Motivation: How to Get it, How to Keep it

Apologies for the half-finished post that made its way up on the internet.  Ah, the start of a new academic year!

Motivation is a fickle friend.  I started this post about a month ago and have let it sit as new and more fun tools and trends passed through my mind.  Such is the way of things.  But as I sit here hunkered down as the winds of Irene keep beating at my window, I am motivated by the threat of losing power to finish this post.  I am also motivated by looking at the week ahead and knowing what my schedule holds.  I find motivation when I’m forced, oftentimes.  While I am very intrinsically motivated as a human being, I find myself having difficulty closing if I do not have a deadline, or an impending natural disaster.  Motivation is a tough issue to negotiate and wrestle, but in his TED talk, Daniel Pink gives a great summary of motivation, motivators, and expectations.

On top of the sage words of Daniel Pink that I have shared above, here are four ways of keeping momentum that I use, and can help when you are feeling like the task list is getting overwhelming:

  • Watch an Inspiring Talk
    TED Talks are addresses from some of the top thinkers, creators, and innovators in fields ranging from human trafficking to statistical analysis to storytelling, coming together to relate the human connection of their work to the audiences.  Whether in your field (as this talk from Sheryl WuDunn would be for me) or an inspiring human story (listen to Aimee Mullins’ talk for some insight and inspiration), watching them reinvigorates you and reminds you why you are working so hard towards this
  • Use the Pomodoro Technique
    The Pomodoro Technique is a terrific way to keep motivated for those who do not like doing any one task for a long period of time.  For those who need variety with bits of concentration in between, the Pomodoro Technique allows you to plan for chunks of time (25 minutes, about as much as a kitchen timer has) that you set aside for one concentrated task.  The worst case scenario, you get 25 minutes of good work done and if your brain is cooked by then, you can move on to the next 25 minute task.
  • Embrace that Failure IS an Option
    A lot of what holds us back sometimes is the fear we will fail.  And we will.  But that need not prevent you from moving forward.  There is no worse sticking-point that the fear of failure, but from some of the greatest failures in history, came the greatest successes.  For a reminder of those success stories, check out this article from Newsweek.
  • Seek out Inspiring Quotes
    From BrainyQuote to ThinkExist, there are a number of great sites out there that compile quotes of motivation, inspiration, and achievement.  Sometimes a few small words of encouragement or wonder can set your mood straight to regaining your own awe-worthy words.  Remember, “It is not the Mountain we conquer, but ourselves” [Sir Edmund Hillary]

– SES

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One Comment on “Motivation: How to Get it, How to Keep it”

  1. […] I know that I have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.  The Pomodoro Technique is based on the idea that you set a kitchen timer […]


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