Listen on Spotify.
The alarm shrieks and it’s time to rise and face the day. If you’re like me, you need a few motivational songs to help get you going in the morning. But have you ever wondered how you could keep yourself motivated beyond the morning and thereby boost your productivity? I sure have.
Without further ado, let’s answer the question.
Motivation increases when we are given freedom to work independently and when we work as a group. Working independently towards a goal allows us to exercise autonomy and gives us a sense of purpose and satisfies our natural craving for novelty. If we work with colleagues to overcome challenges, we’ll also satisfy our need for human interaction. In this way, our productivity increases too. Setting goals, celebrating every success and working together towards a share goal are the best ways to keep yourself motivated and maximise your productivity.
Later, I’ll share a fab motivational strategy I found, and talk about how you could motivate your colleagues to become more productive.
First though, let’s define motivation itself.
What is motivation?
Motivation is the drive to act— either to get something we want or to avoid negative consequences of inaction. When you go after something you want, you get a reward. That reward can be something intrinsic , like feeling pleased you’ve helped someone else out, or something extrinsic, like money or a bottle of wine. Reeve suggests that when we’re motivated, we engage with the world in a open-minded and problem-solving mindset.
We may also be motivated to do something for the benefit of a loved one. This is often called family motivation.
Next, we’ll explore the motivational power of celebrating success.
The power of small wins and changes
It’s important to celebrate small wins. To stay motivated and give ourselves the best chance of being productive, Bufka suggests we need to look for where we have control in our lives, however small those places may be. Learning to appreciate small wins also helps remind us that we can exercise our free will and overcome challenges. By overcoming small challenges, we can better resist self-criticism that threatens to push us into a negative thinking spiral.
“Variety is the spice of life. That gives it all its flavour.”
William Cowper in The Task, 1785
Making small changes to your daily routine every once in a while could boost your motivation too. It may be something as simple as taking a stroll in the morning, or perhaps reading a new interesting book that has no connection to the work you do. In this way, you can more easily gain the sense that your needs are important and that you’re doing something you enjoy. Thus you will heighten your motivation and increase your productivity.
Now it’s time to talk about the ‘WOOP’ method of self-motivation.
How do I come up with a plan to motivate myself and be more productive?
Wish – Think of something you want to achieve.
Outcome – Imagine the outcome.
Obstacle – Identify the main thing that’s standing in your way.
Plan – Devise a plan.
Let’s put this idea into context.
- Say that you wish to boost your energy levels so that you can be more productive.
- You imagine the outcome as being able to have enough energy to get all you need to do done, whilst still having enough energy left do something for yourself on most nights.
- The obstacle is that you have a disability which means you can’t walk, or stand unsupported for any length of time. So why not just relax, accept you have lower than average energy and watch just one more episode of the series of the week on Netflix?
- To make a plan, think about what helps put you in a more positive mood whenever you encounter the obstacle. This could be something as simple as chatting to mates or watching a few dog videos on YouTube. If you usually take pleasure from YouTube — or other video sharing sites — it might be a good first step to search on YouTube for exercising and stretching routines that can be done from a seated position. That way, you can slowly build a manageable exercise routine into your day and make strides towards increasing your energy levels.
Zooming in on the obstacle is the most important part of this strategy. Be as specific as you can about what’s in the way of you achieving your wish. Oettingen suggests reflecting on your feelings and summing up your obstacle in four words. Recognising how you react to the obstacle will often help you create the first step of your plan. That plan will immediately help you to combat negative thoughts and the emotions those thoughts would likely bring to the fore.
If you can be precise about identifying the obstacle in your path, you’ll soon work out exactly how to leap over it and continue charging towards your wish.
Now, let’s find out why you sometimes need a little push from others to get you over the hurdle and on track to achieving your goals.
Why is connecting with others imperative for increasing motivation and productivity?
People have an instinctive, natural need to interact with others. It creates a sense of belonging which is crucial for our well-being as humans. Indeed, if there’s a lack of positive interaction it can lead to loneliness which can lessen motivation and harm productivity — both on an individual and team level. Indeed, it may be said that loneliness can negatively affect our health and make us less open and cooperative. This means that when we’re lonely, we’re less able to motivate ourselves and are therefore less productive.
Ensuring you feel connected to others, then, is vital for all workers, whether you’re self-employed, an employee or an employer.
It is only when autonomy, connection and mastery work in concert to heighten motivation that you can work towards maximizing your productivity.
Soon, I’ll set out steps you can take to help motivate your co-workers or employees and thereby boost your productivity as a team.
For now though, we’ll investigate what makes confidence different from motivation.
What is the difference between confidence and motivation?
Motivation, as we said earlier, refers to how compelled you are to act.
Confidence, on the other hand, is a judgement of your own ability. It’s your own assessment of how capable you are of achieving a goal. If you have strong confidence, you think you’re capable of dealing with the task in front of you. You don’t hesitate to tackle it. You trust in your own ability.
If you’re less confident you begin to question and doubt yourself, so that can lessen your motivation.
Thus, its high levels of motivation wedded to confidence — not just confidence alone — that’s most likely to boost your efficiency.
It’s time to discover how you can motivate your colleagues and boost their efficiency, as well as your own.
How can employers help maintain good motivation and productivity levels among their workforce?
Now that we’ve looked into one way to motivate yourself, let’s investigate how employers might help keep their employees motivated and productive.
Here’re some tips I’ve found.
- Set clear goals
- Motivation and job satisfaction among employees are both at their highest when clear goals are worked out and then worked towards as a team. If employees feel that they’re involved in working towards a goal they’re over 3 times more likely to be engaged.
- Encourage employees to imagine what being successful in their role would look like. Also emphasize how important their success within their role is to the success of the whole company, as well as their colleagues.
- Give employees meaningful work to do
- Research suggests that employees report feeling more motivated when they’re given meaningful work to complete. This, of course, boosts work performance.
- Everyone is motivated by something different. Employers can work out what best motivates individual employees and incorporate some useful motivational techniques into their plans.
- Celebrate successes
- Acknowledge successes — big or small — to increase the motivation and productivity of your whole team.
- Bufka’s philosophy of embracing the power of wins seems to work for collective or collaborative work, as well as helping to motivate us as individuals.
- Focusing on your own and your colleagues’ personal development and striving towards social and cultural goals is a good idea. Focusing on these goals, instead of concentrating on key performance metrics can help employees feel less stressed and feel more secure in their positions.
- Offer feedback
- Give feedback that is honest, clear, specific and constructive. When the feedback you’re giving is positive, remember to be clear about what it is you like.
- Receiving targeted feedback helps encourage people to continue doing high-quality work. Moreover, employees feel more valued.
- If the feedback you give is negative, be sure to be constructive and suggest ways the work could be improved. Taking this approach helps avoid overwhelming or discouraging employees and therefore helps sustain their motivation levels.
- Take suggestions
- As you give helpful feedback to your employees to uphold worker motivation and productivity, you can increase both still further by making sure you listen to your colleagues.
- Ask for their opinions and suggestions regularly so that employees feel valued and heard. Make sure you’re open to change and taking new ideas on board.
Now you know the power of motivation and the role it can play in increasing productivity, at an individual level, as well as at a team level. I hope I’ve given you the confidence to try things out to keep yourself motivated so that you and your workmates can all produce lots of high-quality work. Give the ‘WOOP’ method a go today!