My dad used to say there are three kinds of people in this world… Those who look for opportunities and those who can’t count. But bad jokes aside this actually got me thinking about motivation, how do you find it, identify it, and more importantly keep it?
Both in your personal life and in business, I don’t think anyone would argue, it’s pretty important.
Just for context I’m not one of those naturally perky up at 4am for yoga before a 7 mile run and some wild animal wrestling type people, I’m more one of the set an alarm and snooze it and just manage to nod back off a minute before my kids run in and jump on me until I surrender type people.
So this isn’t advice from a guru, this is more a “hey that’s kinda interesting” thing. Everyone is different (I know it’s a broad stroke to start with but follow me.)
So it stands to reason that we all have a lot of different reasons and motivations (if you really want to get into it read some Maslow or Herzberg – links below) for doing things, but unless you were born rich, most of us need (or want) to work. Putting aside our chosen professions, there are lots of different kinds of work too. There is necessary work, work for myself work, owning a business work, managing a teamwork, love work, hard work, passion work, money work, exciting work, easy work and of course boring work. (and a few others – please send all suggestions for work not covered to @thisisproven.)
So, in a nutshell, our motivations are for the most part unique and personal. But knowing why you’re getting out of bed is arguably an important part of the journey. Maintaining that motivation during the day is what I (and apparently others) sometimes struggle with.
We all have days where work is a drag and others where it seems to fly by but if you’re anything like me your productivity will fluctuate, and you may often find yourself looking at shiny objects or picking the easy work. I was pretty sure it was something to do with blood sugar levels but apparently, it’s just a thing that most of us do.
The Pomodoro Technique
So I did some research into motivation and procrastination (while I was supposed to be doing something else – pretty ironic right) and that’s where I discovered the Pomodoro Technique. For those who speak Italian yes that’s right Pomodoro (this is Tomato in Italian) and the name apparently comes from the Tomato shaped kitchen timer used by Francesco Cirillo in the 80’s while he was developing this method.
Basically, it is a timed work and reward system and if you’re someone like me that seems to have a growing and never-ending list of “Things” to do it can be really helpful to both focus your energy and productivity and importantly keep motivated.
There are six steps in the original technique, however, I would add a preliminary planning step which includes a 5-10 minute prioritisation and creation of days “To do” tasks.
1) Decide on the task to be done.
2) Set the Pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes) There are some great iPhone and Android apps for this.
3) Work on the task.
4) End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
5) If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
6) After four Pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.
There are some great videos and articles online which delve much deeper into Pomodoro that I have here but in a nutshell, it’s a great (and simple) little life hack that I’ve found offers a wide range of benefits.
So happy Pomodoro-ing and if there are any other motivational methods (apart from Tony Robinson seminars) that work for you, we’d love to hear from you!