Motivation is Managing Yourself Right

When it comes to achieving big, big things in life, motivation and inspiration are always going to play a role. However, so is hard work. You need both in balance to hit all the right notes and get the right things done. That’s why we’ve put together an article all about how to look after yourself and optimise your work ethic for maximal output and maximal motivation. This is why motivation essentially boils down to managing yourself right.

What Kills Motivation?

This is always going to be a vital question. What is it that’s undercutting your work ethic, and seeing you get far less done than you ideally want to? What’s making you lose interest, focus and energy, pushing you to go scroll on your phone and eat snacks while achieving nothing?

Sadly, there’s no one answer here. It could be a million things unique to you and your psyche. There are so many different aspects of you that could be actively holding you back, it’s definitely unhelpful to talk about this in absolute terms.

The fact is, we all have our own idiosyncrasies and issues that prevent us from achieving our best.

That said, there are a few thought patterns we’re all guilty of. Failing to appreciate our own hard work, being too hard on ourselves, failing to care for ourselves adequately, failing to guard against overwork and burnout, and worst of all, failing to get to know us. In short, far too many of us are being a bad boss to ourselves. Let’s face it, there’s more than enough terrible micromanaging bosses out there to annoy us without us joining in.

Treasure Your Energy and Work

So, you didn’t get as much as you wanted to get sorted done today? Not great. Not ideal. But what did you get done? What did you achieve? Presumably it’s not the end of your career and aspirations, right? Chances are you got some stuff done, and you should be grateful for that. Grateful that you had the strength, discipline, intelligence and foresight to get that bit of work done.

Once you get the ball rolling and start making real progress, it’s easier and easier to get more and more done, until you’re having truly productive days, watching yourself get more done than you would have thought possible a little while ago. However, in order to reach this point and keep at it, you really need to value your own resources and work. You can’t hope to keep this hard work going if you’re just going to expect more and more. This is no way to treat a great employee who’s getting major stuff done. Treasure your energy and hard work and be pleased with yourself.

Negativity is Rarely Helpful

I say rarely, because sometimes, a little bit of annoyance and self-doubt can whip us back into shape. The point at which it becomes supremely unhelpful is when it starts to impact your self-belief, self-esteem and ability to keep working and moving on.

Every time we mess up, we should be annoyed, then move on and learn from it. Click To Tweet

By using every annoying mistake as a learning curve, you can expect to steadily become better and better at whatever it is you’re hoping to master.

On the other side of the coin, if every time you make an error you give up and beat yourself up, first of all you’re not going to achieve very much. You’re just going to keep falling at the first hurdle. Then you’re going to keep destroying your ego and self-esteem to the point where chronic imposter syndrome and self-doubt just become themes to your life that prevent you from coming anywhere near your potential.

So, make sure you don’t pat yourself on the back when you make a mess of something, but by the same token, don’t spiral every time every little thing goes wrong. Not everything should be read as a damning report of your incompetence, but rather as the lesson that’ll see you achieving greater and greater things in time.

Treat Yourself Like Someone You Look After

This one I got from Jordan Peterson. If you treated someone else the same way you treat yourself inside, would you expect them to get much done? That’s the question you should be asking yourself. The fact is, most of us have far too little consideration for ourselves, our needs and our limitations, and when we hit these limitations, we’re far too hard on ourselves. Or in some cases, not hard enough.

You need to be thinking, what approach is going to see me growing from this? What is going to see me developing and becoming more skilled? Is it a little bit of tough love? Is it some sympathy, self-care and understanding? If you were looking after a teenager, and every time they got a low grade at school, you berated and screamed at them, you’re going to produce two things in that teenager. Resentment, towards you, and academic achievement, and low self-esteem. Neither of these is ever going to help towards achieving bigger, better things. Let’s say instead, you accept this teens every failure with uncaring ambivalence. That too isn’t going to help foster a better attitude. You need a balance. Berate yourself when its useful and give yourself a break when you need it. Treat yourself like someone you’re looking after.

Guard Against Overwork

This one is a little obvious. We all like to think we’re guarding against overworking ourselves and trying too hard for too long, but the reality is that the definition of overwork is so nebulous and diverse that what might be a mind-breaking amount of work for one person is another person’s fun Saturday afternoon. Our workload also changes and can be trained up and lost as a result of lack of practice.

You need to know your limits, because once you begin reaching those outer limits, your work is going to suffer, and your ability to work is going to suffer.

If you just keep pushing, not only will you kill your work quality, but you’ll also ruin your motivation in the days following. The fact is, if you don’t guard against overwork, you’ll reduce the amount you can get done overall. So you’ll have produced bad quality work, for the sake of continuing working, while being incapable of working at the same level again for a little while. Not a good idea, avoid overwork and burnout like the plague.

Know Yourself

Kind of an obvious statement though, right? Avoid overwork? Obviously, you should avoid overwork, but how exactly do you do that? I’ll tell you how. You pay attention. You get to know yourself and see when you’re really suffering from working too much.

The key to succeeding at literally anything in life is knowing yourself. Knowing your skillsets, weak points, outer limits and needs is all vital when it comes to optimising your work output. Once recognised, you can double down on your strong suits, you can mitigate your weak points, you can push your outer limits and you can meet your needs properly. Self-awareness is vital for high achievement, as well as for simply being happy, functional and socially competent. Pay attention to yourself, think about your past, what you want from your future, your behaviours and abilities, and then use that information.

Prioritise Rest and Recuperation

Sadly, if you live in many places in the West, the predominant work culture is corporate workaholism. While this approach can absolutely work for a small, dedicated few, for the majority of us, committing the best bit of our lives to the profit lines of a corporate body that doesn’t care about us is always going to be a thankless and soul-destroying endeavour. While you might not work in a corporate environment, in a lot of ways, this way of viewing work pervades every part of our society. If you’re not up early, going for a run, eating healthy, learning a language, starting a business, all before starting work at seven AM, you’re not really trying.

That isn’t it. That isn’t the ideal workload for 99% of people. We all work differently, with different needs and abilities. In tribal groups, humans would rarely work for more than twelve hours a week, attaining the necessary food and resources. If our natural state is less than two hours a day, how is that ten-hour goal going to make you feel? Sure, some of us can thrive at this level of work, but don’t let it trick you, this isn’t necessarily the norm, nor is it necessarily healthy.

That’s exactly why you need to prioritise rest and recuperation. A little bit of R&R can go a long way when it comes to getting big things done. Recognise that having a weekend off can supercharge the week that follows and see you getting bigger, better things done. Rest, recuperate and come back harder and stronger.