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:

Dolphins, Vikings Searching For Motivation Sunday
CBS Local
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) β€” With the Miami Dolphins at 7-7 and all but eliminated from the playoffs, defensive tackle Jared Odrick talked about playing out the season. β€œWe're on a team that's .500,” he said. β€œIf you don't believe that you're a .500 ...

and more »


Motivation key factor in bowl games
ABC News
With the first five games, though, set for Saturday -- it starts at 11 a.m. ET on ESPN as Nevada and Louisiana-Lafayette meet in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl -- you'll struggle to find a coach or player willing to admit that motivation is a concern.

and more »


Express.co.uk

Happy Mondays: It's not inspiration you're lacking but motivation
Express.co.uk
It's not that you can't find anything – hard skin removers, microwavable hot water bottles, novelty slippers guaranteed to go to the charity shop the day after Boxing Day. No, it's not inspiration you're lacking but motivation. Or more specifically the ...



60-80pt 1-line headline
Salt Lake Tribune
But don't tell that to coach Bronco Mendenhall's team, which has insisted since it landed in Miami last Wednesday that it is as motivated to defeat Memphis (9-3) at Marlins Park (noon MST, ESPN) as it has ever been before a game this season. The ...

and more »


Orlando Sentinel

Gators say motivation will not be a problem in bowl despite distractions
Orlando Sentinel
GAINESVILLE β€” History, circumstance and human nature say otherwise, but UF interim head coach D.J. Durkin said motivation should be no problem for the Gators. A Jan. 3 matchup with East Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl will feature a Gators' squad in ...
For Florida players, different motivations heading into Birmingham BowlFlorida Times-Union
Interim coach DJ Durkin tries to keep Gators motivatedPalm Beach Post (blog)
Interim coach DJ Durkin wants Florida Gators focusedMiamiHerald.com

all 17 news articles »


blogs.hbr.org (blog)

What Maslow's Hierarchy Won't Tell You About Motivation
blogs.hbr.org (blog)
At some point in their careers, most leaders have either consciously β€” or, more likely, unwittingly β€” based (or justified) their approach to motivation on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow's idea that people are motivated by satisfying lower-level ...



Dallas Morning News

Carlton: Baylor using CFP snub, Fiesta Bowl loss as motivation to make ...
Dallas Morning News
Baylor head coach Art Briles shrugs his shoulders as he discusses with the media the Bears' snub following the College Football Playoff championship selection announcement Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Waco, Texas. (G.J. McCarthy/The Dallas Morning ...

and more »


Javier: Our Europa League motivation
Liverpool FC
The carrot of Champions League qualification for winning the Europa League will further supplement the motivation within the Liverpool squad to lift the trophy next year, insists Javier Manquillo. A third-place finish in Group B of the continent's ...

and more »


Susman: The importance of long-term motivation
Oregon Daily Emerald
When the going gets tough, people often wonder if the stress and anxiety are ultimately worth what they are supposed to be getting at the end. (Emerald Archives). Posted by Grant Susman on Friday, Dec. 19 at 11:00 am.



Daily Californian

Israeli military film 'Zero Motivation' explores female friendship
Daily Californian
β€œZero Motivation” explores how a total lack of interest in accomplishing goals neither guarantees nor denies the likelihood of success. Director and screenwriter Talya Lavie's debut film chronicles three female administrative officers as they attempt ...
'Zero Motivation': Like 'M*A*S*H,' with female soldiersThe Seattle Times
'Motivation' is lackingBoston Globe
'Zero Motivation' review: Neither dull nor compellingSFGate
Milford Daily News -Heeb Magazine -Jweekly.com
all 50 news articles »

Google News


Advertisement



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

Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.