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The Importance of Small Wins To Boost Job Performance

Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer studied the daily activity of 238 workers from 7 companies and analyzed 12,000 notes written down in workers' diaries.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer stated in the Harvard Business Review that seemingly unsolvable events accumulated in a given environment reduce confidence and productivity and affect mental health.

To prepare their book "The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work" on the positive effect of meeting small goals periodically, Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer studied the daily activity of 238 workers from 7 companies and analyzed 12,000 notes written down on workers' diaries.

The Harvard researchers concluded that there are simple methods to eliminate obstacles to the progress of any goal, such as detecting and removing redundant tasks that barely serve as fillers; or combating toxic labor relations, which prevent real progress. Amabile and Kramer explain how to activate two processes that would make progress easier:

- Catalysts: Events that directly facilitate the work, such as specific objectives and personal autonomy.

- Sustainers: Interpersonal gestures that motivate work, such as a good atmosphere or honest and direct communication.

After studying 12,000 of these journal entries, researchers found one powerful insight: On the days that the workers had their best days, they had made some acts of incremental progress. In their journals, they wrote, "We were dealing with a computer bug, and we made a tiny win towards the organization's vision." They also wrote, "We were dealing with a difficult customer, but we made some progress in building the relationship."

The time that employees recorded their worst days, it was because there was some setback during their days. This is a valuable insight, especially regarding productivity and performance. The practical lesson behind this study is: If you want to stay fired up, develop a genuinely focused mindset, feel emotionally alive, and do your best, you need to celebrate tiny wins at the end of every day.

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In other words, looking for progress instead of perfectionism can positively impact someone's job performance. Canadian writer Robin Sharma recommends two tools to achieve this:

1. The nightly-three ritual: Keep a piece of paper by your bedside and write down three things you accomplished that make you feel proud. That's celebrating the progress because you are acknowledging your small wins. According to Sharma, our brains are hard-wired for negativity, allowing us to survive thousands of years ago. However, in the modern age, we are still training our brains subconsciously to focus on what went wrong versus all the progress and the things that went right. Using this tool will allow you to feel stronger and become undefeatable.

2. Keep a daily progress journal: Journaling benefits your mental health and general well-being. Doing this activity heightens awareness, deepens your intentions, boosts performance, and is a great way to capture creativity. Writing about your progress and where you're winning every day is a great start.

Start training your brain to focus on progress, including where you are winning and what's positive. According to the study conducted by Harvard Business Review, that will fuel you emotionally, will make you feel stronger, and you're going to grow in confidence. It only takes recognizing small wins to take your productivity to the next level.

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