On Motivation

Cover image

We all go through motivational highs and lows. I had identified this trait in myself and how I’m different from most people with regards to my highs and lows. I love to fully immerse myself in new projects, habits, and traits. Especially if I’m starting a new thing at a time when I’m well-rested and my living conditions have changed in some way. I recently moved to a new country with the family as my girlfriend is on an exchange study at a Danish school. I also took the remaining 6 weeks of paternity leave to arrange this move and spend some quality time with my son before his two-year birthday (and expiry of my parental leave).
Now I’ve been back at work for two weeks. Continuing to work fully remote, but I have a new role that I’m shaping plus a vision to define and communicate.

These are prime conditions for a motivational peak.
My beer to bike ratio was in a bad place, I didn’t do any exercise for 6 weeks and it was starting to show.
Now, I’m cycling every day for at least an hour, I meditate, stretch, and do strength exercise. Then I immerse myself in work in our little potato patch cabin that we rented. I’m also writing again … and you are reading it.
I also know that in a few weeks, I will have settled in a rut. I'll still be cycling, it's a lifestyle, not a habit. I'll need to see if I can stick with the meditation routine after this peak. But I don't worry about that anymore, I just lean into the valley of motivational troth and look forward to the next peak. I might be getting old.

It wasn’t until I came across the publications of BJ. Fogg that I could articulate this properly and start applying it in my product design work.
It is a common pitfall for many product owners to assume that people are prepared and motivated to immerse themselves in your product or app at the moment they see it for the first time. We can do things to optimize this first experience, but let’s say my first impression of your app is in a pile of corporate emails on a Monday morning. How likely am I to download it and go through your onboarding when I have all this other stuff to get done?

My work is focused on sleep. A Telehealth offering where we partner with large companies to diagnose and treat employee sleep disorders. We come from sleep apnea treatment for truck drivers but are moving into a broader offering around sleep hygiene and habits. But thoroughly grounded in the medical treatment of sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs, and circadian rhythm disorder.

The way our program is set up right now is that everything hinges on that first touch where you go through the onboarding and based on that you might or might not continue to schedule a Telehealth consult with a doctor.
Not surprisingly, most people are not. Everyone sleeps, but most people are asleep when they experience their disorders. Hence it’s a fascinating challenge to present the program and engage in such a way that people remember us when they are ready to do something to improve their sleep quality.

Reflect on your motivation levels, try to figure out how to harness the peaks, and show empathy towards not everyone being on the same wave as you.