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Maintaining High Motivation and Performance

It’s quite common knowledge that one’s performance is tied, in part, to one’s motivation levels. However, what is not widely known are the how and the why. That is, how and why does work motivation fluctuate on a day-to-day basis over the courses of the workweek? 

Researchers recently sought to shed light on this important relationship. They particularly assessed how mindfulness (i.e., being attentive and aware of the present moment) affects motivation and performance over the course of a standard Monday – Friday workweek. 

To answer this question, the researchers surveyed 165 employees of a medical device sales company in China. They had 3 primary findings: 

  1. Over the course of a standard workweek, both motivation and employee performance tended to decline as the week progressed. 
  2. Interestingly enough, as mindfulness increased, the above finding was likely to be mitigated. That is, motivation and performance were likely to be maintained.
  3. The correction between low mindfulness and decreased motivation and performance was significant only in cases of higher job demands. That is, if job demands are low, motivation is less likely to decline due to fewer distractors. 

So, what are the practical implications of this? Well, there are two key takeaways for organizations: 

  1. Training. Facilitate mindful training for employees and implement reminders for employees to practice mindfulness by being in the moment. 
  2. Switch it up. As the typical workweek patterns consist of high demands earlier in the week (e.g., critical meetings) and more levity later in the workweek (e.g., happy hours, casual Fridays, etc.), the researchers suggest that disrupting this pattern may be beneficial. That is, consider infusing lighter demand and fun activities mid-week, for instance. 



Dust, S. B., Liu, H., Wang, S., & Reina, C. S. (2021). The effect of mindfulness and job demands on motivation and performance trajectories across the workweek: An entrainment theory perspective. Journal of Applied Psychology. Advance online publication.