Motivation is more volatile than the stock market. Trying to motivate yourself using pure will power under unfavorable conditions is a losing battle. Sure, at times, you can pull all your resources together and muster up some heroic will power to motivate yourself.
How often can you do that? Better yet, why would you have to rely on a system that uses so much energy?
Motivation has three clear components. The first is clarity. How clear is your very next action? The more predictable and clear the very next step you’re taking is, the more likely you are to take it. The second is access. How easy is it to access what you’re trying to do? The third is time. How long does it take to get done.
- Motivation can be manipulated easily throughout your day
- Clarity is the first step. How clear is every step that your task requires?
- The Second step is access. Is your activity easily accessible to perform?
- The last step is time. Does your activity take too long to fully complete?
Clarity is the Starting Point
What most people get wrong about motivation is that they think it’s an internal power. In reality, people get motivated when it becomes convenient for them to do so. Just think about cleaning your room. Lets say the mess is big enough and you don’t know where to put everything. Now add the bonus of not having enough room for everything. Just think about how easily your motivation will be sapped in those circumstances.
Now, lets take clarity into consideration here. What happens to your motivation if you know where everything goes? You suddenly begin to feel a little bit more optimistic about cleaning your room. You have to think a lot less about the process. Lets take clarity a step further though. Lets say you had a list of the exact order to clean your room. Starting with putting away the largest things first. How much more motivation does having a refined plan add?
If the motivation is gone, then I am finished.Marit Bjorgen
Access makes Success
Having easy access to something can completely change how you feel about it. Imagine needing to vacuum your room, but the vacuum is in another room with someone sleeping or deep in a closet. Lets make it even more realistic and say that the bag has to be thrown out, but your garbage is full. The vacuum is no longer easy to access.
Lets say that your vacuum is at the corner of your room, emptied and plugged into the wall the night before. Now, you have easy access to it with little to no effort. In that case, there is less noise between you and the activity you’re trying to get done. This means that you need less will power because your environment has already done the job of motivating you. Access is a habit that you can easily setup to complements habits that you have a hard time committing to because of lack of motivation.
It’s all about Time
Lets face it, most of us don’t like to spend to long doing anything. If our friend sends us a youtube video, we check how long it is before we start watching it. We do that because we want a predictable time frame to see if an activity is worth it. The more time an activity requires, the more valuable it has to be for us to commit.
With clarity and easy access, time is already greatly reduced if our goal is to clean the room. Sometimes even that takes too long. What if we break it up into small chunks of cleaning?
For example, instead of doing an hour of cleaning, we can do 10 minutes a few times a week. If we create a cleaning system for “clarity”, then we can pick the first few things to start with on Monday. Putting the loose clothing in the hamper. Tuesday you can organize all the loose papers into a single pile. Wednesday you can dust. Thursday you can vacuum.
When you manipulate time this way, it makes it feel like your room takes a lot less time to clean. You can even set a timer to have yourself stop at a certain time!
Put it all Together for Motivation
Not everything will have a problem with clarity, access and time. Some of us will only be lacking one and some will be lacking two. Whatever you feel is the most useful to your situation will be for you to decide.
However, they all work really well together. Each of those techniques complement each other. Think about these step the next time you’re struggling with motivation. Try to ask yourself how you can make your steps clearer, more accessible and how you can break it up into easier time slots.