The Science of Motivation

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The Science of Motivation
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Whether you’re a freelance worker, an entrepreneur or a manager, nothing should make you doubt the power of motivation.

Motivation can energize people, boost their productivity and allow them a little control over internal and external factors that can potentially hamper their productivity.

The type of motivation each individual requires varies from one situation to another. For some people, watching a fascinating documentary can motivate them to study more; for others, a pep talk from the boss can do the trick.

But how does motivation work? Is there a certain chain of chemical reactions that propels us to work?

Let’s take a look at the science behind motivation.

The origins of motivation

To trace the source of motivation, we have to begin with the brain. The brain is where neurotransmitters spark chemical messages that keep us on task. These neurotransmitters are responsible for carrying messages that affect the movements of our bodies.

One such neurotransmitter is dopamine, which interacts with various receptors in our brain to reward our body for performing tasks. If you’re motivated, it’s the dopamine that recognizes if something important is about to happen and prompts the body to do better to seek rewards.

What causes dopamine to spike?

Dopamine causes our body to function because it expects a reward—this manifests in the form of encouragement and motivation.

While some people may think that dopamine is a neurotransmitter for pleasure, many don’t know that dopamine levels spike in moments of high stress as well. This means that anything ranging from a great pep talk to a scolding from the boss can become a source of motivation.

origins of motivation

How to increase dopamine production to boost productivity

Dopamine spikes give rise to motivation, which in turn improves our productivity. Here are some ways you can use positive reinforcement to trick your dopamine into expecting rewards.

Record small accomplishments

Create a to-do list and set small, incremental goals for yourself. This will allow you to focus on your accomplishments and give your self-esteem a boost each time you finish a task.

Set micro-deadlines for yourself

Aiming too high too soon isn’t practical. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by setting goals that seem too unrealistic. Not only will this lower your dopamine levels, but it will also lower your productivity if you fail at your deadlines.

Share your accomplishments with your team

Communicate your accomplishments to your team because even a little bit of validation can go a long way to keep you motivated and your dopamine levels high.

If your boss was recently impressed by a project you did, share your achievements with your co-worker—but don’t gloat!

Test out new productivity techniques

Be on the lookout for ways to make overwhelming tasks doable and easy to perform. Not only will this allow you to challenge yourself, it will also teach you multi-tasking and time management skills.

Test out new productivity techniques

Do you think you can stay motivated at work today with these tricks? If you’re looking for a little nudge, hire one of the best corporate speakers in North America. Steve Gilliland is a Hall of Fame speaker who is known for his humorous and motivational presentations and webinars. Get in touch with his team and book Steve for your next corporate event!