How often have you stared at unending task lists, unread emails, and mountains of paperwork… dreaded working on them? I wish it was too late so you could quit.
I know what it’s like to want to hide from work. Not wanting to do the work doesn’t imply it disappears. Unfortunately, most motivational strategies didn’t work for me, so I had to use counterintuitive methods to get work done.
If you’re like me and struggle to stay motivated, it doesn’t have to be this way.
1. Set up a punishment system
People are twice as likely to work to avoid punishment, even if they don’t like it, as they are to work towards a reward.
Daniel Kahneman, a well-known expert on motivation and the author of “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” found this out through his many experiments in psychology.
So instead of just focusing on getting a treat for being good, it would make more sense to find a way to make bad things happen if you don’t do your work.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- You have to eat something bad if you don’t go to the gym after work (e.g. something bitter, like grapefruit)
- If you don’t start your new business or work on it, you have to give money to charity (bonus points if you give to a charity you “don’t” support).
- have to take a cold shower if you don’t get out of bed on time.
Anyway, the point is to make the “good” choice seem easy compared to what it would cost to not do it. You can even add rewards to this to get people even more excited.
2. Use Pressure from Others
We never really stop feeling pressure from our peers. So, if everyone around you wants you to do something, good or bad, you are MUCH more likely to do it.
Try to get your friends and family to “peer pressure” you into working on your goals.
For example, the first thing you’ll want to do when you get home from work kicks back and relax. But if your family starts to “gang up” on you and encourages you to work out, it might be hard to say no.
If that were the case, you might find it hard to “not” go to the gym. So, try to make your close group of people more productive. So, you won’t let your mood or lack of motivation change what you do, and you’ll be able to stay on track with your goals.
3. Change your worries into trash-talking competitors
This is a little bit interesting. It’s similar to the last tip, but this one is even sharper. If you’ve ever been on a sports team and someone talked trash about you, you know how frustrating it can be.
But what’s important is that when this happens, your anger turns right away into a desire to kill your opponent. And trust me when I say you shouldn’t ignore this power.
When I was afraid to send an email proposal to a client or open their email and read their possibly negative response, I would imagine someone saying to me, “I bet you won’t send it” or “You’re too scared to open it, aren’t you, scaredy cat?” Then I’d get mad and get it done in the end. And it worked every time.
I know it’s strange. But when used well, it can do amazing things.
It works especially well when you’re putting off a task because you’re worried about it. Most likely, it’s because it doesn’t hide your anxiety; instead, it reroutes and focuses on it.
I know these ways of getting people to do things are a bit strange. But if you’ve tried everything else and still can’t stop putting things off, you need to think outside the box if you want to be successful in life.
So give these ways a try and see if they make you more motivated.
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