Keeping Motivated At Work (Part 1)
One of life’s grimmer but lesser-known realities is the fact that motivation is not a constant thing. This is particularly true in the workplace. No matter how much you enjoy your job or how interesting your tasks may be, demotivation—or the slump—is always lurking in the sidelines, waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting worker bee.
The thing with demotivation is that, it could stem from a variety of pretexts, ranging from boredom to mistrust, from a lack of challenges to good, old-fashioned burn-out. Whatever the reason, demotivation has absolutely no place in any working environment. This is because motivated workers are not only more productive and energetic, they are also happier, plus they exhibit more enthusiasm in their jobs. Furthermore, motivation is contagious, which is particularly important when working with a team. All these can be attributed to the fact that motivation is the powerful driving force that causes us to act, change and move. Suffice it to say, motivation is the very force that makes us work.
How, then, can we keep motivation in and demotivation out? Let us count the ways in this 2-part guide.
Make a list of clear, bite-sized objectives.
You’ll be surprised how well a to-do list can keep you focused and motivated. Arguably, there’s nothing more satisfying and motivating than seeing your list dwindling into nothing, item by item. However, a to-do list can be a double-edged sword, too. If you’re not careful, you may actually end up with one that will make you go running for the hills.
The key is in how the to-do list is crafted. Broad, all-encompassing items are an absolute no-no because these make tasks seem a lot more daunting than they really are. It is, therefore, a good idea to break down bigger tasks into small, manageable ones. Instead of writing down the outcome or deliverable as a whole, list the tasks and milestones involved in making it happen. Not only will you be able to monitor your progress more effectively; prioritizing is a lot easier, too.
Take a break. Or two. Or three.
As we’ve already mentioned, burnout causes demotivation. Suffice it to say, overreaching yourself does more harm than good to your productivity.
The best way to counter this is by taking regular breaks—and by “break”, we don’t mean switching windows and checking your Facebook. Get up and walk away from your computer and immediate workspace. Fix yourself a snack, run an errand, take a walk, work out—whatever tickles your fancy. Do it regularly. Do it often. However, do it only after you have completed an x amount of work within an x amount of time because taking a break every two minutes just won’t cut it, either. This technique will do wonders in helping you pace yourself.
Maintain a healthy work/life balance.
It is very easy to get demotivated and jaded with work when it is all you do. When you know that there are other things waiting for you beyond the workspace—family, friends, the sweater you’re knitting for your cat—you will find yourself significantly motivated to get tasks done at work.
It is, therefore, important to have something to look forward to at the end of the working day. You can spend quality time with your family, or meet friends for a nightcap. You can even take up a cooking course, or just indulge in some therapeutic window-shopping. The fact is there is more to life than your job. Embrace it.
In with the positive, out with the negative.
It’s not rocket science: a positive mindset keeps you motivated and productive. That is why it is essential to surround yourself with positive people, especially co-workers. If you’ve ever had that one whiny colleague, you’ll know why this is so important. Negativity is contagious, so best stay well clear of it. Ditto with inane office politics that really do nothing but breed discord.
For help. For feedback. For support. Simply because knowing that you are not alone, that other people are going through the same things that you’re going through will make you feel less alone. It will be a lot like having your own personal network of perky cheerleaders. That’s a great motivation-booster right there.
Find more ways of keeping yourself motivated at work with Part II of this guide.
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