With all of the changes in the workplace recently, you can find yourself facing a day where you just don’t feel motivated. We’ve all been there. We understand. There are bound to be times when you procrastinate too much, lack focus, or struggle to start important projects. You may react by getting down on yourself or wondering where your determination has gone. Speed, efficiency, and productivity drive results and what we are measured on, and when our energy doesn’t match our ambition, it can be frustrating.
With the current disruptions in the workplace and the changes we are still facing with remote and virtual work, and moving back into the office after the pandemic, we can all use a reminder on how to identify why we aren’t motivated and how to correct it. Here are three reasons why you’re unmotivated and what you can do to get yourself back on track.
Are you caught in the “busy” trap? Some people think being busy is a status symbol – a sign that you’re sought-after and in demand. While it may feel good to be wanted and needed, always existing in work mode and being available around the clock can lead to quick burnout. You don’t have to maintain the illusion that constantly staying busy will help you advance professionally. Actually, it can even backfire on you, earning you the title of office pushover, leading you to resent your job, boss, and coworkers. You must take yourself out of that mindset and ruthlessly prioritize and eliminate non-urgent tasks. This will allow you to invest your time and energy in the projects and tasks that are truly important. Practice saying “no” more often. If it’s not your task, don’t take it on. If you agree to take something on, do so with clear intentions. Change your language as well. Try saying “choose to” rather than “have to.” For example, “I choose to go to tonight’s networking event” rather than “I have to attend tonight’s networking event.”
Don’t rely upon willpower alone. Convincing yourself to accomplish a task out of sheer will is difficult. Often, our willpower can allude to us, and then we are stuck without the motivation to complete our tasks. Instead of relying on willpower, focus on creating habits that make your success inevitable. Often the hardest part is starting the big goal or complicated project is the hardest part. Once you dive in, it feels a whole lot less daunting. The trick is to create small habits that help with productivity and make you feel good about each step you accomplish along the way. Break projects down into very simple tasks to start. If you have to sit down and write a 1,000-word blog, start with just the first sentence. You’ll find that things start flowing when you accomplish that small task. You can also establish a morning routine to help transition to work mode to ease into your day.
You could be emotionally exhausted. Almost 70% of American workplace employees feel emotionally disconnected at the office. It can feel like you are sleepwalking through your workday. Maslow’s pyramid ranks belonging as the third most important aspect of our mental health, coming only after physical needs and safety. Feeling accepted and useful at work is essential to sustaining the drive to stick with your duties daily. To combat emotional exhaustion, make sure you deliberately structure social opportunities into your workflow. It can be as simple as attending a meeting five minutes early. Use that time to have a light conversation with your coworkers. Informal small talk is not just meaningless chitchat; it goes a long way to building stronger relationships with coworkers.
Not one of us is motivated and productive 100% of the time, but if you find yourself stuck on any of these three things more often than not, then you need to find a way to climb out of the slump and get your motivation back. Try the simple fixes or find your solution. The biggest thing is to take the time to reflect and be honest with yourself.