In most jobs, the emphasis is on the big wins: projects completed, big accomplishments, clients landed. Unfortunately, it’s not those big wins that keep us motivated and happy. The small wins — bugs fixed, obstacles overcome, issues resolved — are the ones that keep us going, and Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile’s research says keeping track of them will make you happier at work, more productive and more motivated.
Photo by Pete O’Shea.
We’ve discussed how keeping a work diary of your successes and mistakes can help you professionally, but Dr Amabile points out that the benefits of a work diary go much deeper. A work diary can help you plan for the future, get necessary distance from emotional issues at work, and help you keep track of all of those small achievements and successes that normally would come and go in the course of a day or week. It gives you a tool to use to look back and see how well you did and how far you’ve come.
She notes that those small wins can turn into big breakthroughs, but only if you’re using that information to plan your next steps. The video above is about 20 minutes long, but it’s worth watching when you have time. Dr Amabile also suggests some tools to help you keep track of those wins.