Source | FastCompany : By Jane Porte
Staying motivated day after day on the job can be tough, even with the kind of work that challenges and pushes us. Striking just the right balance in your workday that keeps you both focused and motivated means understanding what drives our sense of motivation in the first place.
According to Daniel Pink, author of the book Drive, motivation is made up of three key components:
We want to feel in control of our workday and that we’re turning in the best work possible, while also finding greater meaning in what we do. “The single biggest day-to-day motivator on the job is making progress in meaningful work,” says Pink. “The days that we make progress are the days when we feel motivated.”
Fast Company spoke with Pink about what steps we can take to invigorate ourselves both daily and throughout our careers.
We’ve all experienced those days that fly by in a blur of emails and endless meetings. But often making progress isn’t so much a matter of fact as one of perspective. “On days when workers have the sense they’re making headway in their jobs, or when they receive support that helps them overcome obstacles, their emotions are most positive and their drive to succeed is at its peak,” writes researcher Teresa Amabile in Harvard Business Review.
The key words there are “when workers have the sense they’re making headway.” In other words, it’s not what you actually accomplish as much as how much you feel you’ve accomplished that drives your sense of motivation. In her research, Amabile analyzed nearly 12,000 diary entries written by people along with their daily rankings of motivation and emotions. What she found: “Making progress in one’s work—even incremental progress—is more frequently associated with positive emotions and high motivation than any other workday event.”
Channeling that sense of progress, however, is easier said than done. We’re not talking about fooling yourself into thinking you’re getting more done than you actually are, but rather simply letting yourself acknowledge what you have accomplished, rather than berating yourself for what you still have to get done.
To do this, Pink recommends establishing what he calls a “daily progress ritual.” At the end of each day, before heading home from work, take a minute to jot down what you accomplished that day. “We end up making a lot more progress than we think we do,” says Pink. “In the blur of all that we are doing, we just don’t see it.”