We all have our ups and downs they say, and this applies to our work life, too.
While sometimes we feel like we’re riding the crest of a wave and are accomplishing everything in our path, at other times we just can’t seem to get started at all.
If you just can’t engage with work tasks enough to get much done, your mind keeps wandering and you procrastinate often, or you just can’t summon up any driving willpower, then you are suffering from a lack of motivation.
However, you’re not a lost cause.
There are several simple ways to get motivated and tackle the tasks at hand.
Ways To Get Motivated
1. Energize For A Short-Term Fix
Take a break and do something energizing and uplifting: play upbeat music, go for a run or walk in the fresh air, take a shower, etc.
While this is a short-term trick and doesn’t address the real problem behind your lack of motivation, having a quick fix up your sleeve when you feel a slump coming on can make a massive difference to your overall productivity before you have a chance to address bigger issues.
2. Know Your Limits, And Move Them
If you are regularly having slumps in motivation, then there must be a root cause.
Often there’s a gap in your skill set and something you don’t feel good at, which means you become stuck and unmotivated.
It could be something like managing business finances, writing a report or preparing a presentation, or dealing with debtors; we all have a career Achilles’ heel of some sort. Knowing that you need to complete a task in this area of expertise can be a real motivation turn-off.
If you see a pattern to your lack of motivation when this kind of task is looming, then look at how to overcome obstacles in your career path.
Learn from a course, take advice from somebody, research online; do what it takes to feel like you can conquer these tasks in the future.
3. Focus On One Thing At A Time
Big goals or mammoth tasks can both be overwhelming and cause a lack of motivation. You begin to procrastinate as you wonder how on earth you’ll go about achieving your aim, and so you put off tackling it for just a bit longer.
Having too many goals on the go has the same effect: What do you choose to get done first?
Planning goals thoroughly and breaking up large tasks into small elements should always be the first step. Ultimately, aim high in what you hope to achieve, but remember, baby steps are actually what get you there.
4. Reflect On Why You Are Doing This…
It is easy to sometimes forget our long-term career goals when we are faced with a less than inspiring task, but you can rediscover your driving force.
Taking a few moments to write down your ultimate aims, and then looking to see how the particular task in front of you fits into eventually achieving these goals can rejuvenate you.
5. …And On The Opportunities You Have
A lack of motivation and negativity often go hand-in-hand. By looking to feel more grateful for the opportunities you have in your life—such as your career, your education, your family—and by seeing how this task is part and parcel of these opportunities, you can recharge your positivity and motivation. (See the positivity challenge.)
6. Make Yourself More Accountable
While it’s not pleasant to have someone breathing down your neck, having somebody keep an eye on your productivity can be a good thing.
It can be a really powerful undertaking to have to verbalize to somebody exactly what you did or didn’t get done over the day, and why. If you are your own boss, you can still ask a friend or family member to check in with you to see how you are doing.
Keeping a written record of your productivity at the end of each working day could help, too.
The feeling of guilt when you admit to not having got enough done is enough to drive you to work twice as hard the next time.
7. Get Motivation From The People You Know
Friends, family and loved ones are your biggest fans, and see all your talent even at the times when you can’t see any for yourself. They will champion you, whatever you turn your hand to.
Spend lots of time with them and feed from their belief in you!
8. …And From the People You Don’t Know
Try Googling success stories for those who have chased the same goals as you; more often than not, you’ll see they faced the same barriers, and lost motivation at times before moving on and reaching their end goal.
You’ll be empowered again just by reading about their success.
9. Get Competitive
Lots of people thrive on competition so setting out challenges to yourself or others can help you focus.
Try to do something faster, or better, or in greater quantity and allow a treat or prize if you succeed, too.
10. Find A Mantra
Find yourself a favorite motivational phrase, write it down and place it around the house or office where you’ll need to see it if motivation slips again.
There are countless motivational mantras to choose from, but a few universal favorites include:
- “Quality is not an act; it is a habit” – Aristotle
- “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other” – Walter Elliot
- “What you plant now, you will harvest later” – Og Mandino
If you come face to face with your mantra whenever your mind wanders, you will be a lot more likely to get back on track.
Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced executive coach and founder of The Pathway Project.