If, in a fit of slight hysteria, I announced “next year I will run a marathon!”, then once we’d all stopped laughing and realised that I was serious about making it happen, do you know what would get me though to the finish line? Yes, it would involve a plan, a damn good plan, full of small achievable goals with rewarded targets throughout.
However, the thing that would truly motivate me most would be the reward at the end. If I did actually run that ridiculously long marathon, I think I would deserve a damn cold beer. That is what would get me across the line. I’d be thirsty for my reward.
Sometimes when we decide that we need to do something with our collections, for example, weed the fiction or rearrange the children’s collection, it’s the sheer size of the task at hand that overwhelms us. Where to start? What do we need to do first, second, third, forth? Who should I consult with? What reports do I need to run? What Health & Safety factors do I need to consider?
What if … we focused first on what we want the end result to be?
Instead of planning forwards, identify the outcome & the reward, and then work backwards.
What if … we focused on the destination instead of the journey?
Would it make a difference about how you approach the task at hand? Does it really matter how you get there, instead of actually making it across the finish line? Can you cope with disarray of collections for a while, or does it have to be methodically planned every step of the way? For some projects the journey is critical, for other projects, it is all about the destination.
What if … you focused on the tangible rewards at the end of what you have to do (like a cold drink after a hot day working in the garden, or a pot of coffee after marking 25 student exams) instead of the the immediate task at hand?
Does it change your attitude to what you have to do right now?
Sometimes we do things, such as weeding the garden or changing a specific collection, and nobody notices. We’ve spent all this time working hard, and nobody notices. We’re not actually doing it for their praise. By all means, it has improved the situation, but nobody notices. The customer may love the new layout, but they won’t actually tell you, although you might notice an increase in borrowing or browsing the area. Sometimes, you need a reward to motivate you to actually do it.
Pick a reward for your task. Identify what makes you thirsty. Focus on the satisfaction of quenching that thirst. Your thirst might just be what you need to get your across the finish line.