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Think big and act small. Leslie Koch
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« Motivation (continued) | Main | Newsletter »


What exactly is motivation and how do you motivate yourself? There’s a lot of disagreement about the answer to these two questions, and I certainly don’t claim to have found the perfect answer.

But I have been having an interesting experience over the last couple of weeks. I thought I had a great deal of motivation for two projects in particular. And yet my motivation for both of them collapsed at virtually the same time.

The first of these was writing a daily blog post. Some of you may have noticed that the last proper blog post I wrote was on Monday April 25th.

The second one was regular exercise. That lasted for a few days longer, but the last time I took any proper exercise (either gym or running) was on Friday April 29th. Since then my motivation for both blogging and exercising has been just about zero.

“What’s so special about that?” you may be saying, “People lose motivation all the time.”

Yes, but in this case I can put my finger on exactly what it was that caused me to lose motivation. I only realized it today when I started both writing and exercising again - and became aware that what had caused me to lose motivation was no longer there. Or to put it the other way, the factor that gave me motivation had been put back in place - today. The effect was immediate.

What do you think that motivating factor might be? Think about it. I’ll reveal the answer tomorrow!

Clue: There are no outside circumstances involved. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you already know everything you need in order to have a good guess at the answer.

Reader Comments (10)

My guess is that you've started a new project, Mark- testing a new system or writing a book.
May 7, 2016 at 19:59 | Unregistered CommenterChris Cooper
You're on top of your work again. All caught up. No backlogs. No long list.
May 7, 2016 at 20:32 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
You've gone back to no-list and asking yourself what is the best thing to be doing now?

Or, you've gone back to AF1 temporarily -- always a good standby when you are stuck.
May 7, 2016 at 20:46 | Registered CommenterWooba
You've back to No-list with AF1.
That is the system to get back on the wagon.
if not please revive it and remove its flaws if you feel, it works so good.. but it takes a break..but not for long, just a blink of some context and you are back.. that,s my experience
And I am sure, Many of its users have got a good opinion about it.
Have a coffee if you like before working on it. BTW wheres the Button.
May 7, 2016 at 21:18 | Unregistered CommenterRavi Rajguru
I think Wooba gave the correct answer. Mark began testing a new open list system shortly before publishing it in his latest email newsletter. Mark has, until today, been using and refining that new system. Today, Mark re-deployed one of his no-list systems and his motivation has returned.
May 7, 2016 at 21:47 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Love the last paragraph of this post; reminds me of the old Ellery Queen murder mysteries' "challenge to the reader."

I agree with Wooba and Michael B. -- your newsletter described a catch-all list method but it was not highlighting the projects or outcomes that meant the most to you. Returning to a no-list method meant the things of most importance or urgency to you got the attention they were missing.
May 8, 2016 at 1:33 | Unregistered CommenterMike Brown
My guess is that you just needed a break from routine. We all need vacation or time off to pursue a variety of activities. After being refreshed, motivation comes back.
May 8, 2016 at 2:14 | Unregistered CommenterPaul B
Perhaps you had been rising and going to bed at random times rather than definite times, thus losing structure in your day.
May 8, 2016 at 8:31 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret1
Ravi Rajguru:

<< Have a coffee if you like before working on it. BTW wheres the Button. >>
May 8, 2016 at 8:33 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
My guess is that you lost motivation and focus with a catch all list and now it has returned with a short 'no list'.
May 8, 2016 at 8:53 | Unregistered CommenterLeon

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