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So difficult to motivate myself

Yahya Elyasse
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 510

Hello guys,

Have you ever experienced an enormous lack of motivation to work or study? I have compiled a list of books to read, programming projects to start, and courses to take and learn. But i never can focus on any of these tasks. I feel if i'm not externally motivated by some work offer or social interaction then i cannot make it alone and do these tasks my own in solitary.
How can we motivate ourselves to work on personal projects in solitary activity? seems so hard for me these days and this is very annoying
chris webster

Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 2289

Well, I think many of us experience that kind of thing sometimes, and it can simply be what the Germans call "die Qual der Wahl" - literally "the torture of choice", or "paralysis by analysis". You have too many choices (and too many distractions like JavaRanch), so you have trouble deciding between them. Our brains are not really suited to weighing up lots of complicated options - we evolved in an environment where the choices were typically very simple: "eat or don't eat", "run or get eaten", after all.

If you can't decide which books/projects to start with now, why not decide which ones you really don't want to look at right now, and put those onto a separate list? That will leave you with a shorter list of things you might like to look at now. Maybe one of these will seem more interesting or relevant to your current interests, now there are fewer alternatives. Do you have any friends/colleagues who might be interested in working with you on one of these ideas, for example?

Alternatively, I can strongly recommend Coursera courses as a way to pick up new skills and knowledge in a structured fashion over a relatively short period (usually around 10 weeks). I'm on my second course now, and I've found it really interesting and motivating, and I look forward to each week's delivery of new course material, while the homework assignments certainly keep me busy in between. The courses are well-structured, challenging and engaging but relatively short, so you just need to be prepared to commit yourself to working on it for a couple of months, and then simply go with the flow. Well, it works for me, but then I may just be an anti-social hermit....

Finally, it may simply be that right now you need to be doing something completely different with your free time, working or relaxing with other people, instead of pursuing IT projects on your own. There's more to life than computers!

No more Blub for me, thank you, Vicar.
Yahya Elyasse
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 510

Excellent analysis of the situation chris. probably i'm confused by the too many choices. i have to minimize the choices and concentrate on one single task and finish it. this seems so difficult for me as i always give up in the middle of task and get distracted by doing other things and then everything is messed up.
I tried many times the couresera courses but i couldn't finish any one of the courses i selected. i had other tasks to do and so little time to dedicate to study.
I sometimes concentrate on one single task like reading a specific book. but when i start getting in rhythm i suddenly have some event -like a project offer- which distract me and i don't complete the reading.

It seems the distractions are so poisonous , so frequent and so numerous in my life that i end up unable to concentrate and complete one single definite task.
I need to find a cure for this phenomenon b/c it started to hurt my quality of life. I'm still struggling with it and hope i can manage to organize myself more and focus more correctly and efficiently.
I agree. Here's the link:
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