January 10, 2011 at 8:56 PM 4 comments

Sometimes I struggle with motivation. I expect we all do. For example, I have been asking myself why I had to go and commit to posting every single day on this blog!

It can be hard to sit down and decide what to write about, every single day.

But that is why it is useful. It increases discipline. If I manage, that is…

I need to improve my writing discipline, if I am going to manage 90 thousand words of a thesis, not to mention the several novel beginnings I would like to finish one day.

Achievable goals help, especially if they stretch you a little, but not too much. No stretch and there is no progress, too much and you might snap!

I like word count goals, but they are less helpful when editing and no use at all when doing tasks like today’s, which was counting how much of the graffiti in stavechurches is any good.

I completed the task though. There are about 60 drawings in stavechurches good enough that they were most likely made by professionals. But a lot more that look amateur, from the competent through the reindeer-sheep to the might-have-been-made-by-a-3-year-old.

Tomorrow I need to write up the results and put them in a proper table.

But where was I? Motivation.

Sometimes I just have to force myself to do a thing even when I can hardly remember why I thought it was a good idea. I have to trust that I did have a good reason when I chose to do it! Although it is useful to re-evaluate sometimes just to make sure you still do actually want to do the thing.

Apparently it can help to write down on a post it note why you wanted it in the first place, so you are always in touch with your motivation.

I haven’t tried that yet.

Accountability is another one. That’s why the blog is so good as a writing commitment – I don’t want to let down my readers! Or at least, I don’t want cyber-egg on my face!

Some advice even goes so far as to say there should be a forfeit for failure. I’m not so sure about that, but I could try it I suppose.

I suppose the thought of failing my upgrade is sufficient of a forfeit to make me work on the thesis!

But I thought it might be fun for my readers to suggest forfeits for failure for me. I have some goals that I can keep updating and if I miss one I have to pick one of the forfeits and do it and blog about it.

I reserve the right to refuse horrible forfeits and if there aren’t any I can face, to get my cat to suggest one I can live with!

We’ll just start with the blogging goal for now, until I see what sort of forfeits are being suggested.

I have another goal, to cook once a fortnight. Tim does most of the cooking and he’d be very glad of the break without having to pay for takeout. So maybe that should be a forfeitable goal too.

How are you with motivation? Do you think forfeits are a good idea or a disaster waiting to happen? Go ahead, suggest a forfeit!


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Tired Blurry Blog Syndrome

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Fanny Agåker  |  January 11, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    I’m not sure the forfeits are a good idea… But for some people it works, definitely. But it’s not for everyone… I’d rather suggest rewards, for when you have finished so and so many tasks in the appointed time! Rewards could be be stuff like getting a massage, or an extra day off, or some activity you enjoy but don’t get to do often… or what do you think? I once read about a lady who needed to lose A LOT of weight, and needed motiviation… Her friends came up with a really nice idea, and put up a list of rewards for each weightloss milestone. For example, when she’d lost x amount of pounds one of her friends would take her out to dinner. Next milestone another friend would do something else for her. So aldready from the start she had a list of milestones and rewards, which got better and better the further she went. After loosing a crazy amount of weight her friends even went on a vacation with her somewhere warm and exotic, if I remember it correctly…

    • 2. knotrune  |  January 11, 2011 at 7:57 PM

      Oh, you’re just too nice! 😀

      The trouble with rewards is that I just don’t seem to be motivated by them. I read in a book I have about curing procrastination (hasn’t worked yet…) that if you are going to use rewards to bribe yourself into doing stuff, you have to be reliable enough to actually give yourself the reward. I have a big tendency to actually just be happy enough I did the thing that I decide that is reward enough and I don’t really need to eat a bit of chocolate after all, and it saves calories. Other things I just don’t like using as rewards. If I decide I want something, I don’t want it to be dependent on doing some task. The reward would have to be something I want enough to motivate me, but not so much that I would break the rules and get it anyway! Hmm…

      I suppose having friends be the ones giving the rewards changes things.

      Any suggestions for rewards then? Although forfeits can be fun… 😉

  • 3. Fanny Agåker  |  January 12, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    Haha, you can’t have forfeits that you enjoy! 😛 For it to actually work as a deterrent it would have to be something you utterly dislike! Like… wearing a codfish on your head like a hat! Or… Wearing your clothes inside out for an entire day out in public! Or… Starting every sentence for one entire day with “That’s funny!” and not being allowed to explain to anyone why you talked like that (until the next day)… 😉

    Well, I still think it’s better to have rewards to work towards, though I absolutely understand your problems with that too! If it was me, I’d avoid rewards that include some kind of sweats, or food in general, just because I need to stop rewarding myself with unhealthy stuff (struggling with my weight). I would rather pick something that is good for you while still being really fun! I would pick stuff like going to get a massage, or buying that special plant that I’ve wanted but is a bit too expensive, or going for a horseride, or renting a canoe for a day, or whatever you’d love doing but don’t usually get to do… =)

    • 4. knotrune  |  January 12, 2011 at 12:03 PM

      I like the wearing your clothes inside out one! I would not enjoy doing it, but it is the sort of thing that I would do… It works as a forfeit as it would be a bit embarrassing, but I am mad enough that I would actually do it!

      The fish, not so much… not a real, smelly, dead fish. A plastic fish though, if I had one, I’d do that as a forfeit!

      Your healthy rewards are good, except that anything healthy I would not deny myself, as I also need to keep losing weight and try to be less unfit. A horse ride might work, as a big reward. I can’t spare heaps of time at the mo because of working towards the upgrade, but I’m still allowed the odd day off 🙂

      I can always try a combination of carrot AND stick!


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