How to boost motivation & increase productivity

How to boost motivation & increase productivity

Whether it’s work, exercise, study or skill-building, we need motivation to achieve what we want in life. After months of COVID restrictions, increased stress and emotional exhaustion, many people are struggling with low motivation. This can lead to us being less productive and not achieving what we want to achieve, reducing our self-esteem and overall happiness.

This month, we will look at what motivation is and how you can boost your productivity to get back on track.

What is motivation?

Motivation is the reason or reasons that we act or behave in certain ways. Put simply, motivation is the why behind our behaviours.

Motivation involves the biological, emotional, social and cognitive forces that activate behaviour and guide us towards our goals. Our motivations are all different depending on our personalities and values. For example, two people may have completely different motivations around why they do the same job. One worker may be motivated by money, another by helping others.

Without connecting to why we want to do something, it’s very difficult to drive ourselves towards an outcome. Connecting to our motivations also helps us identify those in others, making it easier to understand colleagues, managers and employers.

Types of Motivation

Motivation can be intrinsic or extrinsic:
Intrinsic Motivation is from within the individual where the reward or outcome is something inside you e.g. gaining a sense of satisfaction from your work or gaining joy from interactions with colleagues.
Extrinsic Motivation is from outside an individual, with external rewards e.g. wanting to gain more money, praise or promotions from work.

Why is motivation important?

If you can boost your motivation through understanding what drives you, you can:

Signs of low motivation

If you are feeling unmotivated at work, you may notice you are:

Top tips for boosting motivation

  1. Set measurable goals: A common pitfall in goal-setting is making them too vague and, as a result, unattainable. Set SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Measured – goals where you can measure your progress regularly. E.g. to exercise 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at 6pm) for the next 2 months.
  2. Introduce Challenges: Break away from old routines and introduce new challenges to boost your motivation. E.g. try to increase your walking distance each day or set up a team on a smart watch to challenge friends in a step challenge.
  3. Visualise Success: Visualising your success in achieving your goals, is not just thinking about it.  Visualising your goal is accessing imagination in all aspects including the sensory experience of the event.  To assist in boosting motivation, visualisation is a cognitive strategy that can help you create an image of all the series of events or SMART goals you have set.
  4. Prepare for Challenges: Consider which challenges might stop you achieving your goals (e.g. not waking up on time, working too late) and plan strategies to overcome these challenges (e.g. set an alarm, ask your partner to encourage you to get up).
  5. Prioritise your physical and mental health: Make sure you invest time and energy into creating a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise, connecting with friends, speaking with a mental health professional, a balanced diet, relaxation and plenty of sleep.
  6. Connect to your purpose: Ask yourself, what is important to me and why? Are you saving to buy a house, seeking challenge, learning and development, or wanting to help people? By connecting to our values underneath our goals, we are more likely to achieve them.
  7. Try something new: Doing new things is proven to take us out of autopilot and re-spark our motivation. Try something new at home like learning a new language or taking up a hobby – push yourself outside the box.
  8. Take items off your to-do list: Often we become unmotivated when we have too much on our plate. Re-prioritise your to-do list and focus on 1-3 goals at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  9. Celebrate success: It’s easy to reach a goal and immediately focus on what’s next. Make sure to celebrate with loved ones or reward yourself when you reach a goal!
  10. Get inspired: Surround yourself with motivational content. There are great books, documentaries and podcasts that can inspire you and boost your motivation.

Is this a sign of something bigger?

Having low motivation may be a sign that there is something in your life that needs addressing. Have you been under stress for long periods of time? Have you recently lost someone, been arguing with your partner, or lost your job? Life adversities will naturally lead to low motivation as we may think more negative thoughts. Left unaddressed, low motivation can lead to reduced productivity and performance, in all areas of life.
Speaking to a mental health professional when you notice low motivation can help you assess what is contributing to low motivation and how to tackle it in lasting and effective ways.
Contact your EAP, Acacia EAP on 1300 364 273 to arrange free support from our qualified professionals.

If you or someone close to you needs support, contact Acacia EAP for an appointment.

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