5 steps to keep yourself motivated at work


Why do some people start work with enthusiasm and finish it with the thought “what a fine fellow I am!”, While others have to overcome themselves every time, exerting all their willpower to complete their current tasks?

Much depends on whether our needs are met in the workplace: security, belonging to a group, self-confidence, autonomy, recognition …

Our ability to influence this is limited: it is often a matter for organization and leadership. But something is in our power. The first step to increasing motivation is to understand which needs are being met and which are not.

1. Perform diagnostics

Find out which of the following needs improvement. And that negatively affects your motivation. Determine what is up to you and to what extent.

  • Recognition: Do you feel appreciated? Do you receive gratitude, congratulations and other tokens?
  • Autonomy: can you act independently and make decisions?
  • Relationships: Do you feel the support of the environment, the atmosphere of benevolence?
  • Efficiency: Do you feel like you are doing your job? If not, what are you missing: skills or competencies?
  • Sense of Contribution: Do you feel like you’re adding value at work?
  • Personal Development: Does the job satisfy you, are you interested?
  • Leadership: How good is your contact with your line manager?
  • Work environment: Do your work environment and schedule allow you to maintain a balance between professional and personal life?

By spotting gaps in these paragraphs, you will know what needs improvement. Something depends on external factors that you do not influence. It might be worth discussing them with your manager or HR department. It also remains that you can change for the better on your own.

2. Set your personal goals

In addition to the objectives set by management, identify those goals that make sense to you personally. They should not necessarily be directly related to work. And they don’t have to be big.

Perhaps these will be very small goals, for example: make new acquaintances, broaden your horizons, increase your skills, get a good entry in your resume, acquire new skills and “pump” existing ones …

It improves your mood and at the same time increases your enthusiasm. Determine each day how successful you are at achieving your personal goals and celebrate your successes.

3. Seek pleasure

This is a real motivation engine. For example, a saleswoman may take on the responsibility of ordering new models because she enjoys working with catalogs. Or, if she likes to communicate, she will enjoy advising buyers. Also, think about how it is more pleasant and convenient for you to do your work.

The right clothes and shoes, the right lighting, the noise level – there are many little things that we often don’t think about, but which we can change for the better.

For example, an orthopedic pillow can be useful for sedentary work, and headphones with or without music will get rid of extraneous sounds. Do not put up with the usual inconveniences if they can be avoided.

List everything that could improve your workday. Let it include both tangible items like the ones mentioned above and intangible aspects like communicating with colleagues. And gradually introduce improvements into your practice.

4. Give yourself a break

Sometimes reluctance to work is a natural consequence of being overworked. So don’t forget about rest.

This is not only about vacation, but also about small breaks of a few minutes during the day, which can be used to do a few physical exercises or just sit with your eyes closed. Walk down the hall, look out the window, pour yourself a cup of tea, water the flowers … Perhaps you can come up with your own ways of unloading.

At work, we often forget to listen to our body and do not notice how fatigue accumulates.

Also, yoga experts describe postures that are suitable for performing in the workplace. Some of them are listed in Christine Chen’s book Yoga Between Things. In a traffic jam, at work, at home ”(Sinbad, 2018).

At work, we often forget to listen to our body and do not notice how tiredness builds up. Try giving yourself one minute every hour to self-test to ask yourself the question, “How is my body feeling now?” and hear the answer.

5. Change the angle of view

If you are wondering how to make your job more enjoyable, it may be helpful to remember why you did it at all. What does it allow you to do? What is its value?

Does she leave you enough time for your hobbies, personal or family life? Or do you know that this place is the right stage in order to take the desired position in the future, which is more in line with your ambitions and preferences?

Sometimes it seems to us that we “should” and even “have to” go to work. But they didn’t force it on us, did they? We ourselves chose it for ourselves, and therefore there are good reasons for such a choice. And if the circumstances have changed and the previous reasons are no longer relevant, it makes sense to look for something that keeps you in your current job.

Motivation is a mobile energy, it depends on many factors that cannot always be accurately determined. But sometimes it is enough to know about the fluctuations of this energy so as not to worry about its declines and calmly wait for the ups.

This article used materials from the book The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, Harvard Business Review Press, 2011).

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