If you have never struggled to stay motivated at work, congratulations. You are one of the lucky ones and these motivation tips are probably not for you, but skimming through this article may at least offer some perspective. For the rest of us, here are some things you can do to stay inspired:
1. Create a clear vision
If you find it difficult to even start a task and find accomplishing things hard, what will help you is having a clear vision of what you want and need to do. Diving straight into work and not reading instructions is fun when you are assembling simple furniture but not so much when you are working on your career. Make sure you prepare an outline of the tasks that need to be completed, when will you complete them, and how. This will alleviate the stress of decision-making and is the first step in order to stay focused and motivated at work.
2. Produce a plan
Once you have your vision of everything that needs to be done, it is time to get down to the nitty-gritty of it. List all the things that need to get done, write down the due dates and sort them in order of urgency – most urgent ones come first. You can also create a more intricate system where you decide how many tasks per day will you accomplish and in what order. Use whatever makes the most sense to you.
3. Break overwhelming tasks into smaller pieces
What often keeps us from staying motivated or even starting to work on something is the task itself. If it seems too big to be completed in a day or even until the deadline, we often procrastinate and put it off until the last minute which makes the situation and our anxiety worse. What helps in such cases is breaking the big task down into smaller pieces. You can divide it in such a way that you will be able to complete a part of it every day until the deadline which makes the task seem less intimidating. An extra benefit of this tactic is that every day that you complete a part of the assignment you get an extra bit of dopamine which makes your motivation last longer.
4. Set deadlines, even if they are arbitrary
There’s nothing that can help you stay motivated quite as much as a fast-approaching deadline. If you are one of those people that tend to put off the task until the very last minute and are working at full speed when the deadline approaches, setting deadlines for yourself might be just the thing for you. Take out your calendar, write and set a date for when the task will be completed and stick to it! If promising yourself that you will complete a task in due time, a great motivation tip is to promise it to someone else. If disappointing yourself is not scary enough for you, try announcing a due date to your colleagues and let them keep you accountable.
5. Look at the bigger picture
We often see work as this all-encompassing thing that defines us and everything we are. If you think like this and find that your job does not fulfill you, a shift in perspective might be just what you need. It is difficult to stay motivated at work if you do not like what you do. And sometimes switching your career isn’t the most sensible thing to do so, in such cases, look at it from another point of view. Your job offers you financial stability and allows you to live your life. If you are still struggling with this, try to keep it positive and list all the things you enjoy at your workplace. Be it your colleagues, nice office space, or even a good coffee machine.
6. Visualize yourself succeeding
Another great tip that can help you stay motivated is visualization. Imagine what it will feel like when you get the opportunity to prove yourself and take your career to the next level. Let the changes that your success will bring into your life be what helps you in staying motivated. Visualizing a successful day every morning is a great way to make sure your day goes according to plan and you can even choose a motivational quote to be your mantra that you repeat every day before you go to work.
7. Think about your impact
If you find that success is not big enough of a motivation for you and that you need something more profound to keep you motivated at work, think about your impact. Whether it be the impact your job has on the community and the world, the positive impact your presence has on the work environment or simply the impact your job has on you and your life. Let the thought of all the good things you bring to the table be your daily motivation for work.
8. Step out of your comfort zone
A great way to break familiarity and routine that keeps you from being motivated at work is to try something new. Get out of your comfort zone. This can include:
- learning a new skill that will help you be better at what you do
- changing your work environment: try working from home or even a different office
- ask a colleague if you can help them with any of their tasks
- ask a supervisor if they can challenge you with something
Sometimes a lack of motivation comes directly from feeling like your potential is being wasted, so do not be afraid to challenge yourself with a new and exciting assignment.
9. Be open to criticism and ask for feedback
You might find this suggestion strange, especially because criticism makes us so vulnerable. Why on Earth would criticism make you stay motivated at work? However scary asking for feedback might be, you will find that you can learn a lot. If the criticism is well delivered and positive it can serve as a great ego booster, constructive criticism on the other hand will serve as fuel to push yourself and strive to do better.
10. Reward yourself and your colleagues
Negative feelings towards your place of employment are no way to stay motivated at work. Guilt and blame have never made anyone better and more excited for the things they are doing, so make sure to reward yourself. Be it a good lunch you bring to work that day, a new outfit or simply allowing yourself to rest. And while you’re at it, make sure to reward your colleagues as well, you’d be surprised how inspiring it is to see those around you being amped up and excited. And what do you know, maybe you inspire someone else to do the same?
11. Keep it fun
One of the great ways to stay motivated is by adding fun elements to your everyday routine. You can decide to change the route you take to work and stop at your favorite coffee shop, make it exciting by walking to work and getting some exercise in, bring in your favorite lunch or snack, bake cookies for the office, or even something as simple as spicing up your outfit. A well-tailored blazer or a new shirt might do wonders for your motivation and self-esteem.
12. Celebrate holidays and create traditions
No matter how much you like your job and your coworkers, having to spend a lot of time at work is not always something you are going to be happy about. To make things better you can try creating some of your own traditions or at least celebrate holidays. You can for example implement casual Fridays, make it a tradition that all of you watch an episode of a show every week and discuss it when you return to the office. There is nothing better than a random mid-week celebration or a funky shirt brightening your workday.
13. Working from home
Having a pleasant working space is especially important when it comes to motivation at working from home. When you work from home, you are mostly alone and often need that extra bump of energy to stay on track and keep at it. There are many ways to stay motivated even if you are living, eating, and working in the same area.
· Create a ritual:
If your home is a smaller space and you cannot work from a specific room in the house, no problem! Transform your dining table into a workspace by creating a ritual. It can be as simple as getting dressed up and brushing your teeth or even make a nice cup of coffee.
· Make it smell nice
Burning candles and incense can do a lot in transforming a space and making you stay focused and motivated at work. If it smells nice, you are more likely to spend time in it and be happy about it. In case you are not the type to burn candles and other nice-smelling things, airing out the space can be just as useful.
· Keep it neat
Having a neat and cozy space can do wonders for your productivity and creativity. And by neat we don’t mean super tidy and clean all the time. Some people prefer randomly scattered supplies and a little bit of chaos. Whatever floats your boat.
For a neat look, you can add framed pictures, flowers, or even a motivational quote about work.
14. Make your workspace pleasant
Speaking of fun, there are plenty of things you can do to make sure your workspace is a pleasant area to spend time in. If you work from an office, things you can do to make your workspace pleasant are a little more limited than when you work from home but a little can go a long way. A nice plant or a scented candle are two simple things that come to mind. Having a fun cup to drink your coffee or tea out of is another one of the plenty creative ways to stay motivated and excited. Depending on how relaxed is your workspace, you could even listen to a good podcast or some funky music. The magic really lies in the small things.
15. Stop wasting time on things that don’t matter
Take a closer look at your to-do list. Are all the tasks there really necessary? Do not be afraid of shaving off the fat and cutting out things that do not serve you. Make sure you direct your energy to the things that really matter and do not force yourself to finish everything you have started. Especially if you can’t find or remember the reason why it should be completed in the first place.
16. Say thank you
Well too often we are unaware of the power these words can carry. We have all been in a situation where we have worked really hard on something and nearly gone crazy in the process and in the end, our efforts weren’t even appreciated. Since you know that feeling, it might be easier for you to compliment others. Compliment them on their hard work, their efforts, the time they put in. Building a positive and appreciative environment is key to stay focused and motivated at work. What goes around also comes around so don’t be surprised if compliments and thanks are reciprocated soon.
17. Get to know your colleagues
I know that after spending a third of your day with the same people, the idea of seeing them, even more, might not sound as appealing. But you’d be surprised. Building better relationships with the people you work with might help you be more productive in the future. They might even teach you a new skill or help you complete a project you have been stuck on for a while. Their fresh perspective might be just the thing you need.
18. Stay curious and keep learning
Challenge yourself to find something interesting and new in every task you have to complete. Every day and every assignment can bring something new and exciting into your life, it is up to you to decide and start actively looking for it. You can look at every situation as something boring you need to complete or you can decide to see it as a challenge that will teach you something new about yourself.
19. Be a mentor to someone
If your relationships at work are already really good and you feel like there is really nothing more you think you can learn, decide to mentor someone. This will boost your self-esteem incredibly when you see how much you really know and can teach others. On the other hand, a fresh perspective and interesting questions from your younger coworkers can help you shift your perspective and see that you can learn something new from everyone. Soon you might find yourself bursting with fresh energy and new ideas.
20. Set off time to rest
Expecting yourself to be productive and motivated all the time is highly unrealistic and can even be stressful. There is a time to work and time to rest. Both are necessary and you cannot have one without the other. When you rest, not only do you rest your body but your mind as well and only a well-rested mind can be of any use. Taking time to rest and relax will also take the pressure out of you making you perform better. Those who are well rested frequently outperform those who work long hours and that is a fact.
21. Create a habit
Things you do outside of work heavily influence the way you perform at work. If you stay up late every night you can feel it the next day. The same goes for creating smart habits like reading, exercising, and meditating. If the time spent off the clock is spent wisely, you will be performing better at work. And remember even staying motivated is a habit.
22. Just do it
If you are one of those people that tend to overthink things and procrastinate, this tip is for you: just do it! The sooner you begin the sooner you will get into the flow and the sooner you will be done. It’s like jumping into a lake, the less thinking and analyzing, the better. The sooner you jump, the better time you will have.
23. Don’t multitask
Avoid multitasking if possible. I understand that completing several tasks at the same time is unavoidable sometimes but, if possible, focus your energy on one thing at a time. When you give something your undivided attention your chances of success get higher. And the better you perform at a task, the more motivation you have to start the next one.
In conclusion, staying motivated at work depends on many factors and it is helpful to remember that you cannot control all of them, but you have power over yourself. If you are truly dedicated and use some of these helpful tips, you will see progress in no time. Good luck!