Negative seat tilt sold out, Due back in stock W/C 12th August

Understand the Motivation Cycle to Hack Your Productivity

Did you know that the motivation cycle is the key to how your body and mind work together to incentivise your drive to work? Once you understand how it works you’ll be able to hack your own motivation cycle to boost your productivity at work.

We’ve all been there – a slow, sluggish Monday morning where you’re desperate to get started with work but lacking that crucial driving force: motivation

Enter Slouch with our simple guide to harnessing your motivation cycle. As the creators of ergonomic home office chairs & desks that help people live and work better, we’re enthusiasts about ways to make working life more productive. 

So let’s get into it. 

What is the motivation cycle in psychology?

The motivation cycle – or cycle of motivation – is a psychological principle that breaks down the stages of motivation that people experience. Psychologists generally boil the cycle of motivation down to the same 4 core phases or principles. 

What are the 4 stages of the motivation cycle?

1. Need 

This is when you feel the lack of something or the need to achieve something. Aka. the task that makes its way onto your to-do list.

2. Drive

‘Drive’ is the internal state of tension created by ‘need’. This is a psychological mechanism that energises you and directs your behaviour toward meeting the need.

3. Incentive

The ‘incentive’ is the external goal or object which has the potential to satisfy the need. This is what motivates you to take action. It might be a positive incentive like a reward or praise or a negative incentive like avoiding punishment. It can be tangible, like money, or intangible, like looking good to your boss.

Drive and incentive work together and strengthen each other. 

In a nutshell, a better reward makes you try harder, and when you’re more motivated, you’ll work harder to get the reward.

4. Goal or Reward

Once the goal or reward has been reached you will return to a balanced state and the cycle is complete until a new need arises.

Why is the sequence of the motivation cycle so important?

Each stage directly influences the next, in the order we’ve described. By breaking the mental process down into the different component stages you’re better able to figure out where the cycle is going wrong for you and address it.

How can understanding the cycle of motivation impact your workflow?

Understanding the motivation cycle can help you tackle common work challenges. If you struggle with procrastination or time blindness, you might find your ‘drive’ only kicks in when deadlines loom. This can lead to rushed work, missed deadlines, or work spilling into personal time.

The issue often starts in the ‘need’ phase – you’re not accurately gauging the task’s scale or importance. By recognising this, you can take steps to activate your motivation earlier. Use the tips below to help you get your motivation cycle back on track.

ways to use the motivation cycle to boost productivity

Now that you understand the cycle of motivation, let’s look at how to use it to your advantage. Here are three simple strategies to harness the power of the motivation cycle and hack your productivity:

Stagger your deadlines

Break big projects into smaller, manageable chunks with their own deadlines. This triggers your motivation cycle more frequently, keeping you on track. 

Smaller tasks are easier to estimate time-wise, giving you a clearer picture of when to start and finish. This way, your ‘drive’ phase kicks in more often, preventing last-minute rushes. This can also help to prevent burnout from striking.

Stay mindful of your goals

Use visual prompts and reminders to keep your goals at the front of your mind. This could be PostIt notes on your monitor or reminders in your Google calendar. By constantly reinforcing your ‘need’, you’re more likely to activate your ‘drive’. 

Plus, seeing your progress can serve as a great incentive, fueling your motivation further.

Positive Reinforcement

Boost your ‘incentive’ phase by rewarding yourself for completing tasks. If you’re prone to procrastination, try upping your rewards – they might not be enticing enough. If you need to clean your office, for instance, the reward of having a tidy office might not be enough on its own. A little treat when you complete the task could up your drive.

Remember, a stronger incentive leads to a stronger drive. So, treat yourself on a job well done. 

What else can increase motivation at work?

While understanding and leveraging the motivation cycle is crucial, there are other strategies you can employ to boost your motivation at work. Such as…

Having an ergonomic working environment

Ergonomics aims to create a workspace that supports your body and mind, reducing physical strain and helping you focus. An ergonomic office setup can significantly impact your motivation by making you more comfortable and focused throughout the day. 

Consider investing in Slouch’s ergonomic home office chairs, designed to provide optimal lumbar support and promote good posture. It’s the perfect way to incorporate better ergonomics in the workplace.

Take scheduled breaks

As we’ve touched on, breaking tasks down into more manageable and easy-to-estimate time frames can be a helpful method for managing your motivation cycle. The same is true of your working day. 

The Pomodoro Method is one such method that encourages you to break your working day down into 25-minute periods of focused work time, punctuated by a 5-minute rest period. This plays into the psychological need for regular positive rewards to stay motivated.

Get on top of your personal organisation

Interruptions and distractions can derail your motivation. Create a focused working environment that supports your productivity:

  • Put together any office desk essentials you might need, so that you don’t need to leave your office and disrupt your working flow
  • Maintain a tidy office space and consider how your desk feng shui is affecting your productivity
  • Remove visual clutter from your workspace, for instance with our simple guide on how to organise cables in your office.

Supercharge your productivity with Slouch

Ready to get serious about crafting a productive working environment? Slouch’s team of product engineers have spent years fine-tuning our range of home office desks and chairs, to bring you the ultimate comfortable working environment.

Have queries about our products? Fill out this contact form and we’ll get back to you. For general enquiries, email us at [email protected] and our experts will be in touch to assist.