You Don’t Need Be Motivated to Work, You Need Work to Be Motivated

One of the funny facts I’ve noticed about motivation is that you don’t actually need to be motivated to start working. Sometimes you might have thoughts such as “I don’t feel like working now”, “I’ll do that tomorrow” or “I’ll wait until I’m motivated and start after that”. It’s like you might think that you first need to get motivated, and after that – you are ready to start working.

It’s exactly the opposite.

When you start working (whether you feel like it or not) you will notice a strange thing happening: as soon as you start working on with your goals, you’ll start to feel motivated. As you see the progress and finish task after task, you’ll feel even more motivated to continue. I believe this is true for almost any kind of work that’s at least somewhat important to you.

This is surely one of the best medicines for lack of motivation. For more tips on motivating yourself, see also the following articles have one computer free day every week and 14 ways to motivate yourself.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. “as soon as you start working on with your goals, you’ll start to feel motivated.” – typo?

    Like what you’ve written here, though.

  2. True! i thought that only when i got inspired and motivated to work, that the game will get nice ideas…. but its not true… your article is true and i percepted it most recently. When i start to work on a game, some minutes after it, i start by trying out various ideas to the game and i start to get a lot of fun and be highly motivated.

    Then the concept “Work to motivate yourself” is true, and when you really have love for your project, the level of motivation grows more and more.

  3. Work time tracking software can really improve work efficiency and give (at least short-time) motivation to work. It did improve my efficiency and showed me how few hours I spend doign thing that generate money during whole working day (and that was a shock to me).

  4. yeah I keep detailed time logs of my coding time and split it into different categories such as coding, testing, bugs, graphics, sound etc.

  5. This is true. I used to have a process where first thing after waking up would be to force myself to spend 1 hour on my game, no matter how I felt. I noticed by the end of that hour I was motivated to continue past the first hour without any more self-forceing.

    I’ve also noticed that since I started keeping very accurate tabs on the number of hours I’ve been spending on my game, it motivates me even more. My new time-tracker is accurate between five minutes to an hour. Checking my hours to see how many I’ve put into the game recently has been a real eye-opener and it’s forced me to really buckle down.


  6. True. The hardest part is to really start doing things. But of course experience helps in that thing also, you know that you need to start working were you already motivated or not.

    The fact is that no one else is going to do it for you, so if you want to get something done, you better start working on it. :)

  7. Yeah I totally agree. I had to start planning my next game and had been putting it off but yesterday I put it on my daily to do list at the top and got started. Very soon I waa really enjoying the planning and working out all the details etc. In fact when something else interrupted me later I didn’t want to stop!

    It’s actually the same with exercise. Say in the morning you feel tired and don’t want to exercise, well you could just sit around lazy all day or you could start to do breathing and warm ups and before long you’ll be doing press ups, situps, star jumps or whatever and feeling really good – and when you stop you feel great all over and really glad you made the effort to start.

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