In the comments of "Two Videos on How to Do Time Tracking," I got this question from Rohan -
Hi Seb, i too am doing this kind of life tracking but i am not able to do it consistently, a week or max 10 days n then i leave it for weeks...also i dont feel the same energy, for the task that i marked as 'To Do Tommorrow',as i felt when i wrote it! It happens esp on my off days.Its not that i m not disciplined or lack willpower but still.. i read tons of self help books but the motivation doesn't last long.. what shall i do
Also what do u think is the real purpose of our life, i want to live a life like no one ever(just diff, simple and worth a life) but i feel like one among the herd! Same things!
why am i born?
Okay, so there's two basic questions here.
1. I start off motivated, but then my motivation/program falls off over time. How do I overcome that?
2. What's the meaning of life?
Let's start with #2, because I have a shorter answer to it - I don't entirely know. Or rather, I'm pretty sure there's no externally defined meaning of life... you have to define that for yourself over time. Now, I think there's plenty of good things you can do while you're still not sure about what your key purposes are, and I offered some thoughts on that in this post - "Don’t know what you’re doing with your life?"
So let's get to point #1.
"i too am doing this kind of life tracking but i am not able to do it consistently, a week or max 10 days n then i leave it for weeks...also i dont feel the same energy, for the task that i marked as 'To Do Tommorrow',as i felt when i wrote it! It happens esp on my off days.Its not that i m not disciplined or lack willpower but still.. i read tons of self help books but the motivation doesn't last long.. what shall i do"
Motivation is fleeting. This is something I've just come to terms with. People like the idea that after you find a cause and get some good habits, then everything takes over on autopilot and success comes.
Nice idea, but not true.
Rather, I think you need to constantly re-energize and recharge yourself, re-motivate yourself.
Eating one large meal doesn't mean you're nourished forever. One weightlifting session doesn't keep muscle forever.
Likewise, getting very motivated once doesn't mean you'll be motivated forever.
This used to bother me. Why does my motivation keep falling off? I'd get a new program, read a book, watch an amazing movie, something like that. I'd be juiced up and ready to go... and then a few weeks would pass, and I'd be pretty much back to normal.
That used to bother me until I realized that that's fundamentally how life is. The things you do will have small permanent impacts on you, but the big rush of motivation will fade. Thus, it's important to constantly be re-motivating and re-energizing yourself.
I'm assembly what I call my "war counsel" - a group of people to swap notes with on topics that are important to me, so we can keep each other on track. Likewise, on the daily tracking you'll see that I've got "Listen to audio" on there - I try to listen to some smart or inspiring audio every single day, because I find that helps.
Likewise, good books. Likewise, history. Likewise, studying the lives of people who I'd wish to live like. Likewise, studying why people lose and the consequences of that, in order to avoid it.
I think there's also something to be said about shipping projects as quickly as you can, getting something out there so you get a tangible win. It's hard to keep going without seeing external progress for a long time. It's good and in fact, it's necessary for some of the most expansive world-changing things. But hard to do. Ship a lightweight version, or measure your improvements, or something. And celebrate regularly.
Beyond that, I tend to have lots of false starts with my habit changes. Usually it takes me anywhere between 30 days and 2 years to change a habit. For instance, once I decided I wanted to track my daily spending, I didn't really start doing it fully until three months later. Quitting sugar/sweets took me about a year and a half. I started tracking in January 2010, it went great, and then I inexplicably quit for five months for no good reason. Still couldn't tell you why.
That's just the nature of things. I aim for a 70% success rate with my habits or goals at any given time, which I think is a good mix to be having mostly successes, but also to be at my threshold and continuing to improve. But failures and false starts in the beginning is just the nature of things.
As I wrote in "Conceding Defeat – The Internet is Stronger Than I Am," I want to scale my internet surfing time way down.
I did great at first after resolving it, sticking with my program or coming really close for the first two weeks. Massive quality of life improvements, productivity improvements, general well-being improvements, connecting with more people, doing more interesting things, reading more, much better life... well, you know what I didn't anticipate? I didn't plan for when I'd be too exhausted to do alternative activities. I came down a little under the weather after a long delayed train journey, and I found myself going way over the internet surfing time.
What the hell?
Well, yeah. I hadn't planned for when things go wrong, and things inevitably go wrong to some extent sooner or later. Now I'm gameplanning on what I can do when exhausted/tired/ill/in a bad mood/etc and I don't have the energy to work, read, exercise, or socialize. Y'know, I've normally got lots of energy, so I didn't plan for that. But then I came down low energy for a while, and got off track. Oh well, it happens. I'll get back on track as soon as I can. (I'll write an update on the Conceding Defeat too, once I get more data as time passes)
So yeah, false starts and failed attempts at change happen. It's normal.
Keep trying. Maybe start smaller so you can get some wins.
Motivation? It's fleeting. That's normal. You'll want to identify what motivates you, and regularly mix some of those elements into your life. Over time, look to be connecting with people who inspire and motivate you, work on inspiring/motivating work, read inspiring books, etc, etc.
Yes, it's fleeting and temporary, but that's the nature of things. Just like you need to eat regularly to be nourished, you need to motivate yourself regularly to be motivated. After identifying that, then it just becomes a matter of doing it, and you experience greater levels of motivation.
Excellent post. I implemented a new system for planning tasks and tracking progress in them, worked wonders for a fortnight, haven't used it since. This was in October '10. It made no sense to me for a while, then I read about your aiming for 70% thing and it seems a bit clearer: I tried to organise my whole life into a list which wasn't practical.
Now the system has been adapted and seems to be working better (though even saying that last week was completely duff in some respects!)
...I did not seek to blind anyone. I have a background in philosophy, which is why I am familiar with the concepts of internalists and consequentialists. Talking about them is what I do almost every day, so it is ingrained in me, and I am sorry if it seemed to indicate something else. I suppose for me talking in those terms is like talking in religious terms for those who pursue religion. I also did not try to offend you, or anything of the kind. If it seemed like that, I apologize. I think it is impossible to prove or disprove God, so I do not want to base too much on the existence, that's all. I think the discussion is going a little far, so, yeah. Let's stop for now, if you are okay with that.
I appreciate you putting forward your view point so eloquently. But I hope the rhetoric is not blinding anyone. The example I quoted about vengeance, was a little harsh, but the mere intention was to underline the NATURAL tendency in human to recognize the right & wrong irrespective of some life-framework being suggested/put forward (not by a mere mortal in this case).
You would also agree with the human tendency to decipher & recognize the feeling of affection & tenderness by one person from another to some degree. I would say they are more external than internal. True, the expert wickeder y may be a little hard to gauge from the more practicing masters. But then again I would argue & to my understanding there is a decent framework proposed by the Master creator himself to ward that thing off. This also reminds me a quote by Sebastian (or someone else) that the "Biggest trick that Devil pulled was to make humans believe that he doesn't exist". But the way we formulate our opinions from our peers, surroundings & text read we must be mindful of the the slice of badness/wickeder y that is being sandwiched & put forward to mostly palpable minds of simple, who tend to adopt without realization & in the process be part of the ripple process that was originally intended. You can easily see the phenomenon in the history & the present. May also be termed as boulder effect.
Romance of mysticism devoid of logical & rational pursuits. Desires of materials being injected onto the naive minds. Don't want to sound like hippies :) but they do have a bit of point. Jevon's paradox may be true after all if we analyze the drive / desire to grow/develop. Don't get me wrong I'm no Amish (to some extent those brother are right), I'm not against development/growth. I just feel the more thought ought to be put in the pursuit which is being undertaken. I hope that link that I pasted in the last comment of mine, appeals to your sense of rationale (Don't be offended by my innuendo if you don't agree. ) This response is getting to long for my simpleton mind to keep on trying to be articulate in my thoughts/response.
Remember "Belief is not by having seen the black & white proof, I feel its by reaching a logical conclusion by seeing the rational & overwhelming signs."
Cheers & be good.
Your view is internalist - you explained that position well – it’s about intentions, things on the inside. But there is also consequentialism, whose supporters don’t care about intentions, but about the consequences. They define an action to be good when the consequences are good. Utilitarianism would be an example of that.
The problem I have with your definition is that it is only valid within the internalist viewpoint, but others may beg to differ.
It is about perspective indeed, as you’ve said. That way the definition of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ is contingent, though, which is precisely why I’m wary of the terms. I thought externally given meaning (such as by a God) is supposed to be necessary (in the sense that there is specific content that's a specific way and cannot be another way). But 'good' and 'bad' mean such different things depending on the perspective, so how can they mean something but the meaning one gives oneself? And if that's the case, why do we need the terms? Why do we have to say they constitute meaning, if in truth we do?
Thanks for your thoughts =)
Intentions are the source of determining the deed's goodness or badness. E.g; A person planting a peg in the ground in front of, say , a restaurant with intention of helping people tie up their horses while they are busy. On the other hand a person removing that peg with an intention that someone might stumble/fall off due to that peg. Both of them has good intentions & view each other a being bad in intention but then there are other principles to resolve this possible argument.
You avenging the someone hurting ur child can be understood by some but misunderstood by others. Its about the perspective. But then there are principles which resolve this as well Im not gonna get into those here.
".. Hmm, and the court of justice thing only works for believers of that sort of thing.... "
You closed the argument then & there. As you seem to have dismissed the opposition's views. So we cannot discuss this any further. It seems pointless no matter how much proofs I present you. I am reluctant to get into a religious discussion as it may also invite flame. A Godly text (if it is Godly at all) cannot be refuted, as scientific data itself vindicates the text as authentic. But deducing/basing your opinion on a adulterated text, touted as Godly text, is just not smart.
Im pasting a link which makes an interesting scientific reading to a NON-believer of that sort of things ;)
Cheers & bee good (double ;) )
I think the 'good' and 'bad' would require definition. What do you think is good or bad? There are things like murder and helping others, of course, but there's way more to life than pretty clear-cut things like that. Usually there are more shades of gray, and I dare say a lot of times only referring to 'good' or 'bad' really narrows ones' view of life and the world. I'm very skeptical about those terms, because they often are only stand-ins that distract from what it's really about.
Hmm, and the court of justice thing only works for believers of that sort of thing. I don't worry so much about some final court where I'm judged, and it surely does not give me any sense of meaning. What you seem to mean in that respect is the 'external meaning' Sebastian spoke of. I suppose I'm with him concerning point - one has to define the meaning one wants to have on ones' own.
1-Meaning of life ? Simple. We are meant to be witness to our good & bad deeds. So that when we are tried in the court of justice we should have no objections to the ultimate verdict.
Remember we have been given the choice i.e. do good or do bad. Its all about the choice. How we choose . And yeah don't confuse bad with wrong. Wrongs/mistakes can be forgiven.
My acquired 2 cents ;)
I just got started on solidly doing time tracking after failing a few times before.
First trick: Keep it simple at first even if you don't plan to keep it simple long. It was only a couple days before I was able to make some serious upgrades, and now my tracker is pretty sizable.
Second trick: Make the process as easy as possible. I wrote a program that takes care of creating templates, archiving, and dating for me. All I have to do is hit my shortcut keys and up pops my tracker. This means that the activation energy of motivation required is next to nothing. If I even feel the slightest whim about possibly tracking my time, the tracker is practically open already. I will gladly spill the code if you want it, but its written in bash for my linux machine so it may be less than helpful.
Third trick: What I said about activation energy earlier is really a big deal for me. For myself, motivation is usually pretty easy, except for that first nudge. If I can drag myself up to starting a task, I find that hours often go by before I realize how long I have spent on something. Coincidently, thats how I just wrote this long comment.
For me, motivation consists of finding a way to set things up so that I can sort of accidentally accomplish things. I know that motivation is fleeting, but so is lack of motivation. You never know when you might get the sudden urge to work on your major project so you might as well just leave it on your desk. Who cares if it gets in your way while your trying to do something less productive.
P.S. Sebastian, thanks for the help getting me started. I was planning on sending you an email letting you know how it progressed, but now you know.
A nice email, and good questions -
your blog has helped me really transform my life in a matter of a week or so. I've never had so mcuh motivation, to do even simple things like clean up my workspace. it only seems to be getting better from here and it really is because of you. every morning i read your blog and get fresh insight into myself.
I've started getting books you've recommended, and so far so good. It would be great if you could suggust some more for me, particulary about getting the motivation to take a risk.
I'm having trouble making myself have passion for what i love, although everyday it seems to be getting a small bit easier. I have started to track my time, and so far even the fact that I'm doing it gets me more motivated knowing i cam keep up a system.
Thanks for the kind words. It'd be great if I could suggest some books on taking a risk?
Some time ago I realized that if I want to make good things happen, I've got to start working hard. I'm about to graduate from college, and if I want to live the kind of life I've always wanted, I really have no choice but to work my ass off.
And so I did. Or at least I was trying my best.
I started writing this blog. I was spending 20+ hours a week at my part-time job. I revived my iPhone photography website. I was studying direct response marketing and copywriting. I spent more than an hour each day hand-copying successful sales letters. I was working out four times a week. I was doing all of that while being in my last semester of college. Most of my classmates are already freaked out, even if they aren't doing anything else.
It's probably not hard to see that my life was not exactly fun most of the time. My quality of life was suffering, and I was beginning to feel isolated from other people. Not good for an introvert. And my productivity was beginning to suffer.
More and more often I found myself mindlessly spending time on the internet. It's one of the things I really don't want to do, yet I was often wasting hours online. My motivation was getting worse and worse. I was still more productive than I'd have been a year ago, but it was obvious that I could do a lot more.