How To Motivate Yourself To Work Harder and Smarter
I never really considered myself a hard working person, and yet others seem to disagree. In fact I sometimes get called a workaholic. Perhaps I work a little more than the average person or maybe I’m just a good deceiver.
Either way, I work on things I only enjoy and invest my time in projects that catch my attention. One morning, I decided to spend nearly an entire day working on an app because I was genuinely interested in it. Other people thought what I did was amazing, but despite what I created, I punched myself in the face for pushing aside my other priorities.
But this week, a major concern that caught my attention was the importance of working harder and actually enjoying it. We understand that people genuinely want to work harder so they can accomplish a goal they believe in, but it’s only wishful thinking.
It’s like imagining what you would do if you were suddenly given superpowers. It’s a nice thought we’d like to happen, but deep down know it isn’t possible.
But unlike superpowers, working harder is an attainable goal because that’s how people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates established their companies. As much as we’d like to sit on our couch and press a button that could motivate us, it isn’t possible.
We usually have to rely on our own willpower to do anything. Whether it’s writing a book, starting a company, or even using the bathroom, we all need some fraction of willpower to get us from point A to point B.
But just how can we work harder to obtain the impossible?
Think About Who You Want to Be
I hate working on things I find unpleasant such as 90% of the population. If there’s a chance I can avoid doing a task I hate, I avoid it. But this plan usually doesn’t work well because we all have things we’d rather do than our laundry, running errands, or any other irritating chore.
The most common thing people hate is going to a job they don’t like, and working there for 8 hours before they’re allowed to go home. But before you allow your list of things you hate continue piling up, think about the type of person you want to be.
Avoid thinking about what you do as hard work. Think about it as part of a process that will turn you into the person you want to be. It’s like when you’re baking a cake and need all the proper ingredients. Some people may hate the taste of eggs or milk, but you need them to make a delicious cake. And by the time those people are eating the cake, they won’t even think about the eggs or milk that was added to make it.
When I was younger, I hated cheese. Or at least I thought I did. It looked nasty and I couldn’t stand the taste by itself. But I was addicted to pizza and cheeseburgers, never even thinking about the fact it had cheese on all of them.
Part of hard work is accepting the tiny ingredients you don’t like but is necessary to build what you’re aiming for. If you want to build a business, accept that it’s going to be difficult working long hours just to understand how to successfully market your product. Accept that it’s going to suck that you’re going to be a beginner in a field you will doubt yourself in.
But what counter those negative ingredients are the dreams you have in mind. You need to know exactly why you want to accomplish something. Do you want to live a financial stress-free life? Or maybe you want to give your family the life they always wanted.
Stay focused on the big picture because there will be days where you’ll be too bored to work on your dreams. When you feel overwhelmed you can easily forget the importance of your goals. But that’s when you have to sit back, pause from the rest of the world, and ask yourself why you’re doing it.
Mentally prepare yourself by accepting the fact you need those negative moments before your mind transforms into a machine the average person doesn’t have. Imagine how proud you’ll be once you have a great business that supports you and your family.
Every career choice has its own set of bad ingredients, but once they’re compiled together, turns into a masterpiece you wouldn’t trade for the world. Even if you lost you business because of a bad decision, you’ll still have that mentality to build another company that was even better than the previous one.
If It’s Not Necessary, Don’t Bother
When you’re baking a cake, you don’t add random ingredients like hot dogs or chili because you know it’ll only ruin it. And such as a cake, you shouldn’t do activities that aren’t necessary.
That’s when the importance of working smarter comes into play. Break your hard work into smaller pieces so it gets easier to deal with as a whole. This prepares you to eat the entire elephant rather than eating it all at once.
This keeps your motivation and willpower alive because you’re handling goals and tasks that can be reasonably accomplished within a day. When you start writing a book, you don’t just expect yourself to write several chapters in a single day. Focus on each word at a time and see where it takes you. Become relax with the process so you’re not focusing on those impossible expectations.
This also means learning how to tell people, “No,” when possible because there’s only so many activities you can accomplish within a single day. We’re easily persuaded to help others because we can be people pleasers, or too kind to say no. But to prevent yourself from burning out and feeling overwhelmed, it means developing a sense of prioritizing your goals first.
If you’re building a company and you hire someone, ensure they can do a majority of your job so you can concentrate on more important things. If you’re writing a book you want to finish, don’t be tempted to start another book even if a great idea pops into your head. Just jot it down somewhere to do later.
Find ways to make your life easier so you can get more things done at an easier pace. It’s like choosing to walk across the city when there’s a friend offering you a ride. Don’t give yourself unnecessary stress if there’s an easier route to take.
You Need To Know When To Chill
Avoid overloading your brain because on average, our brains can only remain focused for 90 minutes before we need a 15 minute break. People like to assume they constantly need to work long hours to complete their work, but that does no good for them in the long run.
Sure, someone might finish a project faster than someone else, but it probably won’t be as good as the other person who took the time to rest their brains. There’s a greater chance there won’t be as many, if any, mistakes on their project.
Our minds are like horses and as powerful as they are, they still need to take a break by doing something relaxing. Whether it’s drawing in a coloring book, playing some sort of game, or speaking to someone, find something that relaxes your mind.
You want your breaks to last around 15 – 20 minutes before you return back to your work. That way, you give yourself a reasonable time to refresh your thoughts and slow your mind back down before it exhausts itself. And when you do return back to your work, you receive a new perspective on it. You spot any errors that were made and you conjure up new ideas that you didn’t have before.
And if you want to take it one more step forward, research has shown that taking naps improves your creative thinking and memory performance. So if you find your eyelids dropping the next time you’re brainstorming or writing a book, don’t be afraid to take a quick 20 – 30 minute nap. Who knows, you might even dream of a million dollar idea during that time.
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