12 Strategies to help you stay motivated at work

motivation at work

It is hard enough to maintain the motivation to eat healthy, exercise, socialise or sleep early, let alone work. Staying motivated at work is challenging, regardless of why you choose to do what you do. 

Sure enough, love, passion and commitment contribute significantly to staying motivated at work. Nevertheless, it is only a matter of time before frustration, disappointment, tiredness, and insecurity about professional choices arise.

Reasons for losing motivation at work
  • Inadequate salary
  • A toxic colleague (s)
  • Challenging working conditions
  • Uninspiring working environment
  • Lack of purpose and inspiration
  • Lack of a professional challenge
  • Increased accumulation of responsibilities
  • Physical exhaustion
  • Mental fatigue
  • Stress
  • Unhealthy lifestyle habits

If you recognise some of the above factors as responsible for your lack of motivation at work, I can assure you that you are not alone. I have never personally met anyone who has been staying motivated at work without any periods of doubt about their professional situation.

The bitter truth is that one has to work for a considerable span of their lifetime. That is unavoidable. And discouragement is bound to happen regardless of the degree of love for your profession.

Nonetheless, some strategies can help keep your motivation up by rediscovering the joy and purpose of jumping out of bed every day. Even if these reasons are not directly connected to the work itself, they benefit it anyway.

12 Strategies to help you stay motivated at work
  1. Think of your impact. The knowledge, expertise, work ethos, personality traits, and experiences can tremendously affect your colleagues and the company/organisation you work for. Your professional footprint does not go unnoticed, even when you are at your lowest.
  2. Prioritise the tasks. You can only achieve some things every day. Refrain from perfectionism and focus on being productive than busy. You simply cannot successfully complete all the tasks within one day; therefore, set your priorities straight, which will reduce your stress and confusion.
  3. Develop good time-management skills. Keeping a physical or online calendar is a simple but miraculous method for managing your time well. Set every day’s to-do list to avoid an overload of tasks and unrealistic expectations that lead to disappointment. Quite frequently, we are the ones who set ourselves up for failure, not the others. Keep your standards high and your expectations real.
  4. Set SMART goals. Your goals should always be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
  5. Take a break. Do not underestimate the impact of a worthwhile break on your working day. You can take one bigger break or break it down into smaller ones. But take a proper break from work. Go for a walk, drink a coffee, leaf through your favourite book, or take a power nap. Whatever takes your fancy as long as it’s not related to work.
  6. Reward and treat yourself. Celebrate small achievements at work and treat yourself with a good meal, a glass of wine, a nice walk, some intentional shopping or a delicious cinnamon roll. Life is hard enough; you do not have to be hard on yourself too. 
  7. Build good relationships with colleagues. People spend considerable time with their coworkers, for work occupies such an ample space in our life. Being on good terms with colleagues certainly makes work life easier, more tolerable, not to say enjoyable!
  8. Build the after-work anticipation. Schedule something nice for after work or at the end of the week. The thought alone of meeting a good friend for dinner, visiting a cultural event, taking a short trip at the weekend or welcoming your sister in town is enough to get you through the day. Or the week.
  9. Create an inviting workspace. Invest time and energy to make your work area appealing to your eyes and mind. You spend so much of your precious time there, anyway. Keep it minimal by removing all the visual clutter but still inviting and welcoming. 
  10. Eat healthily and drink a lot. You want a light, healthy and nutritious meal for the lunch break instead of a fatty or sugary meal that will spike your insulin rapidly but leave you tired afterwards. Eat healthy snacks during the day and drink lots of water or tea. People often tend to underestimate the contribution of good eating habits towards a productive work day.
  11. See the bigger picture. Why do you work hard? Why do you show up every day? Why do you work in a job that might not even be your dream job? Because you have set some personal goals. You may need the money to buy a house, go on a memorable trip or gain professional expertise and experience so you can move on to something better. Once you detect what the bigger picture looks like, your motivation will reignite.
  12. Focus on your self-careSelf-care is a set of routines that benefit our physical, emotional and psychological health. This routine is executed by us for us and has a tremendous impact on the quality of our life while affecting our romantic relationships, work and social life. 

Stop nurturing the illusion that your happiness or satisfaction at work depends on others. Life improves once you take full responsibility for your actions, behaviour and attitude. You cannot control how others think or act, but you have complete control over your response to challenging situations and people. And this is your weapon against a stressful and unsatisfied life. 

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