Muse on Motivation

I returned to work today for the first time since 22nd December last year. I surprised myself by looking forward to going back to work. You know the way, when you’re getting up early, morning after morning; and you just can’t wait for some time off so that you can have a lie-in? Well, I got to the stage of waking up from my lie-in feeling like I was starting the day on the back foot. I began to crave the return of routine. I was starting to get on my nerves, being under my feet like that all day! I had become overcome with inertia; I couldn’t even motivate myself to make New Year’s Resolutions.

I used to get upset with myself if I’d set myself the goal of say, hovering the house; but instead I’d spent the day doing hundreds of other things, including knitting and looking up patterns or discussion on Ravelry. Then I realised a simple truth about human nature:

We do what we want.

I’ve read a few management books about motivation. They talk about employees being motivated by pay or by job satisfaction or promotion opportunities. I haven’t read one yet that recognises the fundamental fact that each of us will do exactly what we want and we will do something we wouldn’t ordinarily want to do but need to do (such as housework, for example) when our need to do it is so strong it makes us want to do it (such as DH is arriving on a flight in an hour and I better cop-on and get the place neatened up!). You could psycho-analyse this as being the battle between the Id and the Super-Ego. Or you could just get the Dyson out and get on with it!

I had a great list of things to do at the start of last week: re-organise our utility room; draw-up a scope of works to give Builders to price for the demolition works; contact the local Nursing Home. DH was away on business and the kids were starting back at school but I was still off work; so it was a great opportunity to get stuck into a few jobs. What did I do instead? Join Twitter!

The recent cold-snap we had here last week didn’t help my productivity levels either. We’re just not used to freezing temperatures in this country. With a light dusting of snow the country comes to a standstill. With the snow and ice lasting for a few days; widespread panic set in. It was actually fun to be on Twitter and witness the chaos unfold, minute by minute; line by line:

Early Saturday morning someone tweeted that the local council would shut off the water from 3p.m. to 9a.m. the following morning. I couldn’t believe that to be true: 3a.m. might have been feasible, perhaps. However, it had been heard on a radio news bulletin and within seconds it was all over the net.

Two hours later news bulletins were tweeted that the local council denied that they would switch of the water supplies.

Human nature, being as it is, by that time everyone had probably bathed all their children, and themselves, and then filled the bath and any other vessel they could find with water.

Did the Council switch the water off on Saturday? No.

And what happened to all the water stock-piled in panic? It was all probably poured down the drain when it was realised that it wasn’t needed. (We don’t pay water-rates in Ireland – no-one really realises how expensive treated water is.)

Now that there’s a thaw, what are we facing? Burst pipes, water leakages and reduced levels in our reservoirs.

The local council are blaming a spike in demand on Saturday for the reduced levels of treated water available and now have no option but to cut water supply.

Being back at work means I have to get back into a routine. With the level of self-discipline that maintaining the routine requires, I’ll find it easier to say no to myself. So less tweeting from me; less night-owl “twit-to-who”s. Instead, more early-bird specials please. Or that would be my New Year’s Resolution… if I wanted to make one!

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