It’s not challenging to complete enjoyable tasks. For instance, many of us can browse a clothing store online to buy a new blouse or read the stats from our favorite team’s last game without having to work up any willpower. On the other hand, some tasks, particularly at work, have enjoyable and unpleasant aspects, making them more challenging to get through. That’s where self-leadership, particularly the strategies known as natural rewards, comes in.
Self-leadership is the process of influencing and motivating oneself, and decades of research shows that it enhances productivity, performance, and achievement. Researchers group self-leadership strategies into behavioral-focused, natural reward strategies, and constructive thought pattern strategies. For a complete overview of self-leadership, check out XcelMil’s previous post on self-leadership. In this post, we’re diving into natural reward strategies.
Natural Reward Strategies
Natural reward strategies aim to help the self-leaders motivate themselves by focusing on an inherently enjoyable task.
Natural rewards fall into two sub-categories:
- The first involves finding ways to make an unpleasant task more enjoyable.
- The second is about intentionally directing one’s thoughts toward the parts of the job that are enjoyable and away from the unpleasant features.
Natural rewards tie to intrinsic motivation by way of increased competence and self-determination. Task-specific inherent reason directly impacts the task and, in turn, the individual’s overall work performance. Natural rewards increase our attention and efforts, which can make a specific job more relevant and exciting. When we can complete the tasks that we’ve set out to complete efficiently and effectively, it also helps us feel a greater sense of control over our work.
How to Use Natural Rewards
So, how does one put self-reward strategies into practice? Here’s your two-part plan.
Step 1: Choose a task you have to complete for work that you’re having difficulty getting motivated to do. Next, make a mental or physical list of the parts of the work you enjoy. For instance, perhaps you have been dreading putting together your team’s annual sales report. Maybe you identify that you like seeing the growth that your team has achieved over the year or the number of clients that you’ve been able to serve with your product or service successfully. By simply identifying what you enjoy about the work, you should already feel the dread associated with the task start to lift.
Step 2: While working on your task, keep bringing the enjoyable aspects of the work that you identified to the forefront of your mind. When you start to think negatively about the work, redirect your attention to your mental or physical list of pleasant aspects. It may be difficult at first, but it’s like flexing a mental muscle. Whenever you choose to draw your attention back, you’re getting stronger at it, and it will soon get easier.
When employed consistently, natural reward strategies can help you get more done with less resistance, which will lead to overall better work. At XcelMil, we believe that self-leadership is a powerful tool to achieve more at a higher quality and improve your team’s performance. Contact us today to book a consultation to learn more about what we have to offer around self-leadership.
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