Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

Lazy? Or Right on Schedule


Q. I've been working on a big project for a long time. Although I try to move ahead every day, sometimes I have to force myself to accomplish even a small task. When I skip a day, I feel guilty. How can I stay motivated?"

A. When you're working on a book, job search, business start-up, dissertation, or special project, you can feel consumed by the project. And often you feel as though you can't afford to take a break, let alone a day off.

I once heard a writer say, "Sometimes I'm really productive. I write five pages on my book! Then the next day I'm drained. So I review what I've written or organize my research files."

And I feel the same way. I resist taking a day off to read a new mystery, go for a hike, visit an art museum, or watch a season of an HBO series on DVD. But the next day, invariably, I wake up eager to work. And I accomplish everything I need to do, and more.

Frankly, I've never found staring at a blank screen (or paper, in the old days) does much good. Resistance means, "Time for a change of pace!"

These beliefs are supported by scientific evidence. Psychologists who study these up-and-down activity blips have found a certain randomness operates in human productivity levels.

For example, an employee "Bill" varied his arrival time at work. When Bill was late, his boss yelled at him. When Bill was on time, the boss offered praise.

Sure enough, Bill responded. The day after the boss yelled, Bill was on time. And the day after the reward, Bill slacked off and arrived late. So, concluded the boss, praise doesn't work. And punishment does.

There was only one problem. A computer demonstrated that Bill's arrival times showed a pattern of random variation. In fact, the computer could predict quite accurately how Bill would perform - with or without praise and blame.

The same pattern has been found among students: some days you learn faster while other days you just don't get it. And some days you're productive and efficient, while other days you're sluggish.

If you've studied statistics, you're probably guessed that we're talking about regression to the mean, which is very powerful. People usually have an average level of productivity. When they work hard one day, they tend to slow down the next.

So here's an exercise. Suppose you have a writing project. You set a goal: write 500 words a day. For other projects, find a daily activity level that's easy to observe and measure.

For the next 30 days, track how many words you write (or how productive you are in the task you've chosen). Some days you'll write 1000 words, other days none, with lots of variation. Each day just record your word count, without judging your output. At the end of 30 days, calculate an average. And calculate again after 60 days.

You may find that your natural average is 300 words a day. You can lower your daily goals - or recognize that you work best with your random pattern.

Obviously, if you have a deadline, you may have to increase your output. Professional writers typically write 1000-3000 words a day.

But if you're making acceptable progress toward a goal, you can begin to understand, accept and work with your natural rhythm. Regardless, beating yourself up and feeling guilty won't work. If you're constantly falling behind, maybe it's time for a change of career - a chance to enjoy marching your life to a new beat.

Most of all, I ask my clients to remove the word "lazy" from their vocabularies - forever! When you're berating yourself for lack of progress - stop! Chances are you're right on schedule.

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., helps midlife professionals who want to make huge, medium and small career changes. Strategize, get unstuck, start a business or start over. Fr^e Report: Ten secrets of managing a major life change. mailto:subscribe@cathygoodwin.com

Contact mailto:cathy@cathygoodwin.com or call 505-534-4294

http://www.cathygoodwin.com
http://www.copy-cat-copywriting.com


MORE RESOURCES:

Arizona Sports (registration) (blog)

Motivation Monday: What motivates Dave Burns - ArizonaSports.com
Arizona Sports (registration) (blog)
Motivation comes in many forms for many people, but everyone of us who gets out of bed and takes on the day does so with some goals in mind. On social media, those goals are collected in what is known as #MotivationMonday. Here's what motivates Dave ...

and more »


OregonLive.com

Memories of Ohio State loss fuel motivation for some on Ducks' defense ...
OregonLive.com
Memories of Ohio State loss fuel motivation for some on Ducks' defense. Playoff Championship Ohio St Oregon Football. Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott runs over Oregon defensive backs Chris Seisay (12) and Tyree Robinson for a nine-yard touchdown during ...

and more »


FireEngineering.com

Fire Management: Leading Today's Fire Service Youth: Using History to ...
FireEngineering.com
However, before we write off our future, we need to take a deeper look into motivation. Also keep in mind that these individuals possess another quality that should not be overlooked and that has been overwhelmingly revealed by the Iraq and Afghanistan ...



The Courier

Dave Mackay's motivation for return from injury - St Johnstone / Football ...
The Courier
St Johnstone captain Dave Mackay has got his own personal motivation driving him towards a comeback ahead of schedule. The defender, who could be back in a Saints shirts within weeks rather than months after successful hip surgery at the end of the ...

and more »


Motivation Matters: Do your employees share the company's vision? | New ...
The Union Leader
Dr. Paul P. Baard is an organizational psychologist, specializing in motivation, with Fordham University, a former senior line executive in the television industry, and the lead author of a book on leadership and motivation. He and his wife, Veronica ...



My Twin Tiers.com

7/27 Motivation Monday: Medicine Balls
My Twin Tiers.com
(18NEWS) -- Motivation Monday focuses on the benefits of using medicine balls in your fitness routine. Click here to watch more on medicine balls. Copyright 2015 mytwintiers.com Nexstar Broadcasting, All rights reserved. This material may not be ...

and more »


WISH-TV

Motivation Monday: 3 tips for finding relief from migraines | WISH-TV
WISH-TV
On today's β€œMotivation Monday,” Tim Shurr, MA, shares three tips for finding relief from head pain. 1. Practice Stress-Reduction Techniques. High stress levels increase physical tension and evoke self-medicating activities such as smoking, drinking ...



Chip Scoggins column: Don't bet against Peterson's motivation | Duluth News ...
Duluth News Tribune
His motivation always has stemmed from his desire to be judged as the greatest all time at his position. And now a popular theory is that his motivation will exceed its normal capacity, if that's even possible. We've all repeated the logic: Peterson ...

and more »


The BoomBox

Young Jeezy's 'Thug Motivation 101' Album Is the Playbook for Go-getters Worldwide
The BoomBox
β€œI used to hit the kitchen lights, cockroaches everywhere / Hit the kitchen lights, now it's marble floors everywhere,” spits Jay Jenkins, better known to the world as Young Jeezy, on β€œThug Motivation 101,” the opening salvo on the rapper's major label ...
Jeezy Taught Us: 10 Years of Thug Motivation 101BET
Jeezy Reunites Boyz N Da Hood At β€œLet's Get It: Thug Motivation 101” 10th ...HipHopDX
Jeezy Brings Out T.I., OutKast, Usher & More at 'Thug Motivation 101 ...Music Times
Complex -XXLMAG.COM -The Republic
all 74 news articles »


Packers use final loss as motivation | Duluth News Tribune
Duluth News Tribune
I think our players are going to really use that as motivation and come back and learn from that experience and benefit from it, and hopefully go beyond it and win another Super Bowl.” Make no mistake, Green Bay has its sights squarely on playing in ...

and more »

Google News


Advertisement



Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.