Wait For It! Staying Motivated at Work or StudyPosted: 4th of May 2015 by
These days we are used to getting things when we want them – right away. Whether it is grabbing a coffee or something to eat, or checking out the latest music online – we expect things to be delivered quickly. There is nothing wrong with this of course, and it shows good service, but it also means that, as a society, we are no longer used to waiting. We get what we want, when we want it, but perhaps we would be better off delaying getting what we want from time to time? This skill (and it is a skill) could help you to stay motivated and get more done – whether at work, school, or college. But how does it work?
It is all about something called delayed gratification – which basically means learning to wait for something you want. For example, if you have an assignment to write for college, you might decide that you will reward yourself with a slice of cake when you have finished your work. This gives you something to look forward to, and creates a goal to work towards.
While some might say that finishing your work is a goal in itself, by saving that slice of cake until you are done, you are teaching yourself to stay focused on the task at hand while setting yourself a clear reward for finishing your work.
This is not to say that you have to wait until you have finished something before rewarding yourself – perhaps you could break down your work into manageable chunks, and set yourself a small reward at each stage. Maybe you could go for a short walk, or listen to a favourite song once you have completed a set amount of homework?
This idea doesn’t just work for study, but can also be taken into the workplace. Rather than immediately getting a cup of tea or coffee when you enter the office, why not wait until you have got your day started. For example, if one of your first jobs is sorting through the office post, you could get that done before that first drink. It will not only create a goal for you to achieve, but will also keep you motivated by the promise of the rewarding cuppa!
If you are used to getting what you want whenever you want, it can be difficult to see a reason to get on with the things you don’t want to do. Even the best of jobs will have some tasks that are less enjoyable, so setting up a structure of rewards will help you get through the less-enjoyable moments.
While this system of working will help you to stay motivated by the promise of your designated reward, be sure to keep things in perspective. Don’t set your reward to far ahead - make it achievable. However, at the same time don’t make your reward too big either. Working on your essay for five minutes before going out to watch a movie is not proportional to the work you have done!
Setting small goals will keep you motivated to get your work done, while also offering something to work towards – especially when it comes to doing a job that you don’t enjoy (or even if you do!).
And, with that being said, I am off to get a cup of tea!
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