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 Post subject: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:42 pm 
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Thinks Plants Have Feelings
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Location: St. Clair Shores, Michigan, USA
I am currently having one of the worst lack-of-motivation experiences in my college career with probably the most important and future-impacting assignments in my curriculum.
I just can't find that spark and excitement I had at the beginning of the semester. On top of that, I'm a little bit behind in the assignment progress list by about a week.
(An adorable kitten trying to grab up as much attention as she can isn't helping either, as cute and adorable as she is.)

So PPK, what do you use to motivate your lovely selves when you need to get shiitake done? Reward system? Music? I'd like to hear what you do in hopes to find something that'll help me.

yours truly, DelectApple

ps- motivational pictures are also welcomed

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:45 pm 
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I feel you, dude.

I have the same problem : (

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:12 pm 
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Huffs Nooch
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I have HUGE time management and motivation problems, so I'm looking forward to responses to your thread. Sometimes I'll use a reward system, like, if I do such and such then I can watch one episode of one show or go out for coffee and chatter. To-do lists sometimes work to motivate, but other times get left undone.

Stuff's tough.

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:18 pm 
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Trapped On A Desert Island With A Cow
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Okay, and take this with a grain of salt because I'm taking a break from the pre-writing of a 15 page paper due Monday, what I like to do is to do things that represent progress towards a more distant goal that I really care about. For instance, today I went to a graduate school application workshop, which really makes me want to get my asparagus in gear and take my education more seriously. A lot of it is also just playing head-games with yourself, getting excited about things that might otherwise invoke dread (like the tremendous learning opportunity of writing a 15 page research paper in three days!). Do something that makes you remember why you love what you are doing!

Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:24 pm 
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I need to follow this thread because I need motivation too.

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:28 pm 
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Chip Strong
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I kind of suck at this to. To-do lists help a bit because crossing things off seems really relieving. I like writing things that really don't take much time so that I can feel like I got a lot done when I get to cross it off. Letting myself eat a piece of cake or something after finishing an assignment can be good, too. Try to remove all distractions if possible. If I don't need the computer to do my assignment, I need it OFF and out of sight. I try to pick up my apartment before I start on something, because the mess distracts me. I also like to have had a shower and be fed or else I'll just be thinking about those things, too.

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:28 pm 
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Sometimes, I just set up a rewards system. For every task or checklist I get done, I get a treat. At the end of the semester when I am burnt out, I just leave threatening notes for myself everywhere. That seems to work pretty well. I am not kidding.

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:29 pm 
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I have had this problem since high school. In high school, I motivated myself by having my goal be to get into a good college. In college, it was to work hard enough to get into a great law school. In law school, it was to get a job as a lawyer. Now that I'm working...dude I don't know WHAT THE fork I can look forward to to concentrate on. Sometimes the heaviness of a case helps motivate me. But on a bigger scale, I need reminders as to why I want to do anything, including get out of bed. I've had a hard few months though. So... yeah. Will follow this thread.

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:35 pm 
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Reward system. Not even significant rewards, stuff like 'when I finish writing this page I can fork around on the PPK for a while!'

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:46 pm 
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I go through serious motivational peaks and troughs at the moment which I think drives everyone around me nuts. For background I got my phd in Feb this year and am now trying to get a post-doc or entry level lectureship. What gets to me is folks saying either that I just have to persevere (friends, family) and something will come or that they don't understand why I am having so little luck (my supervisor, academic colleagues).

It gets quite tiring. Being under employed, doing part time work to make ends meet, writing new articles for submission, constantly applying for jobs I feel I will get nowhere with based on the last 8 months experience (but yet you still have to try), and keeping happy-ish (at times) can be tough.

So what motivates me when I am in a oh ffs frame of mind? To be honest I also take a bit of strength from being in adversity. The idea that I will get through this and not give up can be a strong motivation. Setting a small goal each day makes me feel like I have got somewhere. Checking off something on a list helps me think I have got something done. Thinking about why I am putting myself through this process. Admittedly this gets harder once major goals have been achieved but still, I don't know, working for that holiday, or to have the time to do something else works. In addition, taking a break from things can help if you can. If writing a paper is dragging me down then I go for a walk, or cook something, just to get a small break. Finally, I have a partner now who I am committed to and who has such a degree of faith in me at times it scares me but most of the time it is inspiring.

Sorry, that ended up quite long.


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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:50 pm 
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Thinks Plants Have Feelings
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Coffee, To-Do lists, background noise and sort of a reward system. I don't say "When you're done with X, you can go to the coffee shop." I put the coffee shop on my list. Like so:

To do:
- clean fridge
- make fudge
- eat fudge
- fill out reports
- calls
- COFFEE SHOP
- send reports

etc, etc.

Honestly, making sure that you prioritize something fun or relaxing, no matter how small, is important. That way you don't feel like a slave to the tasks. Your time and needs outside of your obligations are very valuable and should be treated as such. Without ignoring the obligations of course!

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:02 pm 
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Honestly, when I really need to get things done, I unplug the internet. It makes it much more difficult for me to procrastinate.

To-do lists also work really well for me. I have a running to-do list in a word document, which helps me to use my free time efficiently. Sometimes I get moments when I wonder what I should be doing, and that way I'm reminded to write my paper instead of going on the ppk.

Another thing: I really like alternating when studying. So, thirty minutes studying, five minutes doing whatever. I think in a similar thread on the old ppk, someone mentioned baking bread, and I really like that idea. That way you can study while it rises.


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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:14 pm 
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AutumnLeaves wrote:
At the end of the semester when I am burnt out, I just leave threatening notes for myself everywhere.


This is kind of hilarious.

I usually use the rewards system too. I'd do an hour of work, then take a twenty minute break to putz around on the interwebz, do another hour of work, eat a snack, etc. etc. I think the key for me is not expecting myself to be able to do hours of hours of unbroken chores/work.

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:21 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy
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I use a mixture of list making and rewards. I love crossing things off a list, plus getting it down on paper lets me organise things into some kind of order. I use a "small and often" reward system, like a 10 min break every hour or so (unless I'm getting stuck in to something then I use the motivation when I've got it!) if it's feasible. The thing that motivates me the most is big scary deadlines, although I don't have a lot of these since I finished studying.


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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:32 pm 
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The hardest part is the beginning.
I tell myself to start and only do this work for 15 or 30 min. This seems not too bad.
Once started things become easier. Normally I get "the flow" and things done.


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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:39 pm 
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eatsbabies wrote:
Honestly, when I really need to get things done, I unplug the internet.

This is a smart idea. Though I'm not sure I could bring myself to do it.

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:45 pm 
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I agree, getting started is the hardest part. It's what I should be doing right now instead of repsonding to this thread.

I was thinking about this on my way to school today, actually. I realized that the only time I've gotten something done (homework-wise) in a timely manner is when I slept over at a friend's house and we spent the evening doing homework. She's really good with time management, and since she was doing her work I did mine too.

If I'm in my room and have a paper or something long to work on, I get myself settled for the long haul... sit at my desk (not my bed! Glad I finally learned that), cup of tea, background noise (i've been going for the Cool Jazz station on Pandora) and just dive right in. Take short break to get more tea, quick shower, whatever when I feel I'm really losing focus. Oh and put my word document in full-screen mode so I don't get distracted with any other windows... internet, games, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:48 pm 
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Ignore this!
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When I'm really struggling with motivation in a serious, desperate way, I usually need to hit rock bottom and have a full-on crisis meltdown before I become resigned to doing whatever it is that I need to do, and just start doing it because it becomes easier to do it than to keep avoiding it.

I don't necessarily recommend this approach!!!

When I'm only struggling with motivation in a moderate way, it usually helps me to make a list, and also to figure out some way to reward myself, even if it's something small like a snack.

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:32 pm 
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Thinks Plants Have Feelings
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Thanks for the responses... They've definitely helped!!! :)

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:40 pm 
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lately i've been super-motivated, and i've just come out of a looooong phase of being absolutely the opposite. still, getting work done can be tough... there's so many other things to do!

i find it fun to go to a coffee shop i've never been to, or else one i love, and do an hour of work is fun. i treat myself WHILE i do the work. and like others have said, doing homework or reading with someone else is helpful too. some of my best studying has been done in a bar with a friend - having a drink (or a coffee) and sitting with someone in silence is so calming and for me, stops my brain from wandering to what i'd rather be doing, cause i'm doing it.


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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:15 pm 
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Oh man, sometimes I have issues with this. Sometimes I just feel like there is so much to do and I don't know where to start, so I don't start. What helps me is making a list of three things, just three things, to get done that day. Sometimes I only get one or two done, but at least it's a start. And usually when I start, I get a little momentum going and finish the list and look for the next thing to do.


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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:39 pm 
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Ughhhh, this definitely motivating me to procrastinate!
I mostly rely on to do lists and good background music (which isn't the music that I would normally listen to!) In more extreme cases, I'll give myself 45 minutes work time, 10-15 minutes play time. If all else fails, I unplug the internet... because I know myself, and that's how I procrastinate!


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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:49 pm 
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For me, it's the realization that every assignment and reading I do gets me one step closer to vet school. Every class I go to is one step closer. The more time I spend studying, the better my marks will be, and the more they will want to accept me. If I work hard now, then in seven years when I've graduated from vet school, I will be a brilliant vet and I will have plenty of time to do things that I love.

I don't take many breaks when I'm studying or doing homework. If I take a break, I can't make myself go back and finish. If I do take a break, it's after something ridiculous like three hours. I listen to music and eat while doing it. If it's something that only takes one hand, or better yet, if I can prop the book open and not use any hands, I will give myself a massage. If it's nice out, I go outside so that I can smell the outside smells and that makes things easier for me. Anything that I can do to make myself power through the work.

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 Post subject: Re: What Motivates You?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:11 am 
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Okay, maybe this is materialistic? But when I was in college and I would start to lose focus, I would sit down and calculate how much money I was spending per class. (This actually translated into how much money someone ELSE was paying for me to go to class, because I had about 90% scholarship. Maybe that helped.) When I realized how much I was throwing away by doing things like not doing assignments or not going to class, etc, it made me feel like a true asparagus.

While it's not quite motivation, I have a trick that I have relied on for many years... I set a timer for some amount of time to do work. Usually at least 30 minutes, sometimes maybe 60 minutes. As long as I think I can handle for the particular assignment... some amount that I think will be easy enough to get through.

When I get to the end of the timer, I'm usually involved enough that I actually WANT to keep going. If I am, I set the timer for the same amount of time. If I'm not, and I want to quit, I set the timer for the same amount of time and use that time taking a break... and THEN I go back to the work.

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