Dopamine is one of the important neurotransmitters among adrenaline, noradrenaline acetylcholine, GABA, serotonin and glutamate. It is responsible for feeling pleasure, motivation and satisfaction.
Human brain is hard-wired to attract things that give it a pleasurable feel. For eg. drug, sex, fast-food, speeding vehicle, etc.
It is the only biological reason for addictions. But we can also use this neurotransmitter to hack our growth and motivate ourselves to work more.
“When dopamine rises so does your motivation to act.”
Getting regular boost of dopamine is needed to keep the mood stable, too low dopamine can lower our mood (feeling of doing nothing). But there are tricks that can be used to manipulate our dopamine to feel excited to work.
[Recommended Reading: Dopamine Detox]
Below are 5 Tips that you can use to get regular dopamine boosts and feel excited and motivated to get work done.
#1 Plan Your Goal
Plan what you want to achieve this week, month or year because there is a certain mechanism in the brain which ensures that the dopamine released from the “expectancy of the reward” is higher than the reward itself.
Planning is the most exciting part, remember planning one day before the visit of zoo or picnic. We used to feel most excited and still do, planning weekends. And if we could successfully plan our work, we will certainly get most from our day.
Plan will not start unless there are triggers, few triggers like a to-do list, monthly tasks and yearly goals has to be in front of you all the time. Use posters, Images that will remind you of your tasks.
Triggers will be responsible to remind you about your reward. And feeling of achievement of that reward will give you another dopamine boost.
#2 Promise a Big Reward
When there’s a reward expected after completion of the work; the build up to that reward is a stage for maximum release of dopamine that keeps you going until you reach the goal.
In moment you promise this reward you receive maximum dopamine release that you don’t even get after finally getting that reward. Also 100% certainty of reward can lower dopamine levels so only reward yourself when you achieve goal.
Lower probability = Higher Effort to get reward = Higher Dopamine Level
Researches show that when you receive an unpredictable reward (surprises, unexpected gifts, unexpected meeting, etc.) your dopamine level doubles the average.
How to receive unpredictable reward;
- Ask your family to give you gift when you achieve your goal.
- Ask friends to organize a party if you achieve any goal.
- Give gifts to receive gifts.
If you are beginner content creator you can see big reward as making a full-time income to keep uploading content, if you are a student you can see a big reward for better grades to study more and so on.
#3 Track Your Growth
When you measure your growth and notice yourself progressing it releases dopamine– resulting in pleasurable feeling to keep working.
When we start tracking our habits we tend to stay conscious about them and complete them everyday. Tracking growth works like triggers.
Checking analytics of our social media growth (YT, Twitter, IG) fits best as an example in this section. When the graph goes up we feel more excited and motivated to upload content with consistency. But remember opposite is also true, you can also feel demotivated when graph goes down.
You can find dozens of applications and software to track your growth in work. But at same time keep a tool to not feel demotivated when graphs don’t favor you.
#4 Add mini rewards in your plan
While working, we see moments in which we don’t feel excitement, even after visualizing the big reward. And feel like putting work aside and just walk around for a few minutes, but those few minutes distract us. In such moments the best way to get back is by using mini rewards.
These mini rewards can include, eating cookies after completing the script, having chocolate after studying for an hour, etc.
These mini rewards keep you on track to reach the final goal with less effort. In demotivating moments if big reward doesn’t work, we will have Plan-B with a reason to work, to push a little more.
#5 Take Breaks & Relax
Breaks are kind of rewarding itself, but you need to give yourself a break after a segment of task completion. That is only way to keep healthy functioning of your brain.
BTW, feeling of relaxation is due to release of endorphins (the other neurotransmitter).
All neurotransmitters are inter-connected. You can manage all of them by implementing a healthy lifestyle and having a good diet and good brain-foods.
- Meditate & Exercise regularly
- Have healthy diet
- Listen music
- Get sunlight, etc.
Dopamine is a slippery slope. Too much of dopamine in unhealthy habits (drug, alcohol, etc.) narrows your focus and makes you want to seek it more. Which could then make you addicted.
You have option to choose what to get addicted to? You can choose to get addicted to the process of working or unhealthy habits.
Using these five tricks will motivate you do more work;
- Plan your goal
- Promise big reward
- Track your growth
- Mini rewards
- Take breaks & Relax
Big reason why you should be working on levelling up your dopamine releases is to purse your life with excitement and feeling of willingness. Lower dopamine levels will make you that uninterested dull person who is not exciting and his energy is kind of boring. Certainly, you don’t want to be that person. Do you?
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