Thursday, February 15, 2007

Argh, or, How I learned to keep motivated when at my wits' end.

Ok, doubtful placements of apostrophes in the title aside, and inspired by jim's new blog, I have decided to resurrect this old blog thing and start griping again. Actually, this isn't so much a post as a query of my loyal readership (who I am sure have all moved on to bigger and better blogs by now, but be that as it may be)

How the hell do you keep yourself motivated to do stuff that should be fun, but has long since lost all its enchantment?

You know how it is, you start a project - it's new, it's cool, and you love every aspect of it. You work hard, and then you work harder - it's going gangbusters and you're loving every sleep deprived minute of it. Then time moves on. The project continues. People's roles in it finish, and they move on to other things, and there's still a million things to do. So you do them - gotta get it finished - and then there's more things to do, then more, then more, plus you're getting committments on other projects - more fun things, more pressing things... technical issues are getting in the way of doing what you set out to do, and you seem to spend more time fighting them than creating your vision...

I often wonder if really amazing creations, like Jaws or the Sistene Chapel roof went through such periods of slog, and assuming that they did (which I hope is an accurate assumption) - how the hell did Steven Spielberg and Michelangelo keep themselves going through the perspiration times.

By my nature, I am disorganised and am a creature of the start of projects - ideas are fun and easy to bounce around and play with. But an idea without completion is worth nothing and I sure as hell don't want to be the proud producer of a whole lot of nothing. So, I'm trying to improve my completion outlook and decrease my procrastination coefficient. I have only two methods that I can really point to as successful ones.

The first I stumbled upon by happy chance, and that is to work with two other people. If you're working on something day in, day out, it actually takes three to keep everyone motivated. It's easy for two people to get sidetracked and for heaps of not work to get done. I don't know what the upper limit on this is, but I'd imagine it wouldn't be that large a number - probably less than a dozen working on a single part of a project. This technique seems to work pretty well, as evidenced in Exhibit A.

The second is to set a deadline. This has been imparted to me by many people. Some call it 'goal setting,' others don't. Basically it boils down to the old saying "If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done." Unfortunately, the nature of some of my projects is to not actually have last minutes, so you have to artificially create them, or find them somewhere. This can be difficult.

Deadlines, working with other people, cups of tea and updating your blog... no, wait... that last one doesn't help. Damn!

So... if anyone has any ideas on how to get yourself re- re- re- re- re- re- re- re-motivated, let me know!


James Barnes Esq. said...

you could always work in some shitty job for a while until you realise how much working in shitty jobs is shitty. Then your old job will seem like a pleasure. Or maybe you just need a holiday?

Good work on resurecting Dunsinane too... what the hell does that mean btw?

khrob said...

Dunsinane Hill is where Macbeth's castle is. The witches tell Macbeth that he can't be harmed until great Birnham Wood to high Dunsinane Hill doth come. came. whatever. :)