Productivity and GTD
4 Strategies to Get Motivated in New Year
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
According to Daniel Pink, author of the book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, what drives most people to do things is basically the satisfaction they get by simply carrying them out. Under certain circumstances, working can be just as exciting as not working at all.
When we enjoy what we do, it is our own intrinsic motivation that drives us to do things to the best of our abilities; we do not need any type of external reward. To that intrinsic motivation to become a permanent driving force in your life, you must create an appropriate environment to strengthen the pillars that support it: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
Based on this theory, that is backed by science, I propose four strategies to improve your motivation and productivity next year, while you enjoy what you do.
1. Review your performance in this year
Making a personal and objective review of your past performance is an important reflection to find out where you’ve fallen short and to establish the next steps in your personal pursuit of mastery.
How has the year gone? Did you establish some goals to accomplish? Which ones? Do you feel they were the right goals? How was your performance against each objective? What is your level of satisfaction with each of them? Be totally honest. It’s about learning from your mistakes.
Do you remember the concept of flow, introduced by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi? So try to remember which activities made you feel the time was flying. What were you doing? Where were you? Who were you with? Acknowledging your flowing moments will allow you to grow such experiences and reduce the times in which you’re not committed to what you do.
2. Define your vision for the new year
How would you like to end next year? What would you like to have achieved? You need to have the destiny in your mind to correctly define the steps that take you to it. Be honest and realistic, and define a vision of yourself at the end of the next year.
Now you are ready to set your new goals for the next year. Some of them will not be new, but extensions of the previous year’s goals (a goals does not have to take exactly one year).
Make sure each goal is related to your vision of future. To achieve excellence you need to link every aspect of your work to a higher purpose.
Finally, remember that your goals should be S.M.A.R.T.: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-related.
3. Set a time for side projects
Some companies, like Google or Atlassian, encourage their workers to spend a fraction of their working time in their personal projects—no matter what, as long as they are shared with the company. This way they encourage the autonomy of their workers, improve their skills and performance, and gain some ideas that have led to millionaire businesses.
Do the same. Set a time for your personal projects: 20% of your time, one day a week, one hour a day, whatever… And define the personal projects that you would like to work on in the next months. In addition to the benefits that I present here, having side projects to your regular job allows you to leave your comfort zone and be more autonomous, something absolutely necessary to keep your intrinsic motivation.
To be effective, these personal projects should be challenging enough. They shouldn’t be too simple so you get bored working on them neither too complicated so you don’t want to face them.
4. Learn… and teach
If you’re good at what you do, you will love doing what you do. What skills do you need to improve? Determine what aspects of your life and work need a boost. Focus on them to get closer to mastery.
Remember that deliberate practice allows you to improve your performance. Repeat, repeat and repeat. Doing more of what you do allows you to be better at what you do. The reason that a basketball player can hit 9 out of 10 free throws, is that he does hundreds of free throws every day.
Read books and take a course if necessary. Find a mentor. Or get a coach. Do not forget to feed your personal growth.
They say the best way to learn is by teaching. When you teach what you know to someone, somehow you strengthen your knowledge and you make it grow. You can write about what you know on a blog. Or you may look for an apprentice.