There are many things that motivate people. In the workplace, managers can be most effective when they invest effort in knowing their employees well enough to understand what most motivates each individual, and develop ways of leveraging those needs to support individuals in reaching their highest potential. Some people might be highly motivated by praise, feedback or public recognition for their accomplishments. For others it might be autonomy, creativity, flexibility, or compensation that drives them to reach higher.
Regardless of whether you manage a team or just want to be as productive as you can, it is very helpful to understand what most motivates others and yourself. While there are many factors that influence each of us to make choices about how we spend our time and energy, research has shown that of all forms of human motivation, the most effective one is progress.
One of the interesting topics I recently read about in Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism was this topic of motivation, and how to create progress. McKeown says that best way to create progress is to start small and build momentum, to look for small changes we can make in the things we do most often. His discussion of how to build progress emphasizes the importance of creating habits. The more often we do something, the more important it is to choose wisely how and why we do it.
Creating small simple daily habits is an incredibly powerful productivity tool. The key is to start small, encourage progress, and cultivate wins. “There is power in steadfastness and repetition,” says McKeown. In his book he shares a story about Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps that illustrates the benefits of routine. Phelps follows a very specific and detailed routine before and during his practices and pre-race preparation which helps immensely with his mental and physical readiness. He does the exact same thing before each and every race, which reduces stress, creates relaxation and energy so that during the race he is able to perform at his best.
In a similar manner, daily habits that you practice at home and at work can help you reduce stress and increase energy. Contrary to the fear some people hold that having a predictable routine will decrease creativity, the genius of routine is that it actually enhances creativity by giving you an energy “rebate”. When you aren’t spending much of your energy each day trying to figure out what you should do but instead have organized systems and routines in place that help you accomplish necessary tasks and make decisions, you have more energy available for creative efforts and deep work. Your mind is freer of clutter when you let routine help shape your day.
If your habits could use a tune-up, contact us to learn more about how our professional organizers and productivity consultants can help you develop productive habits and organized systems. We understand the importance of daily habits and can help you create routines that will help you work smarter not harder.