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Staying motivated at work can be a challenge

by Mark Miller June 06, 2016

Staying motivated at work can be a challenge

This architect’s job may be more interesting than some people’s work, but experts advise that there are several ways of staying motivated that almost anyone can do. ( Wikimedia Commons photo by Kjersti Lie)

Staying motivated at work can be a challenge, especially if you have a job that isn’t very interesting or that is downright boring. That said, it’s not necessarily the job one has to do but attitude that drives motivation.

Being motivated makes it easier to get work done, so there is a benefit to it. The root word for motivatecomes from the verb to move, and it means to move to action or impel. It’s not certain that one can feel impelled to do mundane tasks, but simply getting the boring stuff out of the way can be a big inspiration to motivation.

Attitude adjustment

“Work discouragement often doesn’t come from the jobs we do, but how we approach them,” says an article on CheatSheet.com. “According to Forbes, you need to approach work with positivity, efficiency, and drive to achieve success.”

The primary tip in that Forbes article is to Make a Genuine Commitment to Personal Excellence.The author, Siimon Reynolds writes “that by simply making the decision to do everything as well as you can (in the time available), you not only get better results but your self-respect, self image and personal motivation skyrocket.”

See value in your work

One thing many of articles on work motivation have in common is to advise people to see value in their work, for themselves, for the company or organization, for society in general. If you have an opportunity to help someone in a job, whether a co-worker or a member of the public, take it for the sake of spreading goodwill and for seeing value in your own work.

Staying motivated

Lifehack.org, in an article titled How to Stay Motivated If You Don’t Really Like Your Job, says the first thing you should do is figure out the reason you lack motivation.

It may be something you can’t remedy, such as thinking you’re not getting paid enough for the job you’re required to do. Or it could be that your boss is demanding and unappreciative or even worse, a downright monster. If that’s the case, look at your work as valuable life experience and find something positive from it to put on your resume until you can find a new job where you’re more satisfied.

“When all other strategies fail, don’t be afraid to investigate new career paths and see if a different one might hold the key to helping you find the motivation you seek,” says an article on Business 2 Community.

Be nice

Being pleasant to people you work with and customers likely will be returned to you in kind, which makes the workplace a much better environment. If there are people at your job whom you don’t get along with, withhold the snide remarks and act cordially to make working more pleasant. If you avoid conflict, you can more easily remain motivated and can get more work done.

News.com.au says career experts say becoming friends with co-workers is one of the best ways to stay motivated on the job.

Regular breaks

Several of the articles advise taking regular breaks at work—10 minutes of break time for every 50 minutes of intense work. Not every boss would see that as desirable, and in many jobs it’s just not possible to take that much break time. Factory workers and other blue-collar jobs come to mind.

Another way to stay motivated is to tackle the big or unpleasant tasks first. It can be a drag on the mind to put off the biggest tasks until the end. You might end up dreading the entire time you wait to do them, which is a big motivation killer. Once you finish those big tasks, it’s a weight off your mind, you feel less stress and you can coast more easily until the end of the project or work week.

Set goals

That Cheat Sheet article advises workers to set goals for themselves as a spur to action. The author advises setting the goal of improving job performance and productivity. “Set goals on how to grow in your job, be it a promotion, bonus, raise, or generally increasing the efficiency of your workload. By setting goals, each day you will be working toward something that keeps you moving forward,” the article states.

Also, it helps having a daily to-do list that you actually write down. Longer-term goals are important, too, says News.com.au:

Although setting short-term goals is important, setting longer-term goals and milestones is much more important in regards to staying motivated at work. Having something to work towards makes working worthwhile. Find your career path. Decide what your dream job at your dream organisation looks like and work every day like it will bring you one step closer to having that dream come to fruition. Also be sure to create smaller goals to measure your success along the way.

Be healthy

A couple of articles advise working out or exercising before you go into work for your shift. The boost in energy stays with you all day and has the added benefit of speeding your metabolism as you work. This might not play well with people who cherish their sleep in the mornings.

Feeling well physically can also help you to keep up your motivation on the job. If you don’t feel well you might not feel as ready to get the job done. Exercising, eating right, avoiding tobacco, copious amounts of alcohol or illicit substances can keep you healthy and feeling like you’re ready to tackle your job every day.

Finally, many authors advise people to have fun outside work, whether with friends, a significant other, hobbies or recreation. “If you’re having fun when you’re not at work, you’re more likely to be happy when you are at work,” says News.com.au.

When you’re happy at work, staying motivated follows.

Mark Miller
Mark Miller


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