By Amanda Ponzar
“Motivation is the driving force by which humans achieve their goals” says Wikipedia. Some people are highly internally motivated –- almost unstoppable. Some not so much. But everyone can take steps to increase motivation and improve performance.
A few thoughts:
- Make a list of everything you want to accomplish each day and try to prioritize it based on what must get done. I’ve used FranklinCovey’s daily planner for seven years though I’m not as good focusing on the important versus urgent (urgent could be a rush project, unexpected visitor or phone call because it’s pressing and has to be dealt with, but important things like family time, exercising for good health, etc. could get pushed to the side because they aren’t as urgent).
- Determine what you value and use it. Treats are a good motivator for me so I try to complete a major project before I eat another peanut butter cup. Or exercise and then eat ice-cream. Or if I have to bust a move on a major project, I treat myself to a Starbucks frappachino. For you, it could be a treating yourself to a major purchase, vacation, visit with a special friend, TV time, etc.
- If you supervise a team, find out what motivates each person (it’s not the same for everyone and can change over time so keep asking). Employees I’ve worked with over the years are motivated by:
- salary and title (of course)
- public recognition/visibility with senior leadership
- formal development and training opportunities
- interesting projects/exciting or important work
- learning new skills
- flexible work schedules (telecommuting, compressed work week, etc.)
- being thanked and appreciated
- Use both instant and delayed gratification. In potty-training our son, we immediately gave him an “X” on the chart plus a treat, but he was also working toward a major goal after a certain number of Xs (see guitar pictured here!).
- Hold yourself accountable by sharing key goals with trusted colleagues/friends so they can check in, help you reprioritize, etc.
- Spend time with positive, enthusiastic people who will brainstorm, problem-solve, encourage and keep you going!