There are three main things which allow me to work effectively.
- Some level of interest
- The ability to fail
- Production of a product
There is a lot of bias in those three things because the only thing on my mind right now is school which means these three things come from a perspective of what I find lackluster in school. Although, these three ideas are generated through my experience in school, I’m sure they have some carryover into other aspects of work.
A level of interest is a baseline to me. Without interest in a subject, it becomes significantly more difficult to spend time on it. Throughout a semester, I am almost always interested in the subject matter at the beginning but towards the end, I am burnt out and lose a lot of that interest. There are a number of reasons for this but, essentially, I have found the extrinsic motivator, a good grade, crowds out the intrinsic motivator, curiosity. However, after taking a bunch of writing classes this semester, I am now aware that I am significantly less inclined to burn out in classes in which I must write an essay or create a product than in classes centered around test taking. In test taking classes the extrinsic motivator, a good grade, is more salient than while writing an essay. While studying for a test, I am really only thinking about getting a good grade on the test, which is why I burn out and the extrinsic motivator crowds out the intrinsic motivator but during an essay, the grade feels more distant and thus less salient.
I have also found that the ability to fail is wonderful to me. If not clear from before, grades are very important to me, for better and for worse. This means, I never allow myself to fail — I can never experiment on different ways to study, or attempt difficult projects in class. When the ability to fail is open, I am able to produce much better work; without that fear, I allow myself to tackle larger projects and experiment with new ideas.
Finally, production of a final product, or at least working towards some kind of product, allows me to work better. I found this out, as described above, because in classes in which I create something, burnout tends to be less of an issue. Other than having the grade more distant, creating something simply feels more substantial than studying hours for a test and then getting a grade for 2 hours of performance.