Some days it’s easy to be enthusiastic and excited about work, while other days it’s a struggle to stay focused, overcome writer’s block, or just find some joy as you juggle myriad demands.
There are different reasons for feeling unmotivated. Maybe you feel you aren’t challenged enough and boredom certainly snuffs out motivation. Some may be distracted or lack focus, while others are so overwhelmed with work or personal demands that it can feel impossible to find joy, let alone enthusiasm for the daily grind.
Here are eight ideas to help you get motivated about work:
1.Set up a to-do list and prioritize it. I know, it sounds simple! But rather than merely listing every task you need to complete, determine what is urgent versus what’s important. Too often we live in a constant state of urgency and it is easy to waste time on things that are actually not important or on urgent things that eclipse what is actually important in the grander scheme of things. Additionally, if you focus on the important things, you may even prevent them from becoming urgent. This is important because you can keep your focus on the big picture priorities that are full of purpose and meaning (and you won’t feel exhausted always dealing with urgent problems!
2. Ask for feedback. Seek the advice of your boss, coworkers, or other team members — and be specific (What am I doing well? What would you like to see change? Where would you like to see me grow?). When you know what is appreciated and where you can improve, you have some concrete information to help you determine what you should keep doing — and, more importantly, what you can do better.
3. Focus on what you control. We can only control what we do ourselves; we can’t control others. Carrying frustrations with other people is often a burden on our motivation. By keeping your focus on what you can do and what you have control over, you may feel less discouraged and able to accomplish what you need to do.
4. Reflect on your WHY. Knowing what you do and how to do it is helpful, but knowing your WHY helps you align yourself with purpose. This, in turn, can propel you to meet your goals and even inspire and motivate the people around you!
5. Build relationships with your colleagues. One of the programs we run is called The Five Behaviours of a Cohesive Team and it is tremendously successful helping leadership teams become more effective. Not coincidentally, one thing that often shows up in their action plans is to “spend more time together” — not more time in meetings or strategizing, but just getting to know each other. It almost seems too basic or simplistic, doesn’t it? But through agreeing to grab a weekly coffee together, eating lunch together regularly, or going out after work for a quick visit every couple of weeks, the results are amazing. They always report phenomenal growth in trust and understanding — and thus motivation — when they make relationship building a priority.
6. Practise mindfulness. It may sound like a buzzword or some fad, but mindfulness truly builds self-awareness about what’s going on around you and how you react to it. It takes practice, but when you switch from mind FULL to mindful you’ll quickly notice it is easier to get motivated at work so you can manage your day and achieve success.
7. Keep a journal. Some folks find it easy to get into a groove of journaling daily; see if you can, too. Picking a dedicated time to journal — like the start or the end of your day — often works best. I’ll admit that I find this one hard to do, but when I’m actively engaged with journaling, the results skew toward amazing. I find I’m focused and I’m motivated. Hell, sometimes I’m charged up!
8. Actively seek growth. When was the last time you learned a completely new skill? Perhaps it’s time to take a course or upgrade some qualifications (and maybe your company will see this as an investment and pay for the training!). It may be personal growth that you need and booking yourself vacation time or enjoying time away from the office (no cell phone or email after hours!) might be exactly what you need to rejuvenate. Or it might be time to ask your boss for work that is a little bit more challenging. After all, a new opportunity can be very interesting, and there are times a lateral career move can be good for your career. Change can be daunting, but it can also be very exciting!
Feeling unmotivated every now and again is entirely normal, but it’s also temporary. If you try some of these strategies to get motivated at work, you’ll find ways to rediscover your purpose and rekindle your motivation.
When do you feel unmotivated? What dampens your enthusiasm professionally? Which strategies do you think would help you get motivated at work?