Staying motivated at work is definitely a struggle for me.
As I’m writing this, I’m sitting at my 9 to 5, feeling completely and utterly unmotivated.
Part of this journey, for me, is learning how to swing back from a lack of motivation. I often find myself wanting to be anywhere but work, thinking about other things, or spending precious time scrolling through Pinterest.
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Many people struggle with this, and it’s likely that you do, too. So I’ve put together a list of things to help you (and me) stay motivated at work.
Put Your Phone Away
If you’re struggling to stay motivated at work, it’s unlikely that Facebook or Instagram is going to help.
Put your phone on silent and hide it in your desk drawer or somewhere where you can’t see it. Out of sight, out of mind.
This way you won’t be tempted to reach for it and then spend the next 10+ minutes lost in the abyss of the internet and social media.
Clean Your Desk
I know, I know. Clean? Yes, clean.
No one is going to be their most productive when surrounded by a mess.
I can tell you that, right now, my desk is less than tidy and the mess is definitely contributing to my lack of motivation. In fact, it has been for the last few days.
Take some time to clean up your space and make it a place you love to be.
You can even take this a step further and consider getting some small decorations or printing some quotes to hang in your cubicle.
However you decide to do it, make your space lovely and lovable.
If you haven’t been motivated at work for a number of days now, try dressing up. Take your fashion up a notch and style your hair or wear those heels.
Sometimes just looking the part helps us feel the part. When you look great, you want to be great.
Again, I’m not doing so well in this area today. I’m wearing an oversized sweater and my beat-up running shoes. And there’s no doubt that looking grubby is making me feel grubby.
Writing this post is actually really inspiring me to make some changes. (Hopefully, it’s inspiring you, too.)
Read Something Inspirational
Speaking of inspiration… read something inspirational.
It could be inspirational quotes about getting things done or it could be an inspirational book.
If reading isn’t your thing, listen to some inspirational music. One of my favorite songs to listen to when I need a boost is “Work This Body” by Walk the Moon. It gets me pumped up and ready to work every time.
You could also watch an inspirational YouTube video, like Kid President’s Pep Talk.
The point is to read/listen to/watch something that inspires you to get going and accomplish things.
Celebrate Your Successes
Sometimes a lack of motivation strikes when we feel like we’re just not good enough. We don’t want to work towards something because we’re afraid we’ll fail or it won’t be perfect.
At a time in my life when I was feeling particularly unmotivated, a counselor told to take a few minutes at various points throughout the day to think of three things that I do well. It was a game-changer.
I had spent so much time before that telling myself that I was bad at this or that, and I hadn’t spent any time focusing on all of the things that I do well. Just thinking of three small things that I’m good at gave me the motivation to tackle the next project on my list.
What are some things that you do well? Have you accomplished anything big (or small) recently? Take a little time to celebrate those things and remind yourself of them often.
Take a Walk
Consider a change of scenery. Step away from your desk and take a walk around the building, the parking lot, or a nearby park.
Think of this time as a reset, a new start on your less-than-productive day.
During the last few minutes of your walk, think through your to-do list and what you need to accomplish. Then set a plan to accomplish those items, so that you’re ready to tackle them head-on when you get back to your desk.
Pick 2 or 3 Important Tasks
If your to-do list is crazy long, chances are it is silently overwhelming you. To overcome the overwhelm, forget about everything on the list except 2 or 3 tasks.
Pick the couple of tasks that you feel you need to accomplish today and only focus on those.
It’s likely that you’ll still have time leftover to work on other things, but setting all those other tasks aside makes your work feel more approachable.
Picking just 2 or 3 tasks can also help you work less and get more done.
With the 2 or 3 tasks that you do attempt, start small. Really, just start.
Once you write the first sentence of that memo you need to get done, writing the rest of the memo will be so much easier. So focus on writing that first sentence.
Or focus on the first two pages you need to read or the first phone call you need to make.
Whatever the task is, just start the first small step and, before you know it, you’ll be done.
Internal motivations and inspirational quotes don’t always do the trick. That’s when external motivators come in handy. Set a reward to encourage yourself to finish that task that you just don’t want to do.
As I shared in my post about rejecting work for work’s sake, I like to reward myself with time at the end of the workday to use for other productive but non-work related tasks, such as schoolwork and my blog.
Everyone is different, so find rewards that work for you. Maybe it’s a lunch away from your desk (if you don’t already do this) or a piece of candy after each accomplished task.
The rewards you set for yourself will act as external motivators to get your work done.
One Last Note
Hopefully, you’ve found at least one helpful tip for staying motivated at work. Send me an email and let me know what works for you.