clip


      Maybe you'll wanna check DA's video clip, called "How to make permanent change".

      I found it to be very motivational.



      • #4
        Re: Motivational Strategies

        Does anyone have any motivational strategies for the times when they just dont have it?
        A blogger, and friend of mine, has some ideas/comments on Motivation over here:


        • #5
          A couple of years ago Marria, from the GTD board at Delphiforums, shared with me an excellent self-talk she was developing for focussed motivation. I wonder if she launched it …



          • #6
            I read an NLP technique once that goes as follows:

            1. Think of the consequences of NOT doing whatever it is you are trying to get done;
            2. Imagine those consequences are a huge, black, steel locomotive;
            3. Imagine that locomotive is hurtling towards you, getting larger every second, and filling your field of vision, steam screaming from valves …

            This should get you moving.

            Repeat as necessary until procrastinated tasks are done.


            • #7
     can be extremely useful for removing blocks to doing what you really want to do. It's free. There is stuff sold at the site but you do not need to buy it. There is a free manual to download. It has most of what you need to know.


              • #8
                Getting Motivated

                Jojo wrote:
                Does anyone have any motivational strategies for the times when they just dont have it?
                First, I would like to suggest some bases that need to be covered to make sure you "have it" more often in the first place.
                • 1. Get adequate sleep. "Lack of motivation" is often a symptom of chronic sleep deprivation.
                  2. Vigorously exercise on a regular basis. It makes it easier to get yourself moving and keep yourself moving even when you don't feel like it.
                  3. Eat properly. "Lack of energy" is often a symptom of insulin rebound effect, "crashing" off of caffeine, or lack of blood flow caused by digestion of a heavy meal.
                Here are some more tactical things that you can use in the moment.
                • 1. Give yourself a clear, verbal command to get started, and use your name in the command. For example, "Scott, start writing the report." This is from ConZentrate! by Sam Horn. It is based on the idea that hearing your own name snaps your mind to attention, while the clear command gives your mind something on which the attention will focus.
                  2. Do a "five minute task" for the project. It is just a short, simple, non-threatening starter task. Mark Forster suggests that you accompany it with self-talk that contains the word "just." For example, "I'll just get out the file...." It is also better if the starter task requires you to get up and do something physical. Doing physical work helps you get mentally engaged.
                  3. Write out and/or review the desired outcome(s) of the project. This will remind you of your original motivation for working on it.
                  4. Mind map or write about the project for a few minutes. In addition to being itself a "five minute task," it can also help you gain clarity about the project in general and the next action in particular.
                  5. Challenge your next action. DA writes that we frequently get stuck on a project because our next action is poorly formed. It may be a project instead of an action, or it may not be the next action. Make sure your next action is actually the very next physical thing that you need to do to move your project forward.

                Hope this helps.


                • #9
                  Nice post Scott.

                  I have Sam Horn’s book on the shelf at home, not yet read. I have dipped into it once or twice and found useful tips. Is it worth a complete read through?



                  • #10
                    Remove "noise"

                    [Warning: Long rambling post ahead.]

                    Before I chime in, let me say that I speak from some experience on motivation. I've spent several years of my life in a de-motivated and procrastinatory state and I've only recently made some changes that have pulled me out of it and in the right direction.

                    A big part of what got me moving again was Getting Things Done -- but not the first time that I read it (nor the second or third). I had read the book originally about two years ago and failed to fully implement the concepts until very recently. What happened that made the difference?

                    Several months ago, I was frustrated that I was not moving forward on any of my goals. I started to delve into the motivational literature a bit and realized that much of it contains the same messages. One book that stood out for me was The Ultimate Guide to Mental Toughness by Daniel Teitelbaum. He basically says that you need to 1) decide what you want 2) visualize it happening in an emotionally stimulating way 3) use positive self-talk to "hypnotize" yourself to move toward that goal.

                    Now, if you've read any book or listened to any tape set on motivation, you'll have heard some version of those steps also. What does this have to do with GTD? Nothing yet -- but bear with me.

                    I have always had a kind of subconscious resistance to this motivational approach and a strange kind of fascination with the Getting Things Done approach. But why? One day it hit me: I realized that I could only apply the emotional visualization approach to at most a handful of projects. I wasn't willing to do that because I didn't want things to fall through the cracks so to speak. Also, I didn't feel that I should need to work myself up emotionally to do what shouldn't be that hard to do anyway. In both respects, GTD made more sense.

                    Then, it dawned on me that the GTD approach advocates some visualization also for projects. But I noticed that, unlike many other motivational courses, Getting Things Done is a little sparse on directions for how to visualize. Everyone else can't seem to say enough about it -- why? Then came the big a-ha: if I were to ask David how one should visualize the desired outcome, I felt that he would probably say something along the lines of "visualize whatever you need to to get it off your mind. Whatever images, sounds, events, things, come to mind when you think of the successful outcome are what you should capture."

                    Immediately, this response reminded me of the "noise" factor. Have you ever talked to someone on the phone when there was noise in the backround? Did you find it distracting? Did you find that it was holding you back from really paying attention?

                    It occurred to me that I had a lot of "noise" in my mind regarding my own activities. I had thoughts and ideas about my work and my life that I had not even identified or clarified -- that were holding me back from everything that I was trying to do. I also had "noise" in the form of committments that I knew I wasn't remembering or following through on as efficiently as I could. And when I say committments, I mean even very little committments -- a card to mail, a book to buy, a light bulb to change -- anything that I might want to do something about at some point in time or that I promised to someone else.

                    So I began writing and I realized that I wasn't just writing -- I was collecting. A-ha! Now it made so much more sense why you have to collect everything that may be on your mind. If you don't, those un-collected things act like noise on your attention -- they distract you and, if allowed to accumulate, will de-motivate you. Bingo!

                    Then I realized that GTD is not primarily about a system or gear or about collecting things bottom up or top down. It is fundamentally about acquiring a clear head. All the tools, tips, and techniques are for that purpose. The whole point is to remove anything that has a part of your attention so that you can decide what to give attention to and to do so fully at any given moment.

                    As soon as I realized this perspective, almost everything clicked into place and many GTD behaviors showed up automatically -- and so did a whole lot more motivation.

                    Now, whenever I feel somewhat sluggish or de-motivated, that is a signal to me to one of the following:
                    1) I have things in my head that I have not written down (and it could be something at any "altitude" to use David's analogy, or an idea about a project, or an alternate action I could take)
                    2) I have changed my mind about or mis-categorized some actions on my lists
                    3) Or, I have not reviewed my lists.

                    Invariably, one of those things, if addressed, will instantly get me moving again. It's just amazing.

                    I hope that's as helpful to someone else as it was for me to write it.

                    Thanks for listening,
                    Phil Gomez

                    P.S. - If you're reading this, Mr. Allen, I can't thank you enough for your work.


                    • #11
                      Sam Horn

                      Busydave wrote:
                      I have Sam Horn’s book on the shelf at home, not yet read. I have dipped into it once or twice and found useful tips. Is it worth a complete read through?

                      If you read it through you will find lots of useful tips presented in a lively, readable style. I recommend it.


                      • #12
                        Thanks Scott



                        • #13
                          Also, you don't have to FEEL like doing something to do it.
                          That is Emotional Reasoning.
                          You just DO IT, whether or not you "feel" like doing it.
                          I've developed a little "trick" related to this. Whenever I don't "feel" like doing something (especially small or mundane tasks, like going down two floors to get another bottle of milk, or doing the dishes, or going to the next room to put something away...), I tell myself: "So what?". Meaning that indeed it doesn't matter whether I feel like it or not, it just has to be done. And this also somehow reminds me of the fact that I'll be glad it's done. This seems to work quite well for me.