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A quick guide to motivation and productivity!

AidanAidan PotatoPosts: 1,760 Postholic
Hey everyone :grin:

I know I've been struggling with home learning and all the distractions and lack of structure it brings, so I wanted to share some of the things about motivation and productivity that I've learned!

And if you want to skip past the info, you can just go to the bottom for some quick tips :joy:

Hope this helps, and feel free to share any tips you have!


  • Isn't enough! 
  • Studies have found that "willpower" is a source of motivation that is depletable, it runs out 

The Distraction 
  • When a task requires problem solving, we can get distracted by the motivator (the long term goal, e.g. I want to get this job, I want to pass this course) which reduced performance at the task 
  • Try to focus on the task at hand, the short-term goal (e.g. let's answer this question, lets write this assignment) 
Positive thoughts... trick you! 
  • Positive thoughts trick you into thinking you've already accomplished a goal! 
  • This reduces your motivation, the best approach is... 
Mental contrasting! 
  • First, imagine your goal coming true (your dream job, passing your course, getting a dog etc.) 
  • Then, think about all the obstacles in the way 
  • Belief you can accomplish a goal has to be balanced with realistic expectations about obstacles 
  • In studies, people who are more realistic about difficulties were more likely to succeed at their goal than people who only thought positively! Because of the... 
"What the hell" effect! 
  • Which is a negative cycle of deviating from your goal, because you've already deviated from your goal 
  • For example, not doing coursework today because, "what the hell", you didn't do it yesterday either! 
  • People who are more aware of barriers and obstacles to their goals are less likely to fall for the "what the hell" effect 
  • Fun and play are some of the strongest motivators 
  • If the things you're doing to achieve your goal aren't fun, make it fun! 
  • If you can't make a task fun, you can make it less boring by working at it in short intervals (~20-30 minutes) with breaks in-between, where you can do something you do find fun! 


Quick tips: 


Just get started! 

  • Starting a project is the biggest barrier- your brain thinks about the hardest parts to come and tends to procrastinate 
  • Once you've started, you're more compelled to finish 
  • You experience discomfort and intrusive thoughts about stuff you never completed! 

Split large tasks into smaller ones! 

  • Focusing on the smaller tasks makes it easier for you to gradually work through the large one! 

Stop multitasking! 

  • Multitasking makes us think we're doing more than we actually are, and makes us think we're saving time 
  • But multitasking is about ~40% less efficient than doing each task one-at-a-time 
  • So if multitasking 2 things takes 60 minutes, it would take you 36 minutes to finish both of them one-at-a-time! 

Set yourself deadlines!  

  • You're more likely to complete tasks when you set yourself a (realistic) timeframe 

Keep track! 

  • On a night, write down the things you want to complete tomorrow 
  • Keep a chart or a diary of things you have done over a day- this helps you see what you've actually completed, which is important for motivation because we tend to underestimate how much we've actually done! 
  • Underestimating what we have done negatively affects motivation, because it makes us think we can't do as much as we actually we can as well
This shit is bananas
b - a - n - a - n - a - s


  • AidanAidan Potato Posts: 1,760 Postholic
    Congratulations if you reached the end, you get a prize!

    This shit is bananas
    b - a - n - a - n - a - s
  • EleanorEleanor Posts: 232 The Mix convert
    Best. Prize. Ever. 
  • Lucy307Lucy307 UKPosts: 746 Incredible Poster
    Love this Aidan thank you! 
    Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend
  • PoppyBPoppyB Posts: 175 Moderator
    This is super helpful @Aidan especially for people adjusting to working/studying from home, thank you :) My personal motivators are deadlines (e.g. if i finish this by 5pm then I can watch Netflix) or challenges (e.g. how much can I get through in 1 hour) 

    But it's important to remember that everyone is different and you have to find what works for you - what motivates your friends/family might not work for you and vice versa.
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