Last week I talked about motivation and keeping the momentum up on a creative project such as the Final Major Project and referred to Daniel Pink’s Book Drive.  This week I am going to talk about the nine strategies Pink talks about that will awake motivation.  Inevitably there are some I find helpful and others that will encourage my perfectionist behaviour.

The Flow Test

The first thing he suggests is that you give yourself a “flow test”.  This involves setting some kind of alarm or alert 40 times during one week.  The timings of these alerts should be random.  When they go off you record your mental state – write down what you are doing, how you are feeling and whether you think you are in “flow.”  This information should be recorded so at the end of the week you can look for observations and patterns.  Are you in flow at certain times of the day, what were you doing and who were you with and as a consequence of this information how might you increase the positive moments rather those when you were disengaged or distracted.

I plan to do this exercise next week.  I have some thoughts about how the trends might come out, particularly in terms of the times of day when I am at my most positive but we shall see.

The Big Question

The idea is that we should produce a sentence that allows you to focus on the important things in life.  Apparently, President John F Kennedy was told that a great man is one sentence.  Franklin Roosevelt’s sentence was:

“He lifted us out of a great depression and helped us win a world war.”

The examples of less famous and more normal people I think are more difficult.  So what is my sentence?  This is difficult as I think it is easy to peg it to the point at which you write it rather than it being a life aim or goal.  But at the moment it might be:

“She was able to convey her emotions and feelings through her photography.”

The Small Question

This is more meaningful for me – was I better today than yesterday.  When working I regularly ask myself what I have achieved during the day and how I might improve the following day.  It is about looking for small improvements in whatever it is you aspire to.

Take a Sagmeister

This is about taking time out from work.  As I am semi-retired this doesn’t necessarily apply to me however, when I was in full-time employment I did manage to organise and take a six-week extended break from my work.  I went overseas and worked for a charity encouraging local children to learn more about the animals around them.  Many do not know the names of the animals on their doorsteps.

Give Yourself a Performance Review

I feel uncomfortable about giving myself an appraisal.  I think that is where I am going wrong at the moment as however well I do I will always come up short and fail to meet my own exacting standards and expectations.  This is part of being a perfectionist.

Get unstuck by Going Oblique

Again, I am not sure about this.  Apparently you can purchase a deck of cards with messages or single words on them designed to get you out of whatever rut you are in such as What is the simplest solution?

Move Five Steps closer to Mastery

This is designed to stop you going through the motions.  So running everyday achieves nothing if you don’t improve.  Doing the same thing is not good – it is about changing performance. So be deliberate, repeat, seek feedback, focus and prepare to be exhausted!

Take a Page from Webber

Put answers to these two questions on the two sides of a card: What gets you up in the morning? (Achieving the tasks I have set myself) and What Keeps you up at Night? (The tasks I failed to achieve).So, I am setting myself up to fail everyday.  I need to work on these sentences and focus them differently!

Create your Own Motivational Poster

Now, this is my kind of task!

My Motivational Poster



PINK, Daniel H. 2010. Drive. Edinburgh. Canongate Books.

Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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