Extrinsic Motivation

It is important to remember that there are two main ways in which you can motivate yourself. The first way is through intrinsic motivation (see the Intrinsic Motivation article for more information). The second way is through extrinsic motivation, which is a motivational method in which you try to convince yourself that you should carry out a task because you will get something if you accomplish that task. In other words, extrinsic motivation refers to any method of motivation in which you reward yourself each time you accomplish a task. Extrinsic motivation can be a very effective tool when you’re trying to accomplish a task that you really don’t want to perform or a task that already has an obvious reward associated with it. For example, you may not want to work on Christmas, but the time and a half or double-time that you will receive if you work on Christmas is an obvious reward that may convince you to work anyway. However, it is important to note that extrinsic motivation works better in some situations than others, and you may want to know a little more about extrinsic motivation before you try to use it.

  • First, extrinsic motivation is completely based on what you can get out of something. This means that you have to make sure that you are actually receiving something that you want each time you accomplish the task that you don’t really want to accomplish. For example, if you really don’t like revising your notes, you may decide that you can play your favorite video game or that you can get your favorite candy bar as soon as you’re done revising them. This will encourage you to revise your notes, so you can play the game or get the candy bar.
  • Secondly, extrinsic motivation can get expensive. Rewarding yourself each time you accomplish a task is a great way to motivate yourself, but you have to make sure that you can afford to give yourself the reward each time you accomplish the task. This means that you may want to stick to rewards that are free or cheap because even a candy bar reward will eventually add up when you’re buying a candy bar every day. In fact, if you want to buy something expensive for accomplishing a specific task, you may want to stretch the task over a longer period. For example, if you hate doing your homework, you may decide that you can buy the video game that you really want at the end of the term or semester if you complete all of the homework that you receive during that term or semester.