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How to find motivation in the workplace

How to Find Motivation at Work and Stay Positive: 7 Useful Tips

We’ve all been there. You’re certain your “to-do” list will never be a “done” list even as you battle the staggering sense that your get-up-and-go just got up and went. Surely there’s some ad for a miracle cure to treat that listless, bored, tired feeling you get every day you drag yourself to the office. The sad truth is that most people who are unmotivated at work are also unhappy. A recent study showed that 61% of workers would choose happiness at work over salary. What’s more, motivated engaged workers increase a company’s bottom line –– those with an abundance of engaged workers reported a 21% higher profitability


Unfortunately, those employees are few and far between. According to one Gallup survey, “the percentage of engaged employees ––those who are highly involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace –– has dropped back to just slightly above the pre-COVID-19 rate of 35%, to 36%.” There’s no easy fix but there is a solution. So if you’re having a hard time tackling a project, try some of these tips on how to find motivation at work.

Read a Book


Yes, this is counterintuitive. Except our lives can seem like endless screens. We work on a computer, laptop, or tablet. We communicate on a phone and if we commute, view the world through the screen of a windshield. To unwind, we binge shows on yet another screen. So carve out thirty minutes in the morning to read an actual, printed book. It doesn’t have to be something career-orientated –– a diverting novel may be ideal. 


As MMA fighter Curtis Blackmore puts it, “Develop a belief that reading is the quickest way to success.. The most successful people in the world attribute their success to reading a lot of books (Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Elon Musk).” Trust me, taking the time to read a book is a much better prep for the day than looking at the news.

Take Care of Your Body


Lack of motivation is often a lack of energy. That may be connected to your diet and exercise habits. Instead of restricting unhealthy foods, make a point of adding some fruits and vegetables to your plate. No matter how busy you are, taking the time to exercise is vital. Yoga is amazingly restorative. Running is a proven energy booster. No matter what you choose, getting active is a great way to leave the office at home.

Keep Your Goals Bite-sized


One writer pointed out that although donut holes are small, those sugary treats are easy to eat! Goals can be like that. Instead of an enormous objective, break your goals into bite-sized portions. If you wonder how to find motivation at work, regularly checking things off your to-do list is a good answer. You can also carve out the parts of your job that you do like and make sure to put them on your to-do list. Checking off items that you already enjoy is definitely a win-win.

Say No


There are lots of reasons to say “yes,” and I’m not encouraging you to step back from opportunity. Yet nothing is more enervating than a massive pile of projects that grows ever more unwieldy every time you agree to a new task. It’s like you just filled your belly at an all-you-can-eat buffet and someone offered you a piece of cake. Even if you love cake, you don’t really want it. Saying “no” has proven physical and psychological benefits

Shift the Spotlight


Remember when people aimed their cameras at the world? As much as you might love selfies, one great way to rediscover motivation at work is to shift the focus. Celebrate a co-worker, tweet about an achievement you admire, help a colleague. By stepping back and offering your assistance you’ll not only get your mind off of your problems you may also find a new wellspring of motivation. When you have a positive interaction with someone you work with, you’ll be more motivated and productive. 

Pare Down Your Chore List


Obviously there are unpleasant tasks at work that are part of your job. Generally, I recommend you do them first –– letting them linger over your head is not how to find motivation at work. However, you likely have a different to-do list, one that’s filled with personal obligations. Examine these and see how many really matter, how many you really want to do. Jettisoning unpleasant, unnecessary chores is an awesome way to retain some energy for things that are more fulfilling and important.

Give Yourself a Break


Numerous religions advocate for a day of rest. I’m not championing a particular faith, but there’s a great deal of merit in disconnecting for the day. Don’t look at your emails. Don’t worry about bills. Carve out time for friends and family. Take time to do something spiritual whether it’s at temple, church, or meditating at the beach. And use your vacation time –– in 2018 a record 768 million U.S. vacation days went to waste! No one is going to be motivated 24/7. By stepping back you’ll hopefully rediscover your love for your work and passion for your career.


However, if you’ve tried these steps and remain unmotivated, it might not be you. It might be the job. At that point, you may want to explore your options and start looking for something that makes getting out of bed worthwhile. 


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