52 exercises to increase effectiveness, decisiveness and objective thinking.
Good work involves feeling engaged and motivated by what we’re doing – and battling inertia and weariness with courage and imagination.
Fortunately, motivation is not a gift from the gods; it is a quality we can nurture in ourselves and encourage in others.
Motivation is a tool for increasing our effectiveness; 52 exercises designed to train our brains to find their bearings and generate their very best efforts. Our minds are not machines, and are prone to distractions, indecision and cognitive biases – but these can also be worked around and overcome. Each exercise prompts us to engage in activities and thought experiments that help us to surmount mental blocks and formulate strategies for solving problems and achieving our goals. At once a collection of psychological solutions and calls to action, this is an invaluable resource for unlocking our true potential.
In cinematography, the ‘magic hour’ is the hour just before sunrise or after sunset, when the conditions are perfect for film-making. Most of us have our own ‘magic hour’ – a particular time of day when we are at our most efficient and productive. Thinking over your usual working routine, try to work out when your own ‘magic hour’ is. By scheduling your most important tasks during this time, you can best benefit from your own most productive moments.
It’s a peculiar phenomenon that our best ideas tend to come to us in the shower. There’s a good reason for this. Most mental blocks are the product of anxiety, when our everyday worries about our work oppress our minds and prevent us from thinking freely. But when we’re in the shower – engaged in a task wholly unrelated to work – our anxiety lifts, allowing the kind of unrestricted thinking we’d normally suppress. Whenever you’re stuck for a way forward, take a shower (or go for a walk, make a cup or tea, or have a stretch). This is the opposite of procrastination: through alleviating your everyday anxiety, you’re unlocking your latent brainpower.
1. Select an exercise from one of three categories: Effectiveness, Decisiveness and Objectivity.
2. Follow the instructions and complete the exercise, either alone or as part of a group.
3. Reconsider your work with new purpose in the light of what has been learnt.