Not feeling motivated at work? Try these three strategies.

Not feeling motivated at work? Try these three strategies.

Aug 23, 2023

We've all been there: It's a Monday morning, the aroma of fresh coffee fills the air, you settle into your workspace, and suddenly a wave of lethargy hits. That "blah" feeling takes over. The cursor blinks at you, almost in rhythm with your dwindling motivation. What do you do when the drive to dive into work just isn't there?

If you've been grappling with waning motivation at work, you're not alone. In my coaching sessions with the incredible women on the RISE Accelerate Program, I've found that this is a sentiment that comes up for lots of women from time to time, particularly in the second half of the year when we tend to have more going on. So today, I’m sharing three simple strategies that have proven effective for many in the RISE community and will help get you on your way to reviving that spark.

But first, let's address the root cause and explore the reasons why your motivation might have taken a backseat.

The Burnout Burden

You know that feeling when you're on the last mile of a marathon, but it just doesn't seem to end? That's burnout for you. It's more than just being tired—it's an emotional and mental fatigue that creeps up when we're constantly running on high. When life's uncertainties throw a wrench in our plans, burnout isn't far behind, showing up as that nagging feeling of detachment and weariness, and yes, our performance takes the hit too. This isn't just a fleeting moment of tiredness; it's our mind's SOS signal. It’s telling us something isn’t right, and if we don't pay heed, it's not just our work that suffers, but our wellbeing too.

Navigating Toxic Terrain

A toxic work environment is enough to make anyone lose their spark! It's not just about handling office politics or navigating opaque leadership decisions—it’s the daily grind of enduring an environment that feels more like quicksand than solid ground. When every day becomes a test of endurance rather than an opportunity, it's not just motivation that dwindles, but our spirit too. Remember: you’re not here just to get through each work day; you deserve to truly enjoy your career. If your work environment is doing you more harm than good, it might be time to start thinking about your next role, somewhere more supportive.

You’re Yearning for Autonomy

Imagine having to dance but only to someone else's tune, every single day. That's what a lack of autonomy feels like for many out there. Being boxed into repetitive patterns without the space to innovate or be ourselves can quench even the most fiery enthusiasm. Sure, most roles have rules and guidelines, but real growth happens when there's room to breathe, to be ourselves. A thriving work culture is one that celebrates not just the job we do, but who we are. If you’re being overly micromanaged, it’s not a surprise that your motivation might be taking a backseat.

Understanding these underlying issues is essential so you can start moving towards a change for the better. Are you just burnt out and in need of a break, or is the problem something deeper?

With clarity on the root cause, we can now actively address the symptoms. So, let's move on from diagnosis to remedy, and delve into the three simple strategies that can rekindle your workplace motivation:

1. Revamp Your Workspace

Believe it or not, our environment plays a pivotal role in shaping our mindset. A cluttered desk can symbolise a cluttered mind. To breathe life back into your work, start by tidying up your workspace. Infuse it with elements that radiate positivity and vigour.

For instance, during my work-from-home days, I've found that something as simple as a bouquet of fresh flowers on my desk acts as an instant mood-lifter. Just the sheer presence of these vibrant blooms, their colours and fragrance, instill a sense of freshness and zeal.

So, the first tip: Enhance your workspace to make it a place you genuinely love spending time in. It might seem small, but these subtle changes can profoundly affect your motivation levels.

2. Embrace the Power of Micro-Goals

While grand ambitions are great, they can sometimes be daunting. On days when your motivation is at its nadir, think smaller. The idea is to break your tasks into manageable, bite-sized goals. Achieving these 'micro-goals' can create a domino effect, propelling you towards larger objectives.

Dr. Edwin Locke and Dr. Gary Latham, pioneers of the renowned "Goal Setting Theory", emphasise the importance of setting specific and challenging goals. One key concept from their research is the idea that clarity in goals leads to higher motivation and better performance outcomes. Instead of setting vague goals like "do better," they recommend setting precise objectives, which micro-goals inherently offer. By pinpointing exactly what needs to be accomplished in the short term, you set yourself up for "small wins." These incremental achievements build momentum, making the broader objective feel more attainable and less daunting. Remember, there's power in these small victories; they not only guide our immediate actions but also sustain our drive in the long run.

Remember, small wins can be transformative. They provide that much-needed momentum, driving you to achieve more. So, when preparing the enormous annual business review seems too ambitious for a dreary Monday, focus on the tasks you know you can ace. Gradually, these mini victories will boost your confidence and motivation.

3. Connect with People Who Inspire You

Human connections can be incredibly invigorating. My final tip is to reach out and connect with someone who professionally inspires you. This could be a past supervisor, a trusted mentor, a valued peer, or anyone whose work ethic and perspective you admire.

Engaging with people who are not only brilliant but also see the value in you can be a significant morale booster. The fresh insights, the shared camaraderie, the mutual respect - these interactions often provide the shot of inspiration we need to get back on track. After all, surrounding ourselves with inspiring individuals often lights up the path to our inspiration.

In summary, motivation might be elusive, but it's not unattainable. With these three actionable tips, and with the support systems like the RISE Accelerate Program, you have the tools to rejuvenate your professional drive. So the next time you find yourself stuck in a motivation rut, take the reins and steer yourself back to a path lined with enthusiasm and ambition.

I'd love to hear how these tips work for you! For the women I've had the pleasure of coaching in my RISE Programs, sharing experiences and insights has been a wonderful source of mutual growth. So, I’d love for you to try these tips out and share your experiences - be sure to jump on our socials and join our community of women who, just like you, are working for brilliant careers.


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