Finding motivation can sometimes be the hardest part of a daunting task: when there’s a big project deadline coming up or you simply need to get your head down and wade through e-mails, it’s sometimes difficult to muster up the willpower.
It doesn’t need to be so hard though. As with most things, breaking willpower down into its parts can help you understand yourself, and push yourself to succeed.
When people refer to ‘willpower’, the thing that comes immediately to the mind is the idea of resisting temptation: whether it be resisting opening that Facebook homepage or heading to the fridge. However, willpower is more complicated than that. Willpower is not just saying ‘no’ to short-term satisfaction, it’s realising that the short-term is the key to your satisfaction. It’s all about breaking yourself down and finding that key idea that motivates you.
Kelly McGonigal, author of “The Willpower Instinct” breaks down the inner conflict we have into three parts.
1) The Won’t
2) The Want
3) The Will
“The won’t” is the part we all know about. This is the part where you think about the distractions, and try and level them out by thinking about the bad elements. So, you might think: “I won’t check my Twitter because it actually doesn’t matter what Stephen Fry is doing”.
“The want” is the primary motivator. “I want to finish this project so I can afford buy myself that birthday present”. What is it that this task achieves? How does it benefit you? Maybe visualise yourself succeeding at the task, or simply break down why it is you want to do the task in the first place.
Then, “the will”. This is the immediate prospect. For this part, start by splitting the goal up into small chunks. By allocating yourself small tasks like this, you get yourself into the mind-set of the task without diving straight in.
What you’ll sometimes find is that some tasks take 20% of the effort but complete 80% of the task, and after that it’s nitty gritty which you can grind out, knowing how close to completion you actually are.
- If you’d like any help or advice regarding project management please don’t hesitate to contact me.