Workday events have a huge effect on your life, often determining your emotions, motivation, and desire to keep working. Think about it: after a day of accomplishing big tasks, you feel like you’re on top of the world! But on days where the work changed or you got behind, you walk out of the office irritated and don’t want to return the next day.
So how do you determine how your day goes? For you and your employees?
Simply put, it’s all about “enjoying the small things in life”. Except we’re putting a spin on it. Now, it’s all about enjoying the small victories at work! This is because if you were to only rejoice when a big project has been completed, archived and delivered, you would have very few happy moments. And that’s no fun!
Progress and Motivation
As the manager (or group leader, boss, or whatever else your title may be), it’s your job to push progress and increase motivation within your employees. Why, exactly? Like we touched on before, “of all the things that can boost inner work life, the most important is making progress in meaningful work”
Yes, incentives are a great motivator to push work. Who wouldn’t put in extra time and effort for a promotion or prize? But there’s something to be said about creating and accomplishing milestones; the sense of satisfaction and pride cannot be replicated!
Oftentimes, the determining factor of a “good day” was accomplishing a task or making huge headway. As stated by Harvard Business Review, “people are more creative and productive when their inner work lives are positive- when they feel happy, are intrinsically motivated by the work itself, and have positive perceptions of their colleagues and the organization.” Basically, when we walk out of the office at the end of the day, we’re feeling great because we kicked butt (figuratively). Enough said.
On the other hand, what made your last “bad day” so bad? Think carefully, because a majority of the time, it was a setback or work stuck in a bottleneck. Finishing the work day, you’re frustrated and maybe a touch sad. See how your work affects your emotions and motivation?
As we mentioned above, emotions and motivation are tied to our work. One days filled with progression, we’re feeling motivated! We’re on a roll! And we want to continue this feeling, constantly pushing the project towards completion. However, during days filled with setback and frustration, we’re less motivated, often procrastinating or avoiding the project. And this is no exception for your employees.
Surprise! This is where the beauty of milestones come in. Milestones are simply a mark in your project (or assignment, task, etc.) that that shows a change, new stage in development, progress, whatever word you want to call it. These milestones make your work life much more enjoyable- for you and your employees- so take advantage of it!
Don’t get us wrong; big wins in work are great! Unfortunately, they just don’t happen often. Instead, bring that feeling of achievement to work often by creating small milestones and encouraging employees to complete them. Even the smallest sense of accomplishment will help yourself and employees to engage more, while allowing you to see if the project is on-track or needs a little help.
Just a warning: don’t create too many milestones! Having a daily milestone will cause the celebratory spirit to diminish as it becomes normal. Also, with too many milestones, even the smallest setback will have more of an impact on employees, creating a negative atmosphere. Only assign milestones to important events spread out along the lifespan of your project!
As you create and plan out milestones, ask yourself:
-Is this project a deliverable or a task?
-Will the milestone impact the final deadline? In a positive or negative way?
-Does this need to be reviewed by a partner or additional manager?
Since workday events have such an impact on your life, and the lives of your employees, make work more enjoyable by mapping out progress with milestones. Watch as your team’s emotions and motivation increase and tasks are accomplished faster. Talk about a win-win!