42 Charts That Tell You Everything About Performance And Motivation

When it comes to motivation and performance, few focus on what they’re doing or how to improve it. They might respond to specific feedback from a boss, but rarely examine what motivates them to do their best at their job or in life. 

Luckily, there’s a large body of research focusing on how people can get the most out of themselves, and how managers can unlock employee potential. 

For example, making too many decisions in a day depletes your willpower, setting goals can backfire, and employees have a hard time working for managers who emphasise their own power. 

We’ve included 42 charts that are a great visual representation of some of these core concepts, which provide tips for increasing motivation, give information on biases to avoid, and have ideas for making employees more engaged and productive.   

Motivation is at its lowest point at the mid-point between the start and end of a goal.

The biggest conflicts we face over achieving our desires and goals are sleep and leisure.

Source: Adam Grant

Too much freedom, especially in unfamiliar situations, overwhelms and demotivates us.

Goal setting reduces procrastination by making each part of an activity more interesting

Over-thinking goals, like focusing on weight loss (an instrumental goal) as the end result of exercise, undermines the experience and motivation.

Source: Ayelet Fishbach

When leaders are particularly powerful relative to employees, and that relationship is made very clear, workers are less productive.

Source: Francesca Gino

Taking a wide, expansive power pose increases feelings of confidence, power, and testosterone, a hormone associated with both.

Source: Amy Cuddy

Source: Francesca Gino

You have to do something emotionally relevant and interesting every 10 minutes, otherwise attention drifts and you end up on Facebook.

Talking to yourself helps you stay focused, on task, and remember things that you're searching for.

When motivation was focused on other people's health, not themselves, hospital workers are far more likely to use hand sanitizer.

Highly proactive workers need lots of space, but less-secure workers are dramatically improved by extraverted, active leaders.

You can't be pressured into taking initiative; performance is highest when people take it themselves.

Source: Adam Grant

High rewards motivate you, but not when they're seen as unattainable.

The ability to make choices is finite: The more you make, the worse you are at it later, but its separate from feeling tired.

Source: KD Vohs

When you have lots of choices, making them is harder, and the result is less satisfying.

Source: Adam Grant

Constant self-evaluation is a big motivator when your job or reason for working is focused on helping others.

Source: Adam Grant

It's much easier to get motivated and work harder when you work with somebody whom you trust.

Source: Adam Grant

Reward programs for things like showing up on time can actually demotivate the best employees.

Source: SSRN

Increasing pressure on yourself or your team can end up hurting performance.

Source: Heidi Gardner

Workers react best and are most motivated when leaders give them some autonomy, but not too much.

Source: Sheena Iyengar

Pressure leads people to take the safe choice, often the opposite effect intended.

Spring fever is very real; warm temperatures and nice weather mean lower productivity.

Source: HBS

Setting your own costly deadlines can help reduce procrastination.

Source: Dan Ariely

Heavy multitasking doesn't make you any better at getting things done, and ends up hurting performance.

Small victories create more happiness than large acts, because expectation doesn't exceed reality.

Source: Jennifer Aaker

People who have experienced a cancer death are more likely to make and follow through on long-term decisions.

Being dishonest about motivation and performance makes you less satisfied with your results.

Even a fleeting feeling of anger can have a big impact on decisions.

Source: Dan Ariely

Simply knowing more about something reduces one's opinion of it and the likelihood of positive action.

Source: Dan Ariely

Increasing external motivation can boost willpower in the short term.

Pumping yourself up and then failing can end up disengaging you from goals. It provides a short term boost, but makes failure damaging.

Encouraging yourself or employees to look at things in a paradoxical or contradictory way can increase performance and productivity.

Source: Francesca Gino

There's a big difference between what people think motivates themselves, and what they think motivates others.

Source: Chip Heath

Positive emotions help motivate you when your first start pursuing a goal, but negative ones motivate you more.

Highlighting how much a job can help others significantly boosts motivation.

Source: Adam Grant

Variety of work and tasks gives a large boost to productivity versus just doing the same thing for a long time.

Source: Brad Staats

When you pay constant close attention to something, like a snack's health value, you're able to motivate yourself to make better choices.

Source: Redden and Haws

Focus on putting in good hours of work, not long hours. The most successful people work deliberately and take breaks.

Source: Anders Ericcson

Now find out how to get more out of others.

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