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Published on January 20, 2021

4 Most Critical Motivation Theories to Boost Your Productivity

4 Most Critical Motivation Theories to Boost Your Productivity

We all dream big about how our lives should be, but it’s the motivation that drives us to act consistently towards making those dreams a reality. However, despite our best intentions, for a lot of us, this motivation is fleeting. It comes and goes, and the fluctuating drive often takes a toll on our productivity. For centuries, psychologists have been fascinated and intrigued by human behavior and have developed various motivation theories on what drives humans to act a certain way.

Let’s look at how you can use these motivation theories to boost your productivity.

Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory

Understanding that there is a direct link between satisfaction and productivity is the easiest way to move towards increased efficiency. Think about it—if your work gave you a sense of pleasure and satisfaction instead of stress, would you complain about work or procrastinate? The question we must ask ourselves then is, “what brings work satisfaction?”

Frederick Herzberg’s motivation theory explains two types of factors that can be used to regulate our levels of satisfaction and dissatisfaction—hygiene and motivation factors.[1]

Hygiene factors are the bare minimum essential aspects that prevent dissatisfaction. While the presence of hygiene factors will not give rise to enormous satisfaction, the absence of this satisfaction will create extreme discontent. Hygiene factors include compensation, job security, social needs, work environment.

How Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory Increases Your Productivity

1. Compensation

Being underpaid is the silent killer of satisfaction. If you’re continually feeling undervalued or taken for granted at work, then compensation can be the problem.

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Observe yourself in a regular workday and assess if your lack of motivation to work arises from not getting paid what you deserve. If so, then it’s time to rake up the courage and ask for a raise or renegotiate the pricing for your services, so you feel rightfully compensated for your time, energy, and efforts.

2. Work Environment

Your environment has to be conducive to your productivity. Whether you work from the office or home, choose a spot where you can work uninterrupted. De-clutter your desk, decorate it to your personal preferences, and set the ambiance right to get you going as soon as you enter your work environment.

3. Socializing Needs

Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, building harmonious relations is key to developing a healthy state of mind.

4. Security

You cannot be productive or motivated if you’re constantly feeling insecure about your role. If you’re an employer, ensure that security for your team members to flourish and thrive. If you’re employed, reach out to your supervisor to have a conversation on your role, position, and the company’s vision to get that confidence.

Motivator Factors

Once the basics are right, Herzberg identifies another set of factors called motivator factors. These help individuals’ level-up their performance and motivate them to work harder.

Here are some examples of motivator factors:

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  1. Engaging in Meaningful work: We are much more productive if we believe in what we are doing. Find meaning in what you do and be clear on why you’re doing what you do—this is the ultimate way to boost your productivity.
  2. Celebrating Wins: Often, we fail to recognize our accomplishments and celebrate what we get right. Being mindful of the tasks on your to-do list and having a small ritual at the end of the day to celebrate accomplishing them can motivate you to work harder to celebrate more often.
  3. Identify rewards: Humans are aspirational, and knowing what rewards you’ll get for the work you do can be a great way to keep yourself going. Rewards could be a promotion you become eligible for or a trip to Iceland on hitting that business turnover goal. Defining the reward and visualizing it can be a great way to boost productivity and stay motivated.

Today’s motivators are tomorrow’s hygiene because the latter stop influencing their behavior once they achieve them. So, as you grow, you need to upgrade your motivator factors to fuel the drive that keeps you going.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is one of the most relatable motivation theories. The theory is based on the fact that nothing motivates us more than our own needs.

Here, humans’ needs are bifurcated into a hierarchical manner from a lower order to higher order forming a pyramid. Once a given level of need is satisfied, it no longer serves to motivate a person. Then, the next level of need becomes the motivating factor.

The 5 levels of needs, according to Abraham Maslow, are:[2]

  1. Physiological needs: This is the primary and most basic need of any human being-the survival need for food, shelter, air, water, etc. Physiological needs are most critical as the human body cannot function optimally unless these needs are fulfilled.
  2. Safety needs: Once survival is assured, humans begin to long for safety and security. Examples of safety needs are emotional security, financial security, protection from physical danger, health and well-being, etc. Fulfilling these needs requires more money, and hence humans are motivated to work harder.
  3. Social needs: Humans are social beings. Our need to socialize, longing for companionship, and craving to belong comes next in the hierarchy. For example, friendships, love, trust, and a sense of belonging to a tribe or community are required to better quality of life.
  4. Esteem needs: We have the need to be respected. Fulfillment of these needs leads to building self-confidence, realizing one’s own strength, capability, and value.
  5. Self-actualization needs: Only when all other needs are fulfilled does the self-actualization need comes into the picture. This is the highest spiritual aspiration where one can dive within and become the best version of oneself. Maslow estimated that only 2% of the people would reach the state of actualization.

How Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Increases Your Productivity

According to the theory, the lowest level of unmet need is the prime motivator of behavior. Figure out where do you stand in the hierarchy, which is your unmet need. That is your motivator. Take steps towards fulfilling those needs so that you can move towards self-actualization ultimately.

Begin with making concrete plans to fulfill your fundamental needs—safety and financial security. Then, look at love and belonging.

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Do you have like-minded people you connect with? If not, find ways to meet new people and form relations. It could be a spin class or a yin yoga session nearby. Be a part of social groups or communities and engage in meaningful conversation.

For the self-esteem needs, examine your life and assess if you engage meaningfully across. If your career seems stagnating, explore how you can transition to more challenging job opportunities. If your personal life seems to be slacking, have conversations with your significant other to see how you can make your relationship stronger and meaningful for both of you.

When all these needs are met comes the biggest question of finding your purpose. Each of us has unique experiences that make specific work more meaningful to us than others. Finding your purpose is finding that area of work that speaks to you and calls to you and finds expression through you. You can introspect to identify this for yourself or work with a coach to find your true calling and chart out the path towards living that life for yourself.

Hawthorne Effect

Another useful motivation theory is the Hawthorne Effect, which suggests that there exists a tendency to work harder and perform better when we are being observed. During an experiment, researchers altered several physical conditions to affect productivity, but employee productivity increased each time.[3] The study proved that we are motivated to work harder and perform better when we know that our work is being observed.

How the Hawthorne Effect Increases Your Productivity

At work, this happens automatically as we all have supervisors and leaders observing and evaluating our performance periodically. So, we don’t slack professionally. However, since we are not answerable to anybody in our personal lives, we end up dropping the ball.

A simple way to implement the Hawthorne Effect in your personal life to boost productivity is to have an accountability buddy. You don’t need a boss or your supervisor to keep an eye on you twenty-four seven. All you need is a buddy.

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  1. Pair up with your friend or co-worker to be your accountability buddy. If your friend is from the same field, even better.
  2. Communicate your short-term—weekly or daily—goals to each other.
  3. Design a schedule on how you plan to achieve these goals and monitor each other’s progress
  4. For better control, you can even decide punishments if the other one fails to achieve their goals.

Personal growth can be fun and fulfilling with an accountability partner by your side throughout the journey.

Expectancy Theory

This motivation theory states that our behaviors are directly influenced by the results we expect as an outcome of our actions.[4]

The theory proposes 3 elements our motivation relies on:

  • Expectancy: We act based on how likely our efforts are expected to deliver favorable results. Our expectations are molded by our past experiences, self-confidence, and the level of difficulty of the goal we plan to undertake.
  • Instrumentality: This is the belief that we will receive the reward if we put in the necessary efforts or behave in a particular fashion.
  • Valence: This refers to how valuable the reward is to an individual. For some, money could be a powerful motivator while for others, recognition is. Our motivation is higher when the reward is valuable for us.

How the Expectancy Theory Increases Your Productivity

Whenever you set intentions for yourself, spend time actually penning down why you’re aspiring for the goal and the results you hope to achieve. This is why vision boards are beneficial because you visualize the outcome of your efforts, which motivates you to keep at it.

For any goal you are working towards, write out the outcomes you anticipate, how you will feel when you achieve them, and why the result is crucial to you. As you work towards it, review this document time and again to keep yourself motivated.

Final Thoughts

Motivation theories provide insight into how we can find that motivation in our daily lives and be more productive. As we start a brand-new decade, it is time we make our dreams a reality. Employ the motivation theories that resonate most with you and enhance your drive and energy to work towards your goals consistently, and make it count.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last for long. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.” —Zig Ziglar

More Tips on How to Increase Your Motivation

Featured photo credit: Cam Adams via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Shwetha Sivaraman

Entrepreneur, Podcaster, & Life Coach @BeingMeraklis

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Published on May 4, 2021

50 Words of Encouragement for Moving Forward

50 Words of Encouragement for Moving Forward

Do you know how there are saying or words of encouragement that you remember and use all the time? Some came from a loved one, some bring you comfort, and others stick with you from your past and possibly hold you stuck.

These are the words of encouragement that come to mind when you need them most to remind you that:

  • You’ve got this.
  • You can overcome any obstacle.
  • Nothing will stop you.
  • No matter what you need, you will find the solutions.
  • What you really want in life, you can have it. Honestly, you can have it.

Look for the quotes that resonate with you, and write them somewhere prominent in your life. Look for simple solutions and strategies because they are the ones that have the biggest impact. There is a reason why some of the great ideas from the ancients are still the most used and adaptable to 21st-century living—because they work.

Quotes that inspire need to be easy to remember, connect with you on a personal level, and fire up your passion, enthusiasm, and goals in life.

50 Quotes and Words of Encouragement for Moving Forward

Here are 50 quotes and words of encouragement to keep you inspired and motivated.

1.

    2.“For what reasons can it not be you?”

    3. Ditch the guilt. Guilt is one emotion that never leads to good things. Remove the guilt and you can move on.

    4. At this moment in time, you are everything you need to be everything you want to be.

    5. The day you realize how amazing you are is the day the world had better stand back.

    6. You need to know on a good day how to look after yourself and your success on a bad day. How will you ensure you take action on this advice?

    7. Your mind can be a power for your success or power for your failure. Choose wisely the quality of your thoughts. How will you monitor the quality of your thoughts and ensure they work for you?

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    8. Even the long-distance swimmer does not achieve success on their own—who is in your team toward success?

    9. How do you keep going? Look how far you have come. What helped you get this far? Who helped you get this far? How will they feature in the future to ensure you succeed and overcome?

    10. Life is easier with love—swap the word “life” for success, happiness, achieving your goals. Now ask yourself—where do you get your love from? The first place should be you.

    11.

      12. Learn the science of who you are. This is powerful knowledge that will empower you to move forward no matter what you face or want to achieve.

      13. Trying to copy the route to success that someone else took doesn’t guarantee you success. You have to honor your values, beliefs, and experiences.

      14. What you think is possible is absolutely correct. Challenge what you think.

      15. For one month, ask this question every day and score yourself out of 10 (10 being exceptional, 1 being lousy). Write the answer in your phone’s calendar: How successful do I feel? You can swap successful for happy, rich, loved, etc. Notice what affects your score.

      16. Remember that everything changes. The hibernating tree looks dead but will return in the spring rejuvenated. This is essential knowledge for good times and bad. In bad times, it reminds you to keep going, and in good times, it reminds you to be grateful and keep looking to learn and grow. (Just like that tree!)

      17. What’s stopping you? Is it a perception or a fact? Either way, you can do something about it, even if it is just to change the thoughts attached to the thing that is stopping you. Nothing can have power over you unless you let it.

      18. Steer clear of negative people, news, and views. It’s all too easy to get dragged into other people’s negativity. Understand how negative news, views, and people impact you. If you can’t find ways to keep that negativity away, then step away metaphorically and physically. Your success will appreciate it.

      19. The quality of your thoughts and feelings impacts your actions and results. Everything you can see started as a thought. So, when you need encouragement, ask yourself, “are my thoughts enabling me or disabling me?” Are my thoughts “moving me forward or holding me back?”

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      20.

        21. Sad isn’t bad. We get all the emotions, not just the good ones. So, when you feel sad, guilty, lonely, upset, frustrated, angry, mad, don’t push those emotions away. Take yourself through this process:

        1. For what reason am I feeling this?
        2. What does it tell me about my life right now?
        3. What does it tell me about my actions and results right now?
        4. What would I like to feel instead?
        5. What would this do for me?
        6. How will I get myself there?

        Take yourself through the process and own all emotions.

        23. The one thing you can control is what you think.

        24. On this planet, your job is not to fit in. Your job is to shine. Stand out. Speak up, and be the unique individual you are meant to be. It’s the quickest way to lasting success.

        25. Words can only have power if you let them. Good words, bad words. Happy words. Successful words. Which words are you giving the most power to?

        26. If you want to achieve more, you’ve got to assume you are worth it. Are you worth it? (The answer is “Yes, with bells on are you worth it!”) And if you don’t believe this, then what will you do to rocket your confidence?

        27. While many fear failure, it is a gift in disguise. It tells you what not to repeat, it tells you what didn’t work, and it moves you forward to what you want to achieve. Don’t berate and hate your failures. They are driving you forward to your success.

        28. It’s hard to achieve great things if you don’t have a plan. It’s like wanting to go on holiday and just rocking up at the airport on the off chance you can get on a plane going to your dream destination. Plan what you want and create a plan of action to help get you there. It’s easier and faster.

        29. Everyone needs someone in their corner—someone to cheerlead, support, nurture, and wipe your grazed knees and remind you that you can. Who is in your corner? You can add me to that list.

        30. Social media is supposed to be good for you. It’s supposed to connect you to like-minded people, inspire you, motivate you, and make you laugh, feel connected, and loved like you are part of something truly special. If it doesn’t, start snoozing the haters, step away from the negative groups, and look for the things that inspire you—yes you can include cute funny cat videos!

        31. Action! The key to success is knowing when to take action and when to stop.

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        32. When someone tells you that one book changed their life, that doesn’t mean it will work for you. If it doesn’t work for you, you did not fail, the book failed. The book was the wrong book for you. Don’t stop reading. Just look for the right fit for you.

        33. Just as all people are different with different beliefs and aspirations, so is the journey to success and progress different for all. Expecting to move forward and get what you want by copying others is not the same as looking up to the right role models.

        34. Your success, happiness, and progress in life are not dependent on luck. It is dependent on self-belief. Check your levels.

        35. It is not beneficial to apologize for what you need in life. It takes away its value to you. If you need it, own it!

        35. It’s a good idea to know the difference between enjoying the breeze and being pushed around by life.

        36. Motivation. If you are needing some, don’t look for it on a bad day. Look for it on a good day. Music, aromas, people, environments, photos, even fairy lights, and dancing can be the key to kick you back into action and results.

        37. Black and white. Nothing in life is black and white and yet people want things to be like this—to be “yes” or “no.” Final. Getting what you want in life rarely is so finite. You need to be able to accept a bit of grey area in life to get more of what you want. Being someone reliant on absolutes makes it so much harder.

        38. The racing driver does not concentrate on the brick wall at the side of the road as they race at 100+ miles per hour. They concentrate on the bend, the next bend, the finish line, and success. If you don’t want to hit the wall, concentrate on the track.

        39.

          40. Choosing to stop thinking about something because it upsets you, infuriates you, or angers you doesn’t mean your brain is not trying to process how you feel. You need to make space to process those negatives so that you are back in the flow and doing what you excel at.

          41. Being reactive instead of proactive stops you from moving forward. What needs to change?

          42. Is your fundamental desire for what you want rooted in love? If it is not, question how powerful your motivation is.

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          43. When you really need motivation and encouragement and want to reach out to others, did you know that helping others also helps you? Altruism is a fast way to feeling good and doing good and it, in turn, helps you to feel motivated, too.

          44. Think back to a time that you overcome adversity, achieved something big, or kept going when you really didn’t want to. What skills do you notice? What were you telling yourself? What did you learn about who you are? How will you use that knowledge moving forward?

          45. “Don’t,” “Won’t,” and “Can’t” all have power. One holds power over you, one is neutral, and one takes ownership. Which one are you using? Can you tell the difference?

          46. Whoever said words had no power had never met a powerful coach! Words can be the building blocks to overcoming anything and getting what you want in life. So, what words are you allowing in your head? How do you word your goals and ambitions?

          47. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Is that a good idea with a starving tiger in the same room? Will you stick around and have a chat about how you wish to overcome the fear of the tiger or will you take action? Move so far away from your fear that it doesn’t exist? And get an expert to help you deal with the tiger? Analogies like this help you see how fear is allowed to stick around and how to get rid of it permanently.

          48. Believing that “it is what it is” is a great way to stay stuck. If you choose to believe there is a better way, you will find it.

          49. Being honest about what you face is not moaning, it’s reaching out. If people see this as moaning, they are the wrong people to be turning to. Maybe it’s time to upgrade your network of friends, colleagues, and people you can trust.

          50. Look in the mirror, who do you see? Someone you love or someone you loathe? Both will impact your success.

          So, What Now?

          Now that you’ve read 50 quotes and words of encouragement, which ones got you thinking and which ones can’t you remember reading? Some will really resonate with you and make you question how you think and how you act. Take just three minutes to decide which words of encouragement are going to be your mantra for the coming week.

          Take the time at the end of the week to review and reflect. Did you see any improvement? Did you really remember to hold on to this quote with the power to encourage you forward to great things?

          If not, stop in your tracks and consider how much you believe in yourself. The most powerful words in the world can’t work on the person who already believes that they are good enough, capable, or have failed.

          More Words of Encouragement

          Featured photo credit: Prateek Katyal via unsplash.com

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