Ever since I started my blog, I keep getting questions from different people about how I stay motivated. The question can be related to work, programming, writing, or other topics.
It's not an easy question, to be honest. Staying motivated can be related to different aspects of your life that can affect how you end up getting things done. With time, it can even end up being a skill you need to develop.
That's why I decided to write an article answering the different questions regarding what motivates me in the hopes that it can help someone out there.
What Motivates You to Work
This one you hear a lot of people ask, regardless of who you are or what your profession is. The answer to this can be different for every person. Some people might think about the money they're making or the financial security the job provides. Others might think about the responsibilities they have in a job and how it's important for them to stay on top of everything.
For me, what I learned through looking at different people's lives, applying to different jobs, and my experience at my job, what keeps me motivated is the work environment. It's easy to fall for job titles or salaries when choosing a job, but, in my personal opinion, what actually keeps you going is a healthy work environment.
A healthy work environment is where you can make mistakes and get help to fix them without having to worry or feel scared about making them. It's a place where you can discuss your work with your colleagues in a professional manner regardless of your age, gender, level of knowledge, or anything similar. It's a place where you can feel like you're a part of a team, where you either rise up together or fall together. It's where you feel safe to make mistakes, learn, and grow.
Having a good work environment keeps me going even when I'm feeling very demotivated or tired. Seeing everyone else work hard and wanting the best for the entire team makes me want to work just as hard. The end result we achieve together makes everything worth it. That's what keeps me motivated to go to work every day and keep trying.
What Motivates You to Write
I've always loved writing, even before becoming a programmer and starting with technical writings and articles. Starting a blog was something I've always wanted to do. However, I still go through times where I just don't want to do it anymore. When I'm too busy with other responsibilities, It doesn't feel as important and I end up dropping it for a while.
The reason I still get back to it is that for me writing in my own blog is a learning journey. It's not just putting together a bunch of words or who's gonna read it. It's about learning something new and then sharing it with others in case they're looking for the same information or are interested to learn about the same things as well.
What Motivates You to Do Programming of Any Kind Outside of Work
If you've read any of my previous articles or if you follow me on GitHub or Twitter, you'll know that I manage a couple of open source projects and I also have some free browser extensions I develop and maintain. Working on projects that are not classified as "work" can be hard sometimes, especially when you have a lot of actual work and responsibilities taking a lot of your time. You end up not having the time to spend it on programming outside of the work scope.
In my own opinion, contributing to open source projects or working on personal projects that do not necessarily generate profit for you is a good way to improve your programming skills, engage with the community, and keep your love for programming going. A lot of time in work scenarios you might not be in control of the tasks, the programming language, or other aspects due to the type of work. Once you confine programming to just your job, it will stop being something you love and it will become something you tolerate or have to do to earn a living. Although that's not bad, I'd like to work in what I like.
So, I try to keep working on projects outside of the work spectrum to keep myself in shape. To make sure I'm still learning something new, to stay in the know, and to have something that I'm fully in control of. To build something of my own. Even if no one else uses it, I will still benefit from it in all the ways I mentioned above. Once I remind myself of that, I always find my way back to it even if I lose motivation.
What Motivates You to Keep Learning
Regardless of the field you are working in, the longer you work in it or as you get older, you might get to a point where you are used to what you know and use and you don't seek new information and knowledge regarding what's changing in the world. Specifically, in our field, you have to constantly keep up with the new technologies, skills, and methods that are coming out every now and then. Using the same old technologies can sometimes result in outdated products. We have to keep learning and keep growing with the growth of technology.
I think this one sums up everything else I mentioned before. I keep myself motivated to learn by keeping myself motivated to work, as I learn from real-life situations and problems, learn from my colleague's expertise, or learn new technologies based on new projects or requirements. I keep myself motivated to learn by keeping myself motivated to write, as I sometimes learn something to write about it or as I research things more thoroughly. I keep myself motivated to learn by doing personal projects or contributing to open source projects.
As long as you're staying active in different fields, or even one field that you are 100% focused on that you're giving it all your motivation, skills, effort, and energy, you'll want to flourish in it and will end up learning on the go.
It's not always easy to stay motivated, but if you keep trying and keep reminding yourself of why you are doing what you are doing, you'll learn how to self-motivate yourself.
Do you have other ways or reasons to stay motivated? Please share them with me on my twitter @shahednasserr