Run this each day for 30 days for motivation to finish your projects.

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Looking for feedback. Please IM me on with assessments, even if everything works it would be good to know that. I'm especially interested to know if the psychology works.

This program uses psychological methods to increase your motivation for completing projects. Run it once a day for 30 days, and you should see an improvement in project motivation.

Each run consists of a one-minute slideshow of words and images that bring your project to mind, plus a short lesson on some psychological aspect of motivation.

The slideshow gets your mind thinking about the project, and the explanations help you make small changes to your behavior and attitude that should boost your project motivations.

The techniques are well documented and backed by scientific studies, no tricks or subliminal messaging is involved.


The project consists of a web page with some embedded javascript to manage the presentation. Everything happens in the browser, no compile or install is needed. Just clone the project and go.

On first run, you will be asked to choose a project category for the project you want to finish: the system will use words and images from this category for the slide show.

Then, once a day for 30 days, run the web page in your browser as soon as possible after waking.

A daily run consists of a slide show of words and images from your project category, to highlight those ideas in your mind. The slide show takes about a minute.

While you watch the slideshow, look for a specially displayed word: a different color, a different placement, bigger, smaller, crooked, or whatever. The method changes with each run, but it will be obvious when you see it. After the slide show, you will be asked to identify the special word.

After the slideshow you might be given some lesson text to read.

The lessons describe psychological aspects of motivation, and give suggestions for how these might be improved. Knowing how motivation works will help you make changes that will increase your own motivations.

Sometimes the program will ask you to do a small task such as thinking about an issue or writing a todo list. The tasks work with the lessons to implement the psychological techniques, and help you gain motivation.

After 30 days you should see an increased motivation for finishing your projects.

Good luck with your projects!

  • Project tuning and rules

    Peter Walsh10/28/2021 at 19:16 0 comments

    I just started sitting down to do my next task: a repair, not a project, but something I've been putting off for awhile and I wanted to clear it from my workbench.

    And I've been considering how I actually *do* projects from a tuning standpoint.

    So my first task was to put some things away to make room on the workbench. Then set up the DUT ("Device Under Test") and my scope and some documentation to consult while debugging and the scope was in the middle, the docs were on the right, and the DUT was on the left.

    Is this optimal?

    Given that I'm about to start, and moving things into place, it occurred to me to ask: what is the best layout?

    Best guess is to have the scope on the left, because I'm left handed and would be holding the probe in my left hand. If I assume that I don't want the probe wires or my arm to cross over something, that means putting the scope on the left. I could also have the scope in the middle and the DUT on the right, but then my right arm would have little use.

    So the scope is on the left, the DUT is front and center (probably better than on the right, since I would have to switch my vision left/right to do anything), and docs on the right. A PCB ruler and weight (on the right) to hold a document down and select a section for easy review - I can glance over and see a specific point in the document without having to scan down the page.

    The point of all this navel-gazing is that I now have a rule that I can use for future projects that will incrementally make doing things easier. I can always say "scope on the left, project in the middle, and docs on the right" without having to think about it. "Iron on the left, project in the middle, and parts on the right" is also probably a good rule (for me).

    Since it's a rule, it reduces the cognitive load (a tiny bit) and reduces the norepinephrine needed to start a project.

    Baby steps. Do a lot of them, and you can go a fair distance towards your goals.

  • Second beta tester says project is effective

    Peter Walsh09/28/2021 at 20:53 0 comments

    Second beta tester checked in, and reports that the system seems to work:

    "Yes, I'm definitely more motivated, thanks! Everything is making a lot of sense. The self-image stuff, the mantras, I agree with this stuff, and I think I might be internalizing it."

    So to summarize: The first 2 beta testers have reported that the system is effective at increasing motivation.

    That's not yet a statistically significant sample, but it's promising. For an experimental project based on "best guesses" for how the mind works, it's a pleasing result.

    I'm going to wait a week (for the HAD prize flood to die down a little) and then submit the project to the blog for a potential writeup. If I can get 5 more beta testers, that would be pretty significant results.

  • Deep work

    Peter Walsh09/27/2021 at 16:01 0 comments

    Waiting for the next round of Hackaday Prize to drop (probably today) to enter.

    It is remarkably difficult to get beta testers for a project. I'm a little surprised at this, given my estimation of how useful this should be if it works.

    I originally wrote this as a way to crystallize my thoughts on psychology related to projects, and I'm finding that the concepts work for me *without* writing them down as a project for others, and it's had an effect on my own motivations, so I'm going to declare victory and go home.

    The project is unfinished but open to the public, there is 1 lesson arc that needs to be completed, and the 3rd arc (existing) needs some polish. I opened to the public after reading an article by one of the editors that suggested early feedback is strongly tied to good projects.

    The last arc deals with tuning: tweaking your project process for more efficiency. There's lots of ways to do this, but essentially you go through each step and each aspect of your process and spend some time looking for ways to improve.

    The first phase is to remove pain, which is back pain, chair pain, and hand/wrist RSI and anything else painful. Clear and obvious ways to do this can be found online.

    The next phase is to optimize specific steps and processes. For example, lots of people finally decide to get a high-quality version of "that one tool" that they use a lot, and it makes a world of difference.

    (I personally decided to get a high-end drill gun after my last one died, and I find it amazing. I use it for everything now. I then decided to get a high-end glue gun, which I *don't* use a lot, and now I'm using it for everything and not burning myself as much.)

    There's lots of ways to optimize; for example, years ago I went to Staples and tried every pen they had in the store, and chose the one I liked the best (Uniball Vision Fine). This has been my go-to pen for years, and has seriously improved my writing and documentation process. I expect a lot of people have never considered that there are grades of writing implement and would benefit from a similar Staples trip.

    The big payout for optimization is something called "deep work". This is a mental state that has been noted by scholars for centuries and is/was used by many people, including Carl Jung, Neil Stephenson, Donald Knuth to name a few.

    Apparently, the "deep work" mental state is intensely pleasurable while at the same time wildly productive. I've managed to achieve it a couple of times in my life, and I can attest to the intense pleasure *and* productivity. In my case ideas were flowing so rapidly that I couldn't write them down longhand fast enough.

    For me this takes 3 days of 10-hour effort. On the 3rd day around 6 hours in the effect will kick in (bigly!) and I can make a year's progress in a few hours. As you might expect, this is very hard to set up and execute in today's modern world.

    I suspect there is a neurochemical basis for this: the dopamine released for progress builds day-on-day until you hit a dopamine high analogous to shooting drugs. People don't normally experience this because daily distractions interrupt the build-up process.

    Anyway, the previous (tuning, deep work) is a thumbnail sketch of the final lesson arc in the project. If there's little interest in the project I'll let it sit unfinished, because the information is already had its effect on me.

  • End lesson added

    Peter Walsh09/14/2021 at 23:22 0 comments

    If you're following the project, do a "git pull" to grab the newest version.

    Added an "end" lesson at day 23 that formally alerts the user to the end of lessons. Some extra lessons are included. These are rough sketches of lessons I was planning on adding, so there's no polish or integration here - just some paragraph notes.

    There's really a lot of psychology that can be said about doing projects. I hope what I've put together has an effect (the intended effect). I've tried to cover what I believe to be the basics.

  • New beta tester

    Peter Walsh09/14/2021 at 01:44 0 comments

    Gave another invite, should have 2 beta testers soon.

    I've decided to open the project up to the public, probably next Monday to give the beta testers time to find bugs.

    As was mentioned on one of the HAD blog posts, it's more efficient/effective to get early feedback on projects, so it makes sense to let people in even if the project isn't finished. I'm pretty comfortable with the slideshow and at least the first 12 lesson days, so there's no sense in waiting for a polished version.

    On an unrelated note, I'm personally surprised at how powerful the priming effect is.

    Effectively, whenever you encounter any concept the idea bounces around in your head like an echo until it dies down. When you wake up in the morning your head is relatively clear of these, so priming can fill your head with whichever category of concepts you want to think about.

    Adding a category to the project is simple - take a list of words and some images, put them in a directory in a specific place, and run a program (supplied) to link them into the web page. Javascript doesn't allow general file access, so the program just generates an array containing the file names to use for links.

    So on my local machine (not in the project) I've added a category for psychology and this gets me thinking about psychology, and another one "special" that has some high energy images and words that have  meaning to me, and... Yow! It's a surprisingly powerful effect.

    I *used* to wake up in the morning and read the news before getting to work, and I've noticed that this fills my head with all sorts of ideas that have to get worked out over time, and this distracts from whatever I'm working on. I have to consciously decide *not* to think about whichever click-bait outrage the MSM is oing on about that day.

    Now I skip the news and fill my head with topics related to what I'm working on, and it's surprising the difference this makes. I'm thinking about psychology and writing all morning, which makes it relatively easy to have high energy for this project.

    Now I'm wondering if this would have a similar effect from using porn. Or violence. Or political belief. Or personal preference.

    The effect is scary-strong.

  • System seems to work

    Peter Walsh09/02/2021 at 01:43 0 comments

    Forgot to mention:

    The one beta tester reports that the system seems to be having the expected effect. His words:

    "My gut feel is that the little 1 minute slide show and looking for the word(s) really does seem to keep the project on my mind. Normally I would have issues with it fading out of my thoughts by this point. So just seeing all the electronics stuff and words once a day keeps me thinking about it."

    "I really like the lessons too, they are very interesting and informative."

    So it would *appear* that the experimental techniques are having an effect.

    That's only 1 person, but still a hopeful result.

  • Journey arc, 1st draft

    Peter Walsh09/02/2021 at 01:38 0 comments

    The 1st draft of the "journey" arc (my term) is typed in. Needs garlic, but the best writing advice I ever heard is: "it's easier to fix crap than air". Get *something* down on paper, and it's easy to adjust from there to make something good.

    The new arc includes RAS programming (Reticular Activating System), a rather surprising aspect of peoples' brains that I'll bet few have heard of. If you can program your RAS a whole world of possibilities will open up.

    Also in the new arc is an explanation of the project plan. A project plan is essentially mapping out what you are going to do in a project before you actually do it, and I personally never saw any benefit of doing this in any past project (work or personal) until I learned about the neurochemistry.

    All the project planning from my professional life - just about all of it - was ill-directed. If I knew then what I know now...

    A well executed project plan can increase motivations, streamline the journey, and program your RAS at the same time. Also, it makes for a better (read: more valuable) project.

    (I wish I'd done that with *this* project. I'm dealing with a bit of writer's block - the programming and web layout was interesting enough, and learning the psychology was interesting, but not I'm wishing I had added motivation for doing the writing.)

    I have one more lesson arc, the "tuning" arc, and some of that is already done. I'm on the final stretch, and should be done soon.

  • Curated images

    Peter Walsh08/21/2021 at 00:07 0 comments

    The original slideshow used images that were hastily assembled. It's always been on my list to use more curated images from Pexels...

    And now that's complete. Took all yesterday curating images, most project categories now have over 450 related images.

    As part of the curation process I have to see all the images for a specific category and run through the slideshow - and now I've got an itch to start a ceramics project, even though I have none of the tools or materials.

    Also a sewing project.

    I'm considering making a specific category "psychology", with no general interest but would encourage me to finish the psychology sections. That's the last major piece to finish, and I'm completely burned out on it.

  • Testing the betas

    Peter Walsh08/19/2021 at 15:33 0 comments

    Program is being tested by the one beta tester. No reported glitches in the code yet.

    As developer I have to run through the process multiple times, and man! I just curated the "fitness" motivation track and now I'm jones'ing to go out and start running again. But it's raining.

    I got a new pack of good images (curated) from Pexels, have been curating the program tracks, slowly, and should have roughly 400 good images for each track.

    My beta tester's project is "mechanical design", for which there is no track in the program.

  • Neurochemistry is all wrong

    Peter Walsh08/15/2021 at 04:20 0 comments

    I got my thoughts in order to compose the serotonin lesson, realized that I didn't quite understand how it worked, and decided I needed more research.

    ...and of course the field has changed so much since I first learned it 10 years ago that my understandings are now completely wrong. Seriously, what I learned 10 years ago is now the complete opposite of the current consensus.

    Isn't it always the case - you think you know something until you try to explain it.

    OK, 2/3 of this particular lesson arc was mentioned by David Huberman in a recent podcast, he's a Stanford researcher, so I think I'm OK for those parts.

    On balance, I've decided to keep the serotonin explanation as is, with a big caveat that I might be getting the names wrong. I think the effects and actions are correct, but I might have the names of the messenger chemicals wrong. There's no good consensus on what serotonin does anyway, so this might be right.

    I can revisit this later to correct errors, but I think the described process is correct.

    Generally: The brain has a differential reward detection circuit (officially, the "dopamine reward prediction error") that fires when there is a perceived change of value. This is an error feedback that detects *changes* in state, and acts to train our value predictor.

    This feedback signal explains many features of extrinsic motivation: time extinction, initial excitement, and so on. Also some child behaviors.

    You get an idea, and the predicted reward is suddenly high (high differential) so you're psyched to do the project. A couple of days later and the reward value hasn't changed, so the differential is zero and your initial excitement has died down. Dopamine from progress towards the goal should have taken over by that time to carry you through to the end. This has implications for projects that require ordering parts online - by the time the parts arrive, your initial excitement has died down and you're no longer motivated to do the project.

    Explaining this in a simple, easy-to-understand way is a challenge, and simplifying it will make it wrong anyway, and I couldn't find a definitive correct explanation online, so I decided to just keep the original version that sounds simple and logical, but is wrong.

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  • 1
    Installation is as easy as "git clone"...


    Get the project from git, in the normal manner:

    > git clone

    That's it! No other installation steps are needed.


    To run the project, double-click on "index.html" in the project directory to start the program in your default browser.

    Running at first boot

    The project should be run once a day for 30 days, as early as possible after waking.

    If you always open a browser as part of your daily routine, you can open the web page in a tab and set the browser to restore tabs on restart. Each time you open the browser, the program will be available, and you can view it once each day.

    You can also set the system to open the web page in the default broswer when you first log on, using the "xdg-open" command (linux) or "start" command (windows). Cut/Paste the following into your system "startup applications":

    # Linux
    > xdg-open $HOME/Motivation/index.html
    # Windows
    > start %HOMEDRIVE%%HOMEPATH%/Motivation/index.html

    (If you cloned to a different directory, change the command lines as needed.)

    Alternately for Linux systems, run the following command from the project directory to run the project at first login:

    > echo "xdg-open $PWD/index.html" >>~/.profile

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dearuserhron wrote 09/14/2021 at 21:34 point

> This program uses psychological methods to increase your motivation for completing projects. Run it once a day for 30 days, and you should see an improvement in project motivation.

Sounds like a miracle to me. Does it really work?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Peter Walsh wrote 09/14/2021 at 23:24 point

It's experimental, no one knows. Yet.

I have one beta tester, he claims it had a positive effect.

Feel like trying it out and giving feedback?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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