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The Muse

May 06, 2007

Are you busy?

The other day, I was talking with a friend of mine after a while and she was asking me what I was upto. While talking with her, I realized how much of a slob I had become. I realized how important it us for all of us to keep ourselves occupied and be motivated all the time to keep striving for that something extra.

My psychology classes (yes, I took a couple), taught me that basically, motivation for an individual exists in two forms - intrinsic and extrinsic. As you probably guessed, intrinsic motivation involves striving to achieve something because you want to - the work is in itself the reward. Extrinsic refers to doing something for what you get in return - but externally (your paycheck, recognition, promotion etc)

When people say "I get paid to do what I love", they are referring to the fact that they have a win-win situation, they are both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated to achieve the same goal. When I think back to about a year or so back, I was enrolled in 12 credit hours of PhD coursework, I was doing research, I was writing a journal article, I was working a consulting job and I also used to go work out 3 times a week at the gym. In addition, I would take Sunday off and just not do anything except read something, watch football and/or sleep late. Its obvious to me that I was internally motivated to a really high level as there were almost negligible external rewards - no pay, no promotion, no recognition, nothing. I enjoyed doing whatever I did and I made the time to do all those things.

Now, anyone who tells me that doing all of that is equivalent to a day in the office better be joking. I think the two most overrated words in business today are "time management" and "multi-tasking". They are important, no doubt, but a lot of people abuse those terms and end up being less productive and becoming lazy jackasses. Nowadays, I work and do my PhD work and that's it. The difference now is that I get rewarded more for doing much less. Because my external rewards are so good, I find myself not being as motivated as I was to do a lot of things.

A lot of people express the opinion that they worked their butt off in school, and that they are now enjoying the fruits of that hard work. That's fine, it that's what you want. But I don't think everyone wants to chill out and relax, and take it easy as they start their career and think about family and all of that good stuff. I think that's when a lot of us want to keep ourselves occupied, keep ourselves active and keep ourselves motivated.

Anyway, my intent in this post is to just get you to think - are you really that busy? Can you not take that one hour to go walk the beach? Or go have lunch with that friend who you haven't met in ages? Or take up that one course you always wanted to? Or are you, like me, just too lazy to admit it? Go do something, screw being busy :)