Temperatures have dropped and summer is well and truly over. And as sunrise gets later so does our wake up time which means early morning runs and gym routines start to slide. We put off in the morning what we think we can do at night. But when it's already dark by 7pm it’s much easier to stay on the sofa rather than venture back out.
But it’s not just our fitness motivation that’s waning. Our focus, energy and interest in our day-to-day work also fades. It’s easy to blame this on the approaching winter but when it comes to work we can’t risk hibernating until spring. Especially as, just like motivation, a lack of motivation is contagious. When someone on your team is languishing you’ll find they aren’t alone. Developing your motivation gives you an opportunity (if not responsibility) to share your motivation and be a healthy contributor in your team. So how can we encourage and nourish motivation in ourselves and others?
The biggest challenge with motivation is that it’s often wrongly seen as a trait, something that you either have or you don’t. We often describe people as having that ‘get up and go’ or ‘drive’ that’s needed to succeed. But motivation is a trainable behaviour and, more importantly, the process to train it is simple.
Anyone can be motivated and find motivation when given the right tools.
The most important tool to train motivation is a growth mindset. Simply put, this is a belief that it’s possible and within your control to change your behaviour. But as with any behaviour change we as humans tend to be skeptical until we see results. So next time you’re struggling to get motivated give one of these 5 techniques a try and watch your motivation change.
1. The Beginning: Just start.
There’s a common myth that we need to feel motivated to start. But starting and making progress actually motivates us to continue. A great technique to help with this is the ‘pomodoro technique’. Get stuck into your task for 25 mins knowing you can take a break at the end. Chances are you’ll find your flow in that 25 mins and want to keep going.
2. The Purpose: Remind yourself what the overall purpose of the task is.
Not the small part you need to get done right now but the overall big picture. Abi Chamberlain, former England 7s Rugby captain reminds us of the power of remembering our purpose and the positivity that comes with that. Taking time to remember why you’re doing a task and what you’re aiming to achieve will really re-energise you as individuals and as a team.
3. The Location: Change where you’re doing the task.
I don’t like doing research sitting at my desk, I much prefer curling up on the sofa with a cuppa when I’m digging deep into a topic area. Changing the location not only stimulates movement and creativity but tends to produce happiness too. As Dr Fran Longstaff, performance psychologist says “If you’re staring at a blank wall for 2 hours and getting nowhere, change the wall”.
4. The Time: Change when you plan to do a task.
My favourite time to write pieces like this in summer is early morning (think 5.30am sun streaming into the office, family still asleep upstairs). But in winter a cold dark office doesn’t have the same appeal. So in winter I need to change the time, but when will I be as motivated? Let’s say there’s a time of day you know you’re good at getting a job done e.g. writing your morning report. Next time delay your morning report by 25 mins and do the task you’re avoiding at that time instead.
5. The People: Lean on others when you’re struggling to help you get motivated.
Including others in our tasks will improve our accountability to get tasks done. In fact, we are 60% more likely to stick to a commitment when we make it public. I’ve made a habit of going into our virtual coworking space when I know I really need to get something done. I can't get distracted by my phone or the fridge when others are there to keep me accountable. Just like finding yourself a gym buddy who will motivate you to exercise hard, finding a work buddy not only helps you stay connected but also keeps you more engaged in your work. And as we know motivation is contagious, so you’ll not only increase your motivation but you’ll motivate others too.
So the next time you feel like you just can’t be bothered try changing it up. And if you want to help your teams improve their motivation then drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org to see how our behaviour training can help your people get their work mojo back.