The Ultimate Motivation Routine

When it comes to harnessing your own potential, creativity, labour, whatever, we all wonder about what would make for the ultimate lifestyle to boost our productivity and motivation. What can we be doing differently to really embrace productivity and start climbing the ranks faster at work, or getting that screenplay done this week, or begin working out? Whatever your goals are, you want to be achieving them sooner rather than later, and learning to embrace yourself, your needs and a more productive lifestyle is always going to be the key to this.

That’s exactly why we’ve put together a quick article going over the ultimate motivation routine. A grandiose phrase for what simply comes down to knowing yourself, I know, but that’s what this is. Start understanding your basic needs and what productivity really is, and you’ll start producing more than ever before without that much more effort. And once that train gets rolling, it gets hard to stop!

The Core of Productivity

In a lot of ways the real core of productivity is always going to be self-discipline, momentum and motivation. That combination will see most people go far. Being productive generally falls into one of those three categories, but each comes with caveats and limitations.

For instance, self-discipline is extremely finite. There’s only so much you can force yourself to do before you run out of self-discipline and need to do something fun or restful. That said, you can build up the amount you can do with self-discipline with practice. David Goggins, the ex-SEAL and ultramarathoner, talks extensively about “callousing the mind”. Getting used to self-discipline, pain and determination. Pushing through difficulties to achieve your goals and continue getting after it. However, as Cal Newport notes in his book “Deep Work”, there’s only so far determination can take you before your output begins to suffer. He reckons you can only achieve around four hours of maximum output work a day, tops. This is something to bear in mind when you think about what you want to get done in a day.

Motivation and momentum are very similar. Other synonyms include inspiration, impetus, enthusiasm. The list goes on. It all means the same thing. It’s the point at which enthusiasm and engagement with your labour take over and it begins to cost you less to keep working than it does to stop. Your satisfaction and engagement with the work at hand is deeply satisfying and continual. The problem here is simple, it’s hard to get into this kind of flow state. In fact, it’s so good when it happens that this is something we all shoot for, but sadly it tends to come around too infrequently. That’s the exact problem, we become dependent on it, and inspiration and motivation rarely strike when you want them to. This is exactly why being dependent on motivation for productivity is so limiting. But used in conjunction with self-discipline and balanced with respite and rest, and you can build a really high productivity lifestyle.

Balance and Respite

As I briefly mentioned at the end of the last paragraph, almost as necessary as discipline and motivation is balance, respite and rest. Without taking the time away from your labours, you’re going to struggle to maintain any kind of real productivity moving forward in life. We can all generate a hard couple hours work once in a while, but the real trick is getting that hard couple hours done every single day. Once you get that down, you can achieve some really massive things.

The key thing to remember is that while we’re constantly overestimating what we can get done in a day, conversely we wildly underestimate what we can get done a year. Or maybe we underestimate just how long a year is. Either way, we can change a whole lot more than we think we can in a year, and that’s the only way anyone should be thinking when it comes to motivation and productivity.

In essence, you need to both be your own carer and boss, and know when to pull either of those characters out of yourself. For instance, it can be far too easy to continually beat yourself up for not doing enough work when in reality, in order to get more work done, you need the carer figure from yourself. Treat yourself like someone you’re looking after. Reflect on when you need tough love and when you need rest and care. Take a step back and try to be self-aware of these needs.

Self-Awareness is the Key

Fundamentally, it all comes down to self-awareness. Without being fully aware of your own needs, behaviour, triggers, pitfalls, you can’t hope to play to your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses. No one should go through life with an existence dictated by their own limitations and blind spots, but this is exactly what a lack of self-awareness causes.

Embracing self-awareness can be as simple as beginning to meditate, or starting to listen more to people around you. Gratitude as well can be a great path to taking a step outside of your own head and learning to be aware of your own behaviour. While this isn’t going to be an overnight change, you will start seeing changes in yourself fairly quickly if you actively try to embrace self-awareness, as will people around you.

As far as productivity and motivation is concerned, without self-awareness, you can’t hope to accurately and concurrently engage with your own needs and strengths. Without this awareness how can you hope to become as skilled, competent, driven or engaged as you want to be? This is why self-awareness isn’t just crucial, it’s the key.

What Do You Need?

This is the big question we should all be regularly asking ourselves. What do we need to be happy? To be successful? To be content, consistent, agreeable, productive? What support do we need to put in place in order to become exactly what we want to become?

There’s a variety of different things to think about. From socialising, relationships and family, to diet, exercise and rest time. Even sleep. These are all basic needs you need to factor into a successful routine, and if you manage to get it done right, you will see massive leaps forward in your ability to produce exactly what you to. In the end, it’s all about self-care, self-respect and self-discipline. These skills of the self will see you thrive, if you incorporate them into your life.

You will never get it perfect however. No matter how good your routine gets, no matter how much you feel you understand yourself, how strong and productive you are, you will always have room for improvement and refinement.

Strive for Clarity and Challenge Delusion

As a rule to live by when it comes to how you regular yourself, striving for clarity of thought and always looking to challenge delusion is key. We are all deluded about something or other, and our clarity is often clouded by a myriad of different things, from ego to other issues. Striving for clarity and challenging delusion should be part of the constant process of refinement we live in, continually looking to be better than the us of yesterday.

What Works for You? Refine It

In the end, there’s no one, clear obvious routine that’s going to produce pure, consistent motivation, and to believe otherwise is to set yourself up for disappointment.

There’s always going to be a billion different routines and approaches for you, but the only one that matters is the one that works, and finding that takes trial and error.

For some, getting up at 5am is the holy grail of productivity and focus, for others it’s sleeping in till at least ten. For many, avoiding alcohol and other intoxicants is the key to staying clearheaded and productive, but try telling that to Bukowski or many other writers. The point I’m making is a simple one. There’s a million ways to succeed out there, but an equal number of ways to fail, the only consistent way to find the ways that work for you is trial and error.

Play with your lifestyle, try a ton of different approaches, diets, routines, whatever. Just keep trying different things and you’ll stumble onto the right routine for you. Self-awareness is always going to be a solid place to start out, combine that with working toward something you’re passionate about, as well as thinking about what rest you need to compliment your work. Ask any athlete, rest time is every bit as important as work time. Ask an artist or writer, and they’ll often tell you that inspiration strikes most often in periods of rest. Don’t read that as being an excuse to not be productive all the time regardless of inspiration however, that’s crucial too.