Uncertain Rewards Are Better - Deepstash

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

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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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.

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.

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 t...

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.