We all have many goals and aspirations. We want to succeed at work, improve our family life and relationships and we are quite serious about all of these. Yet, often when we reflect back on our last week, month, and year we feel dissatisfied and feel we have not done enough. So with all the great plans and intentions – what goes wrong? How can we get a rhythm, balance, and self motivation to create an amazing life?
Rhythm and balance
In an information-based work environment, working hard is not the way to better results. What we need to do is plan / prioritize our work better, bring elements of learning and innovative thinking to bear and not just focus on the pure amount of output. It is also important that there is a steady pace of execution that keeps us moving and prevents us from being stuck on something for hours.
Then along with work to have a great life there is the concept of “work life balance” or really what I think – balance between our focus and achievement is three key areas – professional, relationships, personal.
Many of us get motivated when we are rewarded, recognized or pushed by our bosses or nudged by our friends and relatives. Such external motivation does not really work to maximize our potential on a daily basis – in the tortoise’s slow and steady manner. We need to build our own reward system that keeps us motivated and contributing in a high impact manner every day.
Self motivation is the best motivation. After struggling with my own productivity, I devised a system that really works like a charm now. The system is built around earning seven “WOWs” from myself a day. WOWs are something we notionally award ourselves when we achieve certain things in a day. The WOWs can be of many types, that way we can maintain a balance between output, creativity, learning and more across the three categories.
- Self Management
- New Connections
- Health & Fitness
How to Use?
WOWs are all about “self approval” and “self recognition”. Every time you achieve something substantial that you wanted to achieve and feel “WOW” with the outcome, you reward yourself a WOW. If you finish something that results in good output, reward yourself with the “Productivity” WOW and so on.
For one task, reward yourself only one WOW of each type maximum. Also make sure that each task you reward yourself for, requires at least 30 minutes of focused effort. If you are working on one large task all day, then the idea would be to earn different types of WOWs on that task by being innovative, learning, or helping others.
The goal is to earn seven WOWs a day – two of which should be related to areas outside of work like self, family and friends. Of course, we can use these on weekends also where we can earn WOWs only on a personal and relationship fronts.
Learning and growth
Using this method we can review our WOWs over the week, say on Sunday and reflect on how we can move forward and be more productive and balanced. We can reflect and see if we are learning and developing ourselves, if we are spending time with personal life, family and friends? We can review the balance and also ensure that we spend quality time in whatever we do.
The whole idea of WOWs is that we manage our own time, drive ourselves with self generated motivation and even not be exclusively dependent on external recognition. With this self management approach we are sure to win in life like the tortoise did in the famous Hare and Tortoise parable.