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3 Science-Backed Ways to Boost Your Motivation (Even When You Don't Feel Like Working)

Motivation and creative work

Intrinsic motivation is necessary for creative work. We need broad thinking, so we can come up with innovative ideas and see new connections.

Extrinsic motivation narrows our thinking by focusing on getting the task done so we can earn the reward. It's providing you an external incentive to work hard.

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3 Science-Backed Ways to Boost Your Motivation (Even When You Don't Feel Like Working)

3 Science-Backed Ways to Boost Your Motivation (Even When You Don't Feel Like Working)

https://zapier.com/blog/stay-motivated-at-work/

zapier.com

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Key Ideas

Motivation and creative work

Intrinsic motivation is necessary for creative work. We need broad thinking, so we can come up with innovative ideas and see new connections.

Extrinsic motivation narrows our thinking by focusing on getting the task done so we can earn the reward. It's providing you an external incentive to work hard.

Elements of intrinsic motivation

The 3 elements required for intrinsic motivation:

  • Autonomy: it's about choice - when you believe you have a choice, you're more motivated.
  • Mastery: it's about wanting to get better at something that matters.
  • Purpose: it comes from believing you're working on something that's bigger than yourself.

Knowing our work helps others

When we know that our work will make a difference to someone else, it makes us work harder. 

Try to reach out to the people who directly benefit from your work. This could boost your motivation to work hard.

Be aware of loss aversion

Loss aversion refers to the fact that we feel stronger emotions about losing something than we do about gaining the same thing.

For example: If you found $20 on the ground, you'd be pretty happy. But if you had $20 in your wallet and lost it, you'd be really unhappy.

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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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.

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The Zeigarnik Effect

Unfinished work continues to exert an influence, even when we try to move on to other things.

When you start working on something but do not finish it, thoughts of the unfinished work ...

The Zeigarnik effect and memory

It reveals a great deal about how memory works. Zeigarnik suggested that failing to complete a task creates underlying cognitive tension. This results in greater mental effort and rehearsal in order to keep the task at the forefront of awareness. Once completed, the mind is then able to let go of these efforts.

You can even use this psychological phenomenon to your advantage.

Get More Out of Your Study Sessions
  • Break up your study sessions rather than try to cram it all in the night before the test. By studying information in increments, you will be more likely to remember it until test day.
  • If you are struggling to memorize something important, momentary interruptions might actually work to your advantage. While you are focusing on other things, you will find yourself mentally returning to the information you were studying.

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Common patterns to the problem of motivation
Common patterns to the problem of motivation

There are three common patterns to the problem of motivation:

  • Drive: You don't have a strong enough desire to learn.
  • Anxiety: You have...
Having a weak drive to learn

Without a drive to learn, it's hard to get going. Weak drives include expectations from family, teachers, or employers. It's the things you have to do, but don't want to do.

You can change this, but you need an inspiring goal to get you started. If your project doesn't excite you, no advice will help.

Problems of anxiety when learning something

Sometimes you are excited to learn, but you still avoid getting started. You may worry about the fear of failure, feedback, or performing. If you expose yourself to the thing you find unpleasant and nothing bad happens, your fear will lessen.

Reframing is often helpful in overcoming this problem. Begin each studying session with the idea that you will find it hard.

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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.

When to Study
When to Study

Studying time is more efficient if it is spread out over many sessions throughout the semester, with a little extra right before the exam.

Cover each piece of info five times from when you fi...

What and How to Study

Testing yourself, so you have to retrieve the information from memory, works much better than repeatedly reviewing the information, or creating a concept map (mind map).

After the first time learning the material, spend the subsequent studying to recalling the information, solving a problem or explaining the idea without glancing at the source.

What Kinds of Practice to Do
For a particular exam, use the following:
  • Mock tests and exams that are identical in style and form.
  • Redo problems from assignments, textbook questions or quizzes.
  • Generate your own questions or writing prompts based on the material.

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How to Get Motivated
How to Get Motivated

Develop a Routine. Create a series of events that you always perform before doing a specific task.

  • Step 1: Start by doing something so easy that you can't say no to it. 
You can generate Motivation

You can produce motivation at your own command if you understand how it works.

Motivation is not random. Like every other effect, it's caused by something. When you grasp this, y...

Power versus Force

Forcing yourself to work is like swimming against the current. You'll need a lot of force to get to your destination.

Getting yourself motivated to do the work is like swimming with the current. You'll make use of power that will energize and support you. You'll get to your destination in a completely different mood and perspective.

Generate the power of Motivation

The most likely reason you feel unmotivated is that you are in a lousy state of mind. It can be caused by various things, like:

  • Feeling stressed
  • Sleeping in
  • Excessive drinking
  • Hanging out with unmotivated and unambitious people
  • The lack of clear goals & priorities
  • Watching a lot of TV or Netflix or scrolling through social media
  • Eating bad foods that create energy crashes or a heavy feeling
  • Procrastinating

As an antidote, apply a few state change 'hacks' to turn your state of mind.

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Social Narrowing

Social Narrowing is a subconscious process in which we are spending time with people who are similar to us.

This phenomenon can be a problem when we need new resources, ideas or a new ...

Change Your Filters
  • When we meet people, we look at them and subconsciously make a decision in our heads about their importance, relevancy or their being of any interest to us.
  • The challenge is to fight these filters and invite people in your life who are of the least interest to you.
  • Identify and connect with people whom you wouldn't normally connect with, adding diversity to your social universe.
People We Don't Reach Out To

The lower your socioeconomic status is, the less diverse are your social networks, as we choose to reach inwards for advice, instead of outwards.

The tweak to apply here is to reach out and ask for advice with the network of people whom you normally will not connect with. Remind yourself of your strengths and values, if you feel intimidated by wanting to take advice out of your comfort zone.

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Just start, break the initial barrier

Every task has a certain Activation Energy (AE), where you initiate certain steps in order to start a task.

Reducing the Activation Energy of new habits you want to form will make it i...

Practice chunking

A memory chunk is a solid connection in your mind that relates various bits and pieces of information. 

Focus on the concept you want to form a chunk of. Write down the basic ideas of what the concept is all about. Build up from these fundamentals to finally create a chunk.

Learn, Practice, Recall — Repeat
Just forming chunks is not sufficient. You have to maintain them. The more you look after the chunks, the longer they last.

While reviewing material, recall it instead of just reading it passively. Try and recall in a different setting than where you studied it.

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