Motivation is rather elusive, isn’t it? Some days you feel it, and other days you can’t grab a measly corner of it no matter how hard you try. You stare at the computer screen, willing yourself to type, create, develop, and instead you find yourself simply going through the motions, barely caring about the work you’re producing.
I’ve totally been there too. It could be due to something as simple as the weather, or boredom or even lack of motivation at work.
But I’ve also got some good news. There are some key things that contribute to your work being motivating (or not), and once you recognize them, you have the power to redesign your workday in a way that gets you moving.
To help you get your head back in the game, here are some tips that will keep you motivated at work (Yayy!):
Don’t Think About it as Hard Work
Marie Stein said: “There is only one way for me to motivate myself to work hard: I don’t think about it as hard work. I think about it as part of making myself into who I want to be. Once I’ve made the choice to do something, I try not to think so much about how difficult or frustrating or impossible that might be; I just think about how good it must feel to be that, or how proud I might be to have done that. Make hard look easy.” Think about it: If the project you’re faced with isn’t viewed as drudgery, but rather as a piece of the puzzle that’s helping you along your career path, then perhaps the energy required to do it will be easier to come by.
Create Small Goals
I am sure you heard this advice before from Nelson Wang: “There’s a reason donut holes are so lovable. They’re easy to eat. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a dozen of them. This is how goals should be too. Of course, you should have a big, audacious goal. But make sure you break down that goal into bite-sized, consumable goals. This way you’ll feel like you’re making progress in your journey and you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete the smaller goals. A feeling of progress and achievement is a beautiful combination.”
Rather than focusing on a large, scary goal, take one thing at a time, and break the big goal into ideas you can digest one at a time.
Try a To-Do List
An organized to-do list is literally life-changing. If you don’t have one, make one now! Create a list of all the tasks you need to complete, whether they are for today or the end of the month. Once you have your list, number the tasks of urgency (one being the most urgent), plan the tasks that you must complete that day and tick them off as you go. At the end of the day create a new list for tomorrow and drag over any uncompleted tasks.
Take Regular Breaks
Many of us get sucked into our work and neglect taking a break, making us feel restless, tired, and discouraged. Getting away from your desk, even for 10 minutes is vital to get your creative juices flowing and to feel energised. If you have a long lunch break, try taking a walk to get some fresh air and to relax your mind.
Although it may sound counter-productive to set aside reading time when really what you’re looking for is motivation to work hard, sometimes it’s necessary to do something seemingly unrelated to tackle the task at hand. Developing a daily reading habit is one thing that’s likely to have a long-lasting impact on your thought processes, ultimately inspiring you in all areas of your life.
Stop Caring About the Things That Don’t Matter
Look very carefully and closely at your list and shave off anything that’s both truly demotivating and unnecessary for you to do. It’s not always best to finish what you started if, down the line, you can’t even remember the reason you started something in the first place. If you’re guilty of stressing over the most insignificant things that you can’t change, then stop now. The more you worry about unnecessary things, the more you’re going to make yourself sick, so learn to let go.
Set a Quit Time
Raise your hand if you’re motivated 24/7! I didn’t think I’d see any hands. It’s unrealistic to feel energized all the time. You need to give yourself a rest, and if that means giving yourself a specified set time to unplug or turn away from the demands of your job, then do it.
Nine times out of ten, we focus on what we’ve done wrong, instead of what we have accomplished. Over time, this constant negativity will lead to a loss of motivation. To change this, take two minutes before you go to bed to list your achievements of the day. You’ll be surprised with how many you come up with.
What’s the Bigger Picture?
Oprah Winfrey once said: "Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe." Think about why you are doing this job and what you are working towards. If it’s a promotion, show why you deserve it and trust that you can triumph.
Often inspiration is lacking at work. However, by following these motivational techniques you can begin each day with the enthusiasm as if it were your first.