You open up your email inbox, coffee in hand and begin another day by sifting through to see what needs to be done. You think to yourself, how on earth did my inbox fill up so quickly between when I logged off last night and now?
It’s as though others have been working round the clock while you struggled to even put on a matching pair of socks that morning.
Your eyes land on an email from your boss marked as ‘urgent’. You hesitate to open it but know you can’t delay the inevitable, so you double click. It contains an extensive list of requested changes to the draft report you finished the week before. You heave a sigh and wonder where you’ll find the energy to get it done.
You recall the now seemingly distant time when you would have jumped onto those changes and actively sought an opportunity to pick her brain so you can improve next time. A lot has changed since then.
Can you relate? Motivation at work is one of those things that can disappear just as quickly as you found it. Yet, it’s key to our success in the workplace or in business.
Motivation gives you the drive to put in the effort required to achieve results. It’s what pushes us to keep going and keep growing. If you want to see progress in any area of life, it requires motivation.
So, if motivation is so important, how can we boost it when we feel like we’ve got nothing left? Here are 5 practical ways you can start implementing today.
1. Write down your to-do list for the day
I don’t mean the electronic sticky note or the list in your online task management tool. As great as those are for keeping you digitally accountable, nothing compares to pen to paper! Physically writing down the things you set out to achieve the day ahead, allows you to tick (or cross) each item off once you complete it.
Personally, I derive the greatest sense of satisfaction when I look at my list and see many ticks. It means progress! Nothing motivates you to keep moving forward more than seeing how far you’ve come.
2. Celebrate small wins
There can be many reasons to celebrate at work. If you’re struggling to find reasons, here are a few:
- Completing every task on your to-do list for the day
- Securing a new client
- Hitting your sales target for the week
- Reaching a project milestone
- Receiving positive feedback from a boss, customer or client
You can choose to celebrate alone or with someone else. However you celebrate, make sure it’s something you enjoy. I have a sweet tooth that I can’t seem to shake so instead of restricting myself, I wait for the next opportunity to celebrate. When it does, it’s a reason to get my tastebuds dancing with sugary goodness.
Match the celebration to the achievement. Let me illustrate this for you. Say you receive positive feedback from a survey you sent to a client. A weekend away with a loved one seems like an excessive celebration in response. What type of celebration does that leave for a bigger achievement like completing a major project? An overseas holiday?!
Keep that up and your motivation tank may be full but your bank account will be running on empty! Instead, you could celebrate the great feedback with an early finish that day to meet a friend for a glass of wine and joyful banter.
Celebrating will keep you going from one small win to another and motivate you to keep working toward bigger goals.
3. Do something each day that fills your tank
What are the activities that have you feeling high on life each time you do them? The things that switch you from sour to sweet in an instant. Within reason, bring them into your daily routine.
Maybe going for a walk or hike leaves you feeling optimistic as those endorphins are released. If so, break up your work day by stepping outside and get those legs moving. Maybe you now work from home and miss the impromptu chat in the office kitchen. Pick up the phone and fill that void with a satisfying conversation.
By regularly engaging in activities that refresh and replenish you, this fills your energy tank and positions you with more to give.
4. Plan something to look forward to
It can be difficult to get through a busy and stressful season at work if there’s nothing on the horizon to look forward to. When you look forward to something, this evokes the feeling of expectation. The greater the sense of expectation, the greater motivation.
Have a look at your calendar for the next few months. Is there something in there that gets you excited for the future? If not, start planning and lock something in! It could be a road trip, a night out with your mates or a spa day with the works.
5. Go back to your purpose
Take a moment to consider your purpose. Not your reason for existence, that stuff is too deep for this blog. I mean your purpose at work. Why did you apply for that position? What attracted you to it?
Remind yourself of why you do what you do. This takes you back to the bigger picture when the details have pulled you down into the rabbit hole where you’ve lost sight of your ‘why’.
If you can no longer see purpose in your role, it could be time to think about where you are now compared to where you want to be and take steps toward closing that gap. Take it one day and one step at a time. Overwhelming yourself with doing too much too soon will only contribute to eroding your motivation.
What other ways do you like to improve your motivation? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
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Oyelola is a freelance writer based in Sydney, Australia. She works closely with entrepreneurs and businesses in financial services, consulting and education, writing quality-rich content to engage their readers and motivate action. When not writing for clients, Oyelola provides insights on writing, wealth and work on her Phrased with Purpose blog and shares her faith journey on her personal blog, He Speaks, I Write.