“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, she turned into a butterfly.” (Proverb)
Motivation is how we get things done. The sad thing is that it’s a finite resource – you can run out of motivation unless you replenish it daily. How do you stay motivated so that you can be your most productive? Thankfully science has the answers.
What to Do to Stay Motivated Every Day
For years, scientists and doctors of psychology have looked at the connection between motivation and action. What they’ve discovered is that there are things we can do to keep ourselves motivated – and even rekindle motivation when you’ve hit a wall. Here are some of their findings:
1. People who are feeling like they’re making a difference accomplish more. A study of people raising money for students, done by the University of Michigan, conclusively showed that when the fundraisers talked to those students who benefited, their ability to raise donations increased dramatically – by 171%. That’s pretty impressive. How can you apply that to your project? Remind yourself of the reasons why you’re doing what you do. Who does this project benefit? How can you connect what you’re doing with those people?
2. Use the reward system. Believe it or not, we genuinely do work better when we see an immediate benefit. By breaking tasks into smaller goals, and then celebrating those milestones, we’re more apt to be productive. Why wouldn’t we be when 75% of what we choose to do we pick because of the reward we’ll reap?
3. Pace yourself. If you work until you drop, that might be a viable plan for the occasional push to get something done. But, you can’t do it daily, and it saps energy right out of you. Instead, try using a timer. If you use the Pomodoro technique, for example, it means that you set yourself up for work periods followed by short breaks. Those breaks keep you fresh and interested in what you’re doing.
4. Get in shape. A recent study by Virgin Pulse has shown that those who are healthy stay motivated longer. This fact should come as no surprise, as everyone from the American Heart Association to the American Cancer Society have already shown how stress negatively impacts your health. It also impacts productivity. It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re not feeling good. That means that spending time on yourself will not only keep you motivated but will also benefit you in a variety of other ways.
5. How does your future look? A University of Stamford study asked people to envision their future selves and discovered what a unique motivational tool it was. Who do you want to be? What do you have to do to get there? Seeing yourself in the future is a great way to keep yourself motivated and on track when it comes to putting the work into your dreams.
Staying motivated doesn’t have to be difficult. What’s amazing is that there are already so many proven methods for increasing productivity. The application of these tools becomes the difference between success and failure. You’ll be amazed at what you can do if you try.