I stumbled upon a new Youtuber recently, Sara Dietschy and while watching one of her videos where she was going over one productivity tool or another she mentioned how the tool being more fun than the one she had previously used had positively affected her efficiacy in actually using that tool which ended up resonating with me quite well since I could look back at me switching over to Ghost from WordPress and notice myself actually being much more motivated to sit down and write something in the past few weeks than I have been in a long time.
Now, to be fair, this could just be coincidence and I seem to remember there being a similar effect when I originally switched over to WordPress but it's still something that makes a lot of sense to me especially as I'm rather curious about different tools and their application in the first place which is why I tend to do these experiments like testing different browsers or operating systems.
It has also gotten me thinking about how I could use this to overcome some of those motivation problems I've discussed previously especially since it feels like at the moment I actually do have several projects I'd like to get started on but during the rare times I actually sit down to work on them my interest in actually progressing fades really quickly at the slightest hurdle. I mean, looking at the kinds of problems I'm facing this kind of "hack" feels unlikely to actually have any long lasting effects but the mere act of actually getting started on and finishing several projects might be what ends up leading to the kind of self-improvement that will result in more lasting change so it feels like a worthwile avenue to at least explore a little bit—especially, as noted, in the light of the small success I've had with it in the moment in the realm of blogging.
The problem, then becomes, actually figuring out what my pain points when starting these different projects are and how I would go about solving those or making the tools I use to create these project more fun to use, yet looking at some of the problems I'm facing the tools really aren't a problem since I do already enjoy using them to a degree, it's more the challenges I'm facing or the projects I'm embarking on that are focused on bringing perhaps a more long term sort of gratification which I'm unused to working with.
A good example of this, is I have a website for watching movies together with friends that I've built and I want to do something of a refactoring in the code and add a few features—namely short clips as previews of the movie as well as customizing the video player a bit from the standard controls provided by browsers. Yet when I got started on doing this today and yesterday I could barely get started with the whole thing before I ended up frustrated I suppose at the seeming lack of progress along with the list of tasks still ahead of me even though I had a pretty clear vision of what to do. Maybe exactly that is the problem, that once I have the vision of what to do and how to do it, the project stops being exciting and just becomes a matter of actually implementing what I've already thought out and that just feels boring and not something I want to engage with, yet I know from experience that things are rarely as straightforward as they seem and there is almost always something lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce and actually present and interesting challenge to solve.
But maybe that's the other problem, I just want the thing to work and not actually have to do the work of getting there, especially if there are hidden roadblocks on the way, and maybe the solution to both of these problems is learning to internalize and remember the joy I have felt previously when finally solving those problems so that they go from being demotivators to being motivators in the long run.
What I am also noticing, writing all of this and thinking back at it, is another factor and that is time, namely the times that I have actually set aside a block of time in order to accomplish something are the times where I have been more successful in getting those things done as opposed to the times where I somewhat spontaneously get motivated to start doing something. So it might be that all I need is to actually unplug a bit so I don't have the fear of distraction running in the back of my mind and set aside times where I decide that this is the time I try to solve this problem.