Today I realized there are six variables that strongly influence my level of motivation: velocity, acceleration, friction, momentum, activity transition, and context.
How many things are being accomplished per hour? Every task has their own speed limit, so it's hard to compare apples-to-oranges here, but many little things can build up momentum.
How long does it take to ramp up to achieve a flow state? With a higher barrier to entry, more speed is necessary to bridge that gap. With a greater amount of acceleration, the time to bridge that gap is effectively shortened.
The higher the friction coefficient, the harder to start. The lower, the easier. Simple stuff.
An object in motion tends to stay in motion, unless acted upon an outside force. I just came up with that. If you want an interview, call my publicist.
5. Activity Transition
Moving the mind, body, energy, and materials between disparate tasks requires time to re-orient yourself. The greater the difference in the activity, the greater amount of time to transition.
This is all fine and dandy, but without context, it's just an equation in a vacuum. Are you sick? Did you workout? How many Chipotle burritos have you had? Side note: you should probably only have one burrito a day unless you want to explode.
There could be more that I'm missing, and the real-life equations that pull all these pieces together probably don't make any sense in this environment, but hey - it makes sense to me.
Addendum (January 5th, 2014):
Two more pieces I just thought about: perceived importance, and energy.
7. Perceived Importance
This is a strong influencing force that can easily distort what is actually important, and to what degree. Combat this with periodic reassessments.
I can’t believe I missed this the first time. There is potential energy; the amount of energy inside you, and kinetic energy; the energy that you possess as a result of your motion.
There is a limit to how much work that can be done today before the batteries need to be recharged for tomorrow, but other forces, e.g., deadlines, Red Bull, tunnel vision, can help push those boundaries.
There are also forces working against you, e.g., depression, hunger, general scatterbrain-ness. This is where context is king.