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6 Types of Motivation Explained

6 Types of Motivation Explained


    What makes people do what they do? Why do some people succeed while others fail? The answer just might be motivation. We know that from an early age motivation prompts us to want to learn and exhibit different types of behavior and stimulates us to accomplish new feats of success. As we grow and mature through the different stages of our lives, we hopefully learn what motivates us and what does not.

    What is motivation?

    Motivation is generally defined as the force that compels us to action. It drives us to work hard and pushes us to succeed. Motivation influences our behavior and our ability to accomplish goals.

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    There are many different forms of motivation. Each one influences behavior in its own unique way. No single type of motivation works for everyone. People’s personalities vary and so accordingly does the type of motivation, that is most effective at inspiring their conduct.

    Types of Motivation

    Incentive

    A form of motivation that involves rewards, both monetary and nonmonetary is often called incentive motivation. Many people are driven by the knowledge that they will be rewarded in some manner for achieving a certain target or goal. Bonuses and promotions are good examples of the type of incentives that are used for motivation.

    Fear

    Fear motivation involves consequences. This type of motivation is often one that is utilized when incentive motivation fails. In a business style of motivation often referred to as the, “carrot and stick,” incentive is the carrot and fear is the stick.

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    Punishment or negative consequences are a form of fear motivation. This type of motivation is commonly used to motivate students in the education system and also frequently in a professional setting to motivate employees. If we break the rules or fail to achieve the set goal, we are penalized in some way.

    Achievement

    Achievement motivation is also commonly referred to as the drive for competency. We are driven to achieve goals and tackle new challenges. We desire to improve skills and prove our competency both to others and to ourselves. Generally, this feeling of accomplishment and achievement is intrinsic in nature.

    However, in certain circumstances be motivation for achievement may involve external recognition. We often have a desire or need to receive positive feedback from both our peers and our superiors. This may include anything from an award to a simple pat on the back for a job well done.

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    Growth

    The need for self-improvement is truly an internal motivation. A burning desire to increase our knowledge of ourselves and of the outside world can be a very strong form of motivation. We seek to learn and grow as individuals.

    Motivation for growth can also be seen in our yearning for change. Many of us are wired by our personality or upbringing to constantly seek a change in either our external or internal environment or knowledge. We view stagnation to be both negative and undesirable.

    Power

    The motivation of power can either take the form of a desire for autonomy or other desire to control others around us. We want to have choices and control over our own lives. We strive for the ability to direct the manner in which we live now and the way our lives will unfold in the future.

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    We also often aspire to control others around us. The desire for control is stronger in some people than others. In some cases, the craving for power induces people to harmful, immoral, or illegal behavior. In other situations, the longing for power is merely a desire to affect the behavior of others. We simply want people to do what we want, according to our timetable, and the way we want it done.

    Social

    Many people are motivated by social factors. This may be a desire to belong and to be accepted by a specific peer group or a desire to relate to the people in our sphere or in the larger world. We have an innate need to feel a connection with others. We also have the need for acceptance and affiliation.

    A genuine and passionate desire to contribute and to make a difference in the lives of others can be another form of social motivation. If we have a longing to make a contribution to the world around us, it is generally a sign that we are motivated by social factors.

    The real importance of understanding the different types of motivation is in our ability to determine which form of motivation is the most effective for inspiring the desired behavior in either others or ourselves. None of these styles of motivation is inherently good or bad, the positive or negative outcome is truly determined by the way they are used.

    (Photo credit: Businessman Placing Motivation via Shutterstock)

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    Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

    Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

    There’s a dark side to the conveniences of the Digital Age. With smartphones that function like handheld computers, it has become increasingly difficult to leave our work behind. Sometimes it seems like we’re expected to be accessible 24/7.

    How often are you ever focused on just one thing? Most of us try to meet these demands by multi-tasking.

    Many of us have bought into the myth that we can achieve more through multi-tasking. In this article, I’ll show you how you can accomplish more work in less time. Spoiler alert: multi-tasking is not the answer.

    Why is multitasking a myth?

    The term “multi-tasking” was originally used to describe how microprocessors in computers work. Machines multitask, but people cannot.

    Despite our inability to simultaneously perform two tasks at once, many people believe they are excellent multi-taskers.

    You can probably imagine plenty of times when you do several things at once. Maybe you talk on the phone while you’re cooking or respond to emails during your commute.

    Consider the amount of attention that each of these tasks requires. Chances are, at least one of the two tasks in question is simple enough to be carried out on autopilot.

    We’re okay at simultaneously performing simple tasks, but what if you were trying to perform two complex tasks? Can you really work on your presentation and watch a movie at the same time? It can be fun to try to watch TV while you work, but you may be unintentionally making your work more difficult and time-consuming.

    Your brain on multi-tasking

    Your brain wasn’t designed to multi-tasking. To compensate, it will switch from task to task. Your focus turns to whatever task seems more urgent. The other task falls into the background until you realize you’ve been neglecting it.

    When you’re bouncing back and forth like this, an area of the brain known as Broadmann’s Area 10 activates. Located in your fronto-polar prefrontal cortex at the very front of the brain, this area controls your ability to shift focus. People who think they are excellent multitaskers are really just putting Broadmann’s Area 10 to work.

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    But I can juggle multiple tasks!

    You are capable of taking in information with your eyes while doing other things efficiently. Scientifically speaking, making use of your vision is the only thing you can truly do while doing something else.

    For everything else, you’re serial tasking. This constant refocusing can be exhausting, and it prevents us from giving our work the deep attention it deserves.

    Think about how much longer it takes to do something when you have to keep reminding yourself to focus.

    Why multitasking is failing you

    Multitasking does more bad than good to your productivity, here’re 4 reasons why you should stop multitasking:

    Multitasking wastes your time.

    You lose time when you interrupt yourself. People lose an average of 2.1 hours per day getting themselves back on track when they switch between tasks.

    In fact, some studies suggest that doing multiple things at once decreases your productivity by as much as 40%. That’s a significant loss in efficiency. You wouldn’t want your surgeon to be 40% less productive while you’re on the operating table, would you?

    It makes you dumber.

    A distracted brain performs a full 10 IQ points lower than a focused brain. You’ll also be more forgetful, slower at completing tasks, and more likely to make mistakes.

    You’ll have to work harder to fix your mistakes. If you miss an important detail, you could risk injury or fail to complete the task properly.

    This is an emotional response.

    There’s so much data suggesting that multitasking is ineffective but people insist that they can multitask.

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    Feeling productive fulfills an emotional need. We want to feel like we’re accomplishing something. Why accomplish just one item on the to-do list when you can check off two or three?

    It’ll wear you out.

    When you’re jumping from task to task, it can feel invigorating for a little while. Over time, this needs to fill every second with more and more work leads to burn out.

    We’re simply not built to multitask, so when we try, the effect can be exhausting. This destroys your productivity and your motivation.

    How to stop multitasking and work productively

    Flitting back and forth between tasks feels second-nature after a while. This is in part because Broadmann’s Area 10 becomes better at serial tasking through time.

    In addition to changing how the brain works, this serial tasking behavior can quickly turn into a habit.

    Just like any bad habit, you’ll need to recognize that you need to make a change first. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to adjust to a lifestyle of productive mono-tasking:

    1. Consciously change gears

    Instead of trying to work on two distinct tasks at once, consider setting up a system to remind you when to change focus. This technique worked for Jerry Linenger, an American astronaut onboard the space station, Mir.

    As an astronaut, he had many things to take care of every day. He set alarms for himself on a few watches. When a particular watch sounded, he knew it was time to switch tasks. This enabled him to be 100% in tune with what he was doing at any given moment.

    This strategy is effective because the alarm served as his reminder for what was to come next. Linenger’s intuition about setting reminders falls in line with research conducted by Paul Burgess of University College, London on multitasking.

    2. Manage multiple tasks without multitasking

    Raj Dash of Performancing.com has an effective strategy for balancing multiple projects without multitasking. He suggests taking 15 minutes to acquaint yourself with a new project before moving on to other work. Revisit the project later and do about thirty minutes on research and brainstorming.

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    Allow a few days to pass before knocking out the project in question. While you were actively work on other projects, your brain continues to problem solve-in the background.

    This method works because it gives us the opportunity to work on several projects without allowing them to compete for your attention.

    3. Set aside distractions

    Your smartphone, your inbox and the open tabs on your computer are all open invitations for distraction. Give yourself time each day when you silence your notifications, close your inbox and remove unnecessary tabs from your desktop.

    If you want to focus, you can’t give anything else an opportunity to invade your mental space.

    Emails can be particularly invasive because they often have an unnecessary sense of urgency associated with them. Some work cultures stress the importance of prompt responses to these messages, but we can’t treat every situation like an emergency.

    Designate certain times in your day for checking and responding to emails to avoid compulsive checking.

    4. Take care of yourself

    We often blame electronics for pulling us from our work, but sometimes our physical body forces us into a state of serial tasking. If you’re hungry while you’re trying to work, your attention will flip between your hunger and your work until you take care of your physical needs.

    Try to take all your bio-breaks before you sit down for an uninterrupted stint of work.

    In addition, you’ll also want to be sure you’re attending to your health in a broader sense. Getting enough exercise, practicing mindfulness and incorporating regular breaks into your day will keep you from being tempted by distractions.

    5. Take a break

    People are more likely to head to YouTube or check their social media when they need a break. Instead of trying to work and watch a mindless video at the same time, give yourself times when you’re allowed to enjoy your distracting activity of choice.

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    Limit how much time you’ll spend on this break so that your guilt-free distraction time doesn’t turn into hours of wasted time.

    6. Make technology your ally

    Scientists are beginning to discover the detrimental effects of chronic serial tasking on our brains. Some companies are developing programs to curb this desire to multitask.

    Apps like Forest turn staying focused into a game. Extensions like RescueTime help you track your online habits so that you can be more aware of how you spend your time.

    The key to productivity: Focus

    Multitasking is not the key to productivity. It’s far better to schedule time to focus on each task than it is to try to do everything at once.

    Make use of the methods outlined above and prepare to be more effective and less exhausted in the process.

    If you want to learn more about how to focus, don’t miss my other article:

    How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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