Motivation isn’t an endless resource, and many experts refer to motivation as a specific quantity a person has throughout the day. Factors such as decision fatigue, which is what psychologists refer to as the deterioration of the quality of decisions made over a long period of decision making, contribute to low levels of motivation. Poor decisions from decision fatigue don’t often lead to inspiring successes that would renew all your motivation. Throughout a remote workday, with the lack of outside motivation and many important tasks and decisions to make, you depend heavily on self-motivation which can seem difficult to attain at times. We’ll explain the science behind self motivation and the best practices to foster it in your home office.
Science behind self-motivation
Motivation itself comes in two types; intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is an unprompted tendency “to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise one’s capacity, to explore, and to learn”*. This type of motivation comes from a curiosity and desire to learn new skills. Extrinsic motivation is the motivation we get in response to something happening around us, and is motivated by outside factors, like praise or the environment around us. For example, your coworkers are very excited about a new product launch and can’t wait to do the final edits on the product descriptions and pages. That excitement catches on, and before you know it, you’re motivated to work hard due to your coworkers’ excitement. Extrinsic motivation is what most employees rely on in offices, where there is the stimuli of working towards the same goal in the same workplace and having the external push from others to perform well and stay motivated. Vice versa, intrinsic motivation is something that comes from inside us, spontaneously.
Foster self-motivation at work
Encourage yourself to investigate ideas, old and new. This can spur on that spontaneous desire to learn new skills, have great new ideas and get in the zone of motivation, where you’re able to work productively for multiple hours at a time. Slumps can be avoided by first outlining the goals you want to accomplish and then breaking them down into smaller subgoals, with rewards for yourself after each milestone. Your natural reward system controlled by the brain, which releases chemicals like dopamine, can be triggered by doing things you enjoy. That will spur you on to do even more and become motivated. While performing a task you might not necessarily enjoy, focus yourself on the aspects of the task that you do find more pleasant and rewarding, and you can still activate your natural happy-chemical reward system.
You can make the first step in trying to collaborate with colleagues on an ongoing project or work; if that’s something you can share. This will bring in some extrinsic motivation as well and it’s always better to aim for all types of motivation you can get. A good way to try to get out of a slump is also to communicate with your team, co-workers or someone who will understand your position. Get inspired by other high performing people, and make a note for yourself to follow their social media or talk to them often to get inspired. Try to find a way to express your creativity in your job; creative expression fosters motivation and new ideas and can boost you towards productivity and new, unexpected solutions to problems you’re solving at work.
Motivation can seem like a complex, mysterious state of mind that occasionally takes a hold of us, but in reality, motivation can be fostered by the many above mentioned factors and habits. The most important for performing well in a work from home situation and staying motivated is to encourage your curiosity and desire to learn. Even when you aren’t going to the office daily, there are endless new skills and opportunities to learn new capabilities, and this will push you towards the zone of feeling motivated, capable and productive.