We’ve all had those days where we just wanted to lounge around, grab a quart of ice cream, kick on a movie and forget about the 6.73 million tasks that need to be done in the next half hour. Sure it makes you want to perform an act of violence to get people off your back, but works gotta be done. For most of us, it’s work we don’t even want to do too. That makes it just that much worse.

So how do you find motivation? The same approach won’t work for everyone, but  I have figured out what works for me. I’ve tried a lot of different things and a lot of them can work now and again, but it takes time till you can figure out what works for you time and time again.

For me being a lowly developer and soon to be college graduate, it surprisingly doesn’t take too much to motivate me.

Listening to a podcast

Nothing really motivates me as much as this. Listening to real people talk about their accomplishments makes me think, why haven’t I done something awesome like that yet? I tend to look at people who are “accomplished” and I get this fire inside me that says “hey, I could do that! Why am I not doing that right now?” and off I go.

This also goes a long ways for the times when I need some background noise while I work. Kick on a podcast while you are deep in the trenches forging your web applications of the future and maybe you’ll pick up some tips along the way.

The other day I was feeling terribly unmotivated and severely needed to do something about it. Being home from break, my family was just about to go to bed, and I was going to do the same. Since the sun wasn’t rising yet, it was too early for such a college student to consider going to bed yet, but that’s what I was going to do. I layed down, put in some headphones and began listening to an episode of TechZing! (one of my all time favorite podcasts). Droopy eyelids, pajamas, warm blanket, and a dimly lit room, it was certain I would just push off everything till the morning. It was literally no more than 15 seconds of hearing their voices discuss startups that my eyes were wide open, my brain was full of ideas, and I was more awake than I had been the entire day. Not wanting to waste the moment, I got up, sat down at my computer, lost all track of time and what do you know, the sun rose and someone’s alarm went off signaling that for my own health’s sake, I should take that as a reminder that I need sleep to survive.


My second most useful resource of motivation is simply reading about other people’s accomplishments. Since the great thing about podcasts are that you can listen to them while you’re doing other things, reading doesn’t keep me perpetually motivated, but it sure can get the ball rolling.

Sit down, fire up Google Reader where I’ve got Hacker News articles and several other blogs of incredibly interesting posts, I can easily filter through, find something impressive, and be on my merry way. It doesn’t take much sometimes to hear, wow, this guy built a startup in a weekend and is making money already? I’m a poor college student, why something like that would be incur a serious dent in the loans and debt that just perpetually builds up over your college experience.

Grab a blog article, a book like Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose (a personal favorite of mine I highly recommend), or whatever and find someone who has done things you might have dreamed of doing.


Sometimes you need to relax for a bit but still would like to feel motivated soon. What better way than to sit down and watch a TED talk or an inspirational movie like Gattaca. Relax for a bit while you watch and then afterwards you just have this sensation of changing the world.


To find motivation, the goal is simple. Find someone’s accomplish that impresses you. There will always be someone out there who is better than you, so use that to your advantage.

Just relax and think to yourself “I wanna be the very best like no one ever was.” I admit, ending with a quote from the Pokemon theme was probably a bad choice, but hey, its related right?

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