Wednesday, March 12, 2008

More on motivation

So yesterday we started a discussion on how to change a habit. Today, let's continue it by looking at someone else's take: Specifically, the brilliant blog Unclutterer's post on using brainwashing techniques to break a bad habit.

I know, creepy and crazy. But hear them out.

The post is based on the book How to Work the Competition Into the Ground, which studied how brainwashing techniques can be applied to workplace motivation. Some of the techniques Unclutterer points out are creepy, like subliminal thought (I don't know about you, but I'm unlikely to motivate to record short messages and put them between songs on iTunes--but that's just me). Others seem less cult-like and more about awareness and mindfulness to me. They don't have to be creepy.

And of course, the main difference between a cult and you is the purpose of these tools: You're not in a cult (as far as I know); you just want to be able to tear yourself away from email, clean off your desk, get better at marketing, etc. And of course, none of these tools, by themselves, are going to take all your money and separate you from your family. But losing your serenity and becoming a workaholic might...

Here are my favorites:

* "Repetitious self talk:" Hey, we know that one! That's a mantra!

* Spend time at events that get you motivated to do the thing you don't want to do: If your problem is office clutter, as they suggest, then "[a]ttending a conference on uncluttering, going to hear a motivational speaker, watching a show like Clean Sweep or even reading Unclutterer can help you to think about the subject in a positive way and believe that you are capable of being an uncluttered person."

I'll add that you can also create the experience you want to have. This is actually a reason I started this blog. I wanted to spend time every day thinking about how I can apply my mindfulness and yogic techniques to my life as a freelancer.

* Get help: Having a guide in the particular area where you're trying to create a new practice--organizing your desk or emails, starting a yoga practice, sending more marketing ideas to potential clients--helps you get there. That shouldn't be any shock. The trick is finding the right guru for the job. As Unclutterer rightly points out, that can be a professional organizer. It can be a job coach. It can be carefully selected support people.

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