Sources of Motivation for Creative Types

One of the folks at 37signals posted an interesting blog article recently about motivation—or lack thereof—and the sources of motivation. You can reference the entire post here and the excerpt below stimulated interesting conversation here at WebAD among our developers and I’ve included those comments at the bottom of this article.

37signals Blog Post Excerpt

When you’re not working on something you’re inspired by, your efficiency is so much lower. You find more moments in the day to let yourself be distracted by email or reading on the Web or something else. That’s usually the key smell I detect when I’m working on something I don’t really want to be working on: I check email much more frequently and I engage in chats about things that aren’t related to what I should be working on.

On the flip side, when I’m working on something I’m really fired up about, I couldn’t care less about new posts on Twitter or whatever. Instead, I get whatever I’m working on done right away.

-From Whatever interests you naturally is the most important thing to work on 

WebAD Thoughts

Our developers and creative types at WebAD have the same issues the poster mentions. This helps explain a lot about why we sometimes can’t seem to finish—or even start—certain projects that are important but are just not that fun or rewarding to work on. You almost have to lock yourself away from the typical distractions to get any work done and this is also a good time to look for motivation by teaming up on a difficult project with someone else.

Jamison Morrow’s Comments

The article describes the personality type of most creative individuals. Speaking personally, when I’m uninspired by something it takes me at least twice as long… and I tend to procrastinate. However, when something truly has my interest, I’m an unstoppable force. I don’t even really sleep well because my brain never shuts off until I’m finished with the task.

One of the commenters on this article actually had a good point though. Sometimes, it’s beneficial to work with somebody else when powering through uninspired tasks. There were certain portions of PeopleProvision that were knocked out more quickly because I paired up with someone on them.


  1. Rob

    I agree. If your heart isn’t in it, you’re going to be distracted easily, may not finish the task, or not put in the full effort. Enough to get the job done maybe, but not enough to actually give it the care it would have had if you were inspired by that task. I think a lot of people today are stuck, or feel stuck, doing things they have no motivation or desire to do, they just can’t find a way out to let them do something that really inspires them.

  2. some times it is hard to keep on task if you are not doing something you enjoy

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