Sunday, April 17, 2011

Motives, Reasons and Productivity

What an amazingly unproductive weekend! I finally got my hair cut, which I've been meaning to do for about a month. But when I sat down to do homework, I worked out how much each assignment would take me, approximately, and discovered I had about 11 hours of homework to do this weekend (though not all of it is due Monday, I will probably not find eleven hours during the week to complete it). This was so overwhelming, it may have set me up for the procrastination that followed. I started off with the assignment due soonest, and it managed to put me to sleep after five pages of reading. When I woke up about 45 minutes later, that pretty much shot my motivation on the homework front. I spent the rest of the day writing and watching hockey. But I did get back to my exercise routine for the first time in weeks, so that's all right.
    Today was much of the same. Went out to breakfast, ate way too much of several things that did me absolutely no good with regard to my healthy eating plan. Watched more hockey. Headed to a birthday BBQ at my boyfriend's family's house. Did no homework once again, despite being REALLY far behind now.
On the other hand, it was quite productive personally, if not scholastically. Hair cut: check. Writing: check. Hockey: check. IHOP: check. Exercise: check. Plus, I got my first birthday present. A TV. Yeah. Totally blown away. it is a couple years old and previously owned, but it's quite an update for me. I'm still using the tube TV I got for my brithday about ten years ago. So, in that light, it was quite a productive weekend, aside from the whole homework fiasco.
    Productivity is so closely tied to motivation, but motivation is a tricky thing. It depends on so many different factors. Motivation to do something may depend on money, how afraid you are of the consequences of not doing it, obligations of various kinds, the thing you're doing could be a means to an end, or you could just be motivated to do something because it makes you feel good in one way or another. Sometimes one type of motivation isn't enough to make you do something. Sure, I feel obligated to show up to class, but I do also enjoy my class, so I'll go to it. Exercise is good for me and will help me lose those stubborn last 5 pounds, but it also makes me feel good afterward, even though the during part is somewhat strenuous and un-fun. But even with the proper motivation, sometimes we still avoid actually doing things.
    While some productivity is good--the kind that helps you be a better, healthier, more intelligent, more prepared person, or the kind that pays the rent--other kinds of productivity can be bad. Working 80 hours a week may make you money and get you on good terms with your boss, but it's going to wreak havoc on your sleep schedule and your social life. (Like it or not, positive human interaction is a necessary part of your physical and psychological well-being.) So, even if you do have the right practical reasons to do some things, there are always further considerations to be made.
    Surprising how we managed to get from not doing homework to healthy forms of productivity so quickly, but that's how it seems to go when we do a sort of stream of consciousness writing. I probably could have spent more time going into the difference between reasons and motives, but being aware that there is a difference, and knowing when you have both or neither, can be a useful decision-making tool.
Having motivation is not equivalent to having a reason.

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