Find Motivation with Self-Imposed Incentives

Whether you work from home as a freelance writer like me or you hold a more conventional office job, finding and maintaining a sense of motivation can be quite the challenge.

The technique that may have worked for you in the past may no longer be very effective with keeping you on task. Some strategies, like employing a false sense of urgency, are not sustainable in the long-term either.

The Pot of Gold is Too Far Away

Many people will tell you that they derive their motivation from keeping the end goal in mind. They’ll tell you about the rewards that await them on the other side and how it will all be worth it, but many of them also learn that the reward is not so rewarding once it is attained.

Maybe you work so hard because you think that earning that promotion will give you a greater sense of prestige and respect from society at large. Maybe you just want the fatter salary.

Whatever the case, these “real” rewards may not be frequent enough to keep you motivated in the long-term. Speaking from my perspective, I will never get a true “promotion” from myself in the traditional sense, since I am already the owner of my own business.

The Carrot is So Much Closer

Long-term goals and long-term rewards are certainly important, but you also have to acknowledge your success in the short term. To keep trucking ahead, you need to dangle a carrot that is attainable within a shorter timeframe.

Provide yourself with some self-imposed or self-defined incentives. Tell yourself that if you are able to complete task X within a timeframe of Y, that you will reward yourself with Z. These can be as simple as allowing yourself to shut off your computer a couple of hours early so that you can unplug and rewind. Or, if you prefer, you can give yourself a bigger reward for a bigger accomplishment.

Running Faster, Harder, Stronger

Remember not to confuse efficient with effective. Getting a lot of work done is not the same as getting the right work done. Work smarter, not harder.

Will this technique make you feel like you’re simply running on a treadmill? Perhaps. But running on a treadmill is a great way to get healthy enough to enjoy everything else about life.