Offices can be incredibly oppressive environments. When the fluorescent atmosphere or workload is getting you down, a bit of a motivational encouragement can work wonders.
It isn't necessary to sign up for the first seminar you come across, though; it can be just as good (and much more cost-effective) to have a widget on your desktop or iPhone. Unfortunately, finding a genuinely inspiring quotation widget amongst the billions of vapid and poorly designed business motivational sites that litter Google can be tiring work.
Thankfully, not everything turned up by keywords like 'motivational app' is rubbish: here are a few of the best that we came across:
Jim Bennett is a motivational speaker based in Scotland. He maintains a widget called Motivational Thought of the Dayexternal link. The content he posts on it actually manages to hold true to the title, combining quotes from obscure and established philosophers with sayings and anecdotes from a variety of well-known businesspeople, historic figures inspirational authors. Perhaps best of all, it's free.
Ian's Messy Deskexternal link is maintained by Canadian HR executive Ian Mackenzie. It's also free and provides a breath of fresh air in the world of motivational widgets and apps, as it's written in an unpretentious fashion by an established blogger who doesn't mince words. The widget offers pragmatic, simple and often amusing advice for motivation in the modern office environment.
If you tend to find the average inspirational site gaudy and impersonal, then maybe you need Gratitude. Happytapper.comexternal link offers an iPhone app that operates upon a premise that sounds cheesy in theory (please ignore the Oprah quote) but is clever and surprisingly affirming in practice. Users input brief journal entries detailing aspects of their daily lives that they find motivating or inspiring. They're then able to index entries according to theme, add photos, email entries to friends and flick through their musings at random. The result is a personalised inspirational app that enables the user to bypass the depressingly generic aphorisms that often characterise inspirational sites, and tailor a motivational application to their individual taste.
If Gratitude is still too cheesy for your tastes, but you find the concept interesting, Mere Mortal Software may provide an appropriate alternative. Inspire Meexternal link provides a method of storing and managing simple text phrases, entered by the user, who can then specify the frequency with which they change cycle, and choose to have them displayed on the desktop, in a floating window or using a Growl. Additional content can be downloaded from the Mere Mortal site. It's Mac only and costs around US$12 to buy, but you can trial it for 10 days. As the onsite demonstration shows, the software can be used for practically any purpose, from positive personal reinforcement to beer appreciation.
Feeling better now?