Week 43 – Measures can be motivating

As I started this post, I looked up the definition of vicious circle to make sure I was properly describing how I feel today.

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I have too many claims on my time and not enough time to do everything I want to do. I have the feeling that things are moving so fast I cannot remember what I have completed and what still needs to be done.

This is a quick way to lose motivation, because if we don’t think we are getting anywhere, it is not easy to find the energy to keep going.

This has got me thinking about how useful some of the automatic measures in my life are. For example:

  1. I have a watch that tells me how many steps I have taken in a day – and when I check at lunchtime and the number is too low, it motivates me to go for a walk

Outcome – I don’t let more than a day go past without thinking about my well-being and staying healthy

  • I have an app that tells me what new techniques I have learnt each week and how many minutes I have spent on my personal development. I try to use this app a couple of times a week, so that I have new ideas for how I do things. I check the app on a Friday morning and if I realise a whole week has gone past without any learning, I take some time out for a 30 minute update

Outcome – however busy I am, I don’t lose sight of my own improvement, which keeps me curious and flexible in my thinking, which are key leadership characteristics and important for all aspects of my job

  • My inbox tells me how many unread messages I have and if this is starting to climb, I schedule an hour to read, answer and file my emails

Outcome – I feel a sense of achievement, I am less likely to have to apologise for not replying to people or be chased for missing deadlines

  • Similarly, my junk folder tells me how many rubbish emails I am getting, and if this starts to get into double figures, I make sure I look at a few of the emails instead of immediately deleting them, and click on unsubscribe so that I cut them off at the source

Outcome – I don’t just tell others about the importance of smart working, I apply it to my own work


Have a think about how measures of your progress can help you:

  • Assess your progress
  • Spend time making progress on the things that are slipping behind