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Staying Motivated During Laborious Tasks
Boring admin is often an integral part of any job. There are few people who will say that they have not had to do “boring admin” in any way during their careers. Boring admin spills over into our personal lives too – how often do you hear a friend or loved one say, “I’ve got life admin to do”?
Staying motivated during these more demanding tasks is one of the hardest things I’ve done in my short time (I’m 27 and have been working professionally for about 6 years since college). This ability to stay motivated even when the task is truly soul-crushing has landed me in a pretty lucky position as an employee and part-time freelancer. Where does the time go and how can you stay motivated, you might say.
Understand topic tactics and what works and what doesn’t.
To understand how I can be more productive with the time I spend at work, I’ve spent a lot of time researching what motivation is, how it works, and how it can be misused to lead and manage others. As mentioned in DRIVE: Amazing Things That Motivate Us I’ve never been motivated by the carrot and stick approach. Even when I was working at a marketing agency, the incentive scheme made me so passive and unproductive that I forgot it was there.
The core of “Carrot and Stick Motivation” or “Motivation 2.0” is science that has been proven by endless research to not work in the long run. Usually, after the first attempt and motivation to pursue something worthwhile, especially if we fail, we tend to get discouraged and discouraged, and in most cases, we don’t want to pursue the carrot again. 89% of companies believe they lose talent to make more money, while only 12% say they are making more money.
In certain industries like sales, goals and incentives are an integral part of the game, where motivation 2.0 can work. I have many friends who work as financial advisors and business development managers, and their mindset is obviously different from mine. They are driven by purpose, wealth and all that comes with it. I mean, I like to see how often they hit the target, how it feels when they hit it, and how it feels when they miss.
With this in mind, the ability to celebrate big and small successes at different stages of a project is what inspires broad consensus as declared by prominent leadership figures. Additionally, acknowledging good work with a “thank you” or “that’s awesome” is the type of activity that has been proven to increase positive feedback, engagement in the project/next project, and increased productivity. So, in this case, leadership style is the motivating factor, not job or financial incentives. This is proven by the fact that 75% of employees quit because of their manager, not their employer! More needs to be done to improve the reputation and personal influence of leaders within organizations.
Self-motivation is their most difficult method.
If you think motivating others is hard work, wait until you motivate yourself. I remember procrastinating so much at Uni that I finally had to write a 3,000 word paper on “the representation of women in film noir”. Not my best moment! I put more work and passion into digital marketing, but I put off important admin tasks. For example, link building. While not my favorite job, I know the importance of improving my brand link profile, so I know I need to motivate myself to get the job done. But how?
I find that I am more productive and more motivated when planning the task or project at hand. In general, the planning phase is the most freeing part of the entire exercise. I find that a clearly mapped out plan of attack, phases, delivery dates, tactics, etc. is the best way for me to get things done.
What this allows me to do is set a realistic timeline for my brain to understand how long a task will take and when it will be completed. This way I can agree on the time I will spend on any project.
In addition, it is important to take regular breaks, which I do for short periods. This method works for me. When I’m done with a certain part of the task, I’ll go for a drink of water, stretch a little, or have a cup, of course. These methods are guaranteed to keep you going throughout the day, preventing burnout while on the job.
I also listen to music, and studies show that you need to listen to music that you don’t normally listen to in order to focus your mind, so I don’t think that’s the case for me. When I listen to uplifting or “feel good” music, I feel more motivated, focused, and creative. I’m all for anything that reinforces positivity – it will affect your mind and lead you to better, more motivated days.
Life is easier when you find out what motivates you and what you need to do to stay motivated. Sure, some days are harder than others, but knowing that there are things you can do to keep you going or give you a little boost is a nice little treat.
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