How do you motivate yourself?

I attended a painting exhibition of local artists and left wondering (perhaps not the right word?) why I hadn’t yet managed to populate the walls of my home with canvases … as intended when I moved it. This house asked for colour and, two years on, it’s looking a little disappointed at my slap-dash delivery.

I felt guilty and bought a small watercolour that I thought would fit nicely with some of the “curation” I’d managed so far.

A lot of people claim lack of time. I’ve said it myself often. If only there were more than 24 hours in a day!

But I saw a TED Talk recently that suggested a different cause. Successful women don’t have more time than the rest of us. Instead, they prioritise differently. (Interestingly, women were the subject of that research as it’s not a problem for successful men?!)

Her talk got me thinking, but perhaps not as she intended.

What if the problem is, instead, or also, insufficient motivation for the things we would prefer to do?

What if motivation is an appetite that just needs to be feed? When fed, I wonder if our priorities might change?

So, the question to explore today is: How to manage motivation? What has worked for me in the past? What has worked for you in the past?

External deadlines

When the teacher says an assignment is due, there are two choices. We can either leave the class or complete the assignment. We’ve already invested in the class, so the assignment will probably be completed.

I just love learning new stuff, which makes taking classes an easy win in the motivation stakes.

My tip: Alternate between a class for work skills and a class for passionate pastimes. For example, sign up for a short TAFE certificate that will add to your resume and ratchet up you employability. Then when that’s done, treat yourself to an indulgent class in something purely pleasurable.

Maybe I’m a bit weird, but I found university as a mature-age student ridiculously pleasurable.

Pile of papers

External influences

The hunt is on for sources of inspiration and information.

Magazines were my influencer of choice for many years, back in the old days, before smart phones. Whether it be gardening, or art, or drawing, or knitting, or …. whatever, there would be a magazine devoted solely to that topic. Some more beautiful than others.

Stepping it up a notch with a moving image, Bunnings knows that the way to get people through the door on the weekend is to sponsor a lifestyle TV show on Friday night.

Although I find more inspiration in their competition on another channel – Gardening Australia!

There are now entire TV and YouTube channels devoted to single topics.

And today, with my smart phone sitting at my bedside, with my Facebook feed populated with useful prompts, I rise before dawn to hunt for a dominate external influence as I scroll.

Joining a club

I moved to a new suburb after my long-term rental was sold. The new owners evicted everyone so they could renovate and strata the block of nine flats. Now, there’s an unexpected external influence, but I digress.

In my new suburb, there was a pottery society just around the corner. They ran classes. They provided glazes already mixed. They fired our efforts in their kilns. Membership fees and firing costs were kept to a minimum as profit was not their aim.

I joined up.


Why does this work?

I arrive home. If I head straight for a screen, not much then happens. If I turn on the radio, stuff gets done.

It has to be instrumental music, the genre doesn’t matter, just no lyrics as they get in the way. This makes ABC Classic FM the radio station of choice.

Motivational music will be inherently personal. We will each have our favourites.

But if the choice of music is NOT working, then mix it up until you find the style that pushes the right buttons. There is so much to choose from.

What next?

I have a problem this morning. I started the day as usual with the Facebook feed, but a few sponsored posts caught my attention. Now I want to do too many things with my day …

Design and make a range of fashion clothing …

Cover multiple canvases with gorgeous colours …

Build vegie gardens from the back door to the back fence …

… and finish a blog post about motivation!

What will you do next?


What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: