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How to Keep Working When You’re Just Not Feeling It

https://hbr.org/2018/11/how-to-keep-working-when-youre-just-not-feeling-it

hbr.org

How to Keep Working When You’re Just Not Feeling It
Four strategies for motivating yourself

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Motivation Is Personal

Motivation Is Personal

Few people are fans of persistent effort, trying to sustain oneself through any task or project. Effective self-motivation is something that sets normal people apart from high-achievers.

While motivation is a personal effort, there are certain key factors that can help most of us who are trying to lose weight, save, or working on a challenging initiative.

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Rewarding Goals

One has to set goals that feel rewarding and interesting while being specific. Just having to know that you have to go to the gym may feel like a chore, but setting a goal of running 10,000 steps or doing 20 reps feels like a rewarding challenge.

In cases where one would find nothing interesting about the activity, and still has to do it, one can find certain elements of the work that may have fringe benefits.

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Intrinsic Vs Extrinsic Motivation

Goals should have intrinsic motivation, something that stokes our fire from within.

If people choose goals that are pleasant, the work gets done. On the other hand, if the external reward is big enough, people do unpleasant tasks as well, but not with enthusiasm. Example: Working only for the monthly wage (the extrinsic motivation) turns many people into ‘wage slaves’ who put in the minimum effort necessary to earn their income.

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Choose Your Reward

If you are trying to lose weight and reward yourself with a pizza every time you complete a milestone, the hard work is likely to be undone soon. Achievement of goals is not an incentive for indulgence.

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Uncertain Rewards Are Better

Research shows that uncertain rewards are a better external motivator than those which are certain. People are willing to invest more time, money and effort into something that feels thrilling.

Example: A chance to win anything between $50 to $150 creates a greater motivation than an assured win of $100 on completion of the task.

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Loss Aversion

A backwards technique of motivation is exploiting the preference to avoid losses over acquiring gains. Making people aware that they will lose something if the activity isn’t completed is a fear-based but effective method of external motivation.

Example: Making people pay a fine if they don’t walk a certain amount of steps in a day makes them complete their target.

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Sustaining Progress

  • Most people working towards a goal witness periods of motivation(like in the beginning) and a slump(somewhere around the middle).
  • One way to overcome this slump is to have smaller goals or subgoals that give no time for a slump to happen.
  • Another way is to chart out the progress in such a way that it is fully visible and the end of the goal is in sight, creating an illusion to work just a bit more and get further towards the goal.

Example: The coffee stamps that indicate a person is just two coffee purchases away from earning a reward triggers more coffee consumption.

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Motivation Using The Influence Of Others

As humans are social creatures, we consciously and unconsciously imitate the mannerisms, actions and habits of those around us.

Watching the ambitious, efficient and highly successful coworkers can sometimes backfire, as it can feel demotivating. One has to look at the thing which is being sought after, the achievement that one is moving towards, and talk to the successful person to find their motivation.

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Giving And Taking Advice

For people struggling to find motivation, taking advice sometimes is less effective than actually giving it. By giving advice to others, they internally solidify their learnings and turn towards following it themselves, increasing their own drive and achievements.

Example: Teaching a subject to others makes us learn the subject more, than simply reading about it.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Two types of motivation

Motivation is categorized into two basic types: Extrinsic and intrinsic.

  • Extrinsic motivation is related to external forces like money or fame.
  • Intrinsic motivation

Money as a motivation

Money as a tool for motivation is limiting at best, and the 'carrot and stick' approach many managers use to motivate employees is will actually achieve the opposite effect of what was intended.

Conditional rewards

‘If, then’ rewards or conditional rewards are when we promise to give something to an individual when they complete a certain task.

These rewards can have a negative impact on motivation as the employees lose the will to work on that task for the sake of working.

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Attach reason to the task

Getting motivated about a task doesn’t mean you have to be happy or excited about it. 

Sometimes you must ask yourself: Why is this task important? What will it bring about in ...

Your unwillingness to get started

Have you ever had a looming deadline on a big project only to spend an inordinate amount of time cleaning out your refrigerator or detailing your car?

If you struggle to get started on a project until it’s crunch time, you might have an unhealthy relationship with stress. Research shows that people can be just as addicted to stress as they are to likes on their social media posts.

Use the 15-minute rule

You can accomplish quite a bit in just 15 minutes, and yet most of us fritter away that time on our phones in between meetings or during a commute. 

Commit to working on a put-off task for 15 minutes without interruption. Stop at 15 minutes. Don’t allow yourself to work any longer. Do this every day for a week and mark your progress.

How Social Environments Influence Creativity

How Social Environments Influence Creativity

As we grow older, we take cues from our environment and become serious and rigid, conforming to the norms and rules imposed upon us.

Our social environment, especially our ...

How The Meaning of "Being Creative" Changed

In the 70s, creativity was thought of as a trait, something a few geniuses have, and the rest of us do not.

New studies show that ‘extrinsic’ motivators, factors outside ourselves, can influence our creativity. Competition, evaluation, level of strictness along with rewards and punishment play a huge factor in a person’s overall creative levels.

How To Kill Creativity

Knowledge that someone will check, evaluate and grade one’s work, surveillance, a promise of a reward, threat of a punishment, creative constraints, competition and motivating factors like power, money and fame can kill creativity.

Rewards generally provide the individual with a feeling of being controlled, but can also enhance creativity in some cases.