Chances are, you are motivated to participate in that leisure time activity for different reasons than motivate you on the job. There are many types of motivators, or elements that drive us towards a given behavior. Motivation can be external, like the reward of a paycheck for completing our job, or internal, like the feeling of guilt caused when we don’t complete what’s expected of us.
The type of motivator most commonly associated with our selection of leisure activities is intrinsic, meaning we perform an activity for the behavior itself and the positive feelings derived from it.
There are four main categories of intrinsic motivation:
Physical. Active leisure pursuits like sports, dance and gardening, meet our needs for achieving physical health and wellness.
Social. Because we do not want to feel alone, we are attracted to activities that provide companionship, support, intimacy or feelings of being connected to a greater cause and community.
Psychological. A desire for excitement, challenge, escape, relaxation and stress relief are among the many psychological factors that contribute to our leisure preferences.
Emotional. Leisure is a major contributor to emotional health, as it can provide strong feelings of pleasure and satisfaction as well as serving as a healthy outlet for emotions which otherwise might produce distress. Emotions connected to leisure activity include happiness and well being, intellectual development and spiritual growth.
Can you identify which of these factors is the reason behind your preferred leisure activities? (There may be more than one.) Can this self-awareness be useful to you on the job, seeking out tasks that will keep you engaged and productive? What about in assigning tasks to your team? Those same factors that motivate us off work, will motivate us on the job also.