Learn How to Stay Motivated At Work, Even When It's Hard
Finding motivation at work can sometimes be difficult, especially if you’re experiencing burnout from prolonged stress. A happy worker is an effective worker. Whether your company endorses a people-oriented culture or you’re left to your own devices it’s important to find balance and purpose in your work to maintain steady motivation.
In this article we'll offer tips for how to stay motivated at work, and discuss several ways to promote your workplace well-being and motivation.
Ask for Feedback
Getting feedback from your superior or colleagues can often be daunting. Who wants to hear about how they’ve failed or what their boss is displeased with? Nobody! Hear me out though, constructive feedback along with positive reinforcement goes a long way to building motivation.
Requesting feedback, whether formally or informally, creates an avenue to get acknowledgement for a job well done. This is incredibly important for employee morale and knowing that they have made a positive impact increases motivation to continue doing well. It also opens up an avenue for criticism, which can often be hard to hear but also creates an opportunity for goal setting and more praise upon reaching those goals.
Nobody is perfect and we can always improve - even if it’s by 1% as the Kaizen theory of continuous improvement promotes. Performance motivation can be incredibly empowering because it gives you a chance to learn, grow, and succeed.
Find Your Passion
Not everyone has a job that they are passionate about, but finding a project or aspect of your job that resonates with you can go a long way to helping you feel motivated. Take opportunities to work on projects that you are passionate about or put your favourite skills to good use. Make suggestions and share ideas for ways that you could integrate your passions and strengths into your work.
Having a positive impact on others is a great source of passion for most. Going above and beyond for a client or helping a colleague succeed are not role-specific but something that can make you feel passionate about the work that you do.
If all else fails and you truly can’t find something you are passionate about at work, focus on what passions your work enables you to pursue. Perhaps your work allows you to fund an important hobby, get home to the kids in time or go to all of their sporting events, or has an excellent personal development policy that allows you to pursue knowledge.
Set Reasonable Goals
Setting attainable goals or smaller bite-sized milestones towards an ultimate goal help provide a sense of purpose. Well-established and detailed goals also help to set clear expectations in a given role or for a particular task. Meeting those milestones and goals can increase self-confidence and motivation. Even small personal goals in the form of a daily checklist can be incredibly satisfying to complete.
On a larger scale, common goals in a workplace help to foster teamwork and collegiality. Reaching those larger goals and making progress with your team often validates that all of your effort, blood, sweat, and tears were worth it. Progress also isn’t a means to an end, but rather just the next step forward that can spur on the next exciting goal or project.
Seek Mentorship at Work
Finding a coach or mentor can provide a unique form of inspiration. Guidance can be valuable from someone whose position you would like to be in someday, someone whose work ethic you admire, or someone you otherwise look up to.
A mentor or coach can spur you on to ask for that promotion or take that scary step to advance your career. It is also a great person to bounce your ambitious ideas off of. Experience imparts a lot of wisdom, so ideally a mentor or coach should have more years of experience than you do in order to properly advise you.
Providing mentorship to help a new colleague grow and feel empowered. Seeing your work through a new set of eyes can be a refreshing perspective and a good reminder about why you are in a specific role or industry.
Personal Development Can Help with Motivation
Finding personal development opportunities to learn and grow are an important aspect of workplace motivation. Now more than ever we are facing an intense pace of change. Someone who started in a job ten years ago may not have the most current know-how anymore and feeling “out of the loop” can be discouraging. Courses, conferences, workshops, and more can increase confidence and even provide renewed excitement about a job.
If there aren’t personal development opportunities supported through your workplace, then there are also options available to you through literature, online courses, local community centres, local colleges or universities, and more.
Seek Out Camaraderie in the Workplace
Humans are social creatures by nature. Even the most introverted of us like some form of companionship or connection to other beings. This proves true in the workplace too. Feeling isolated or lonely at work can make it hard to want to go in every day. Or if self-employed working from home it can be even harder to stick to a routine and get stuff done when you don’t have to worry about anyone seeing that you’re still in your pyjamas.
Positive interactions with others have a profound impact on happiness. If there aren’t already opportunities to socialize with other employees, then consider spearheading a social event yourself. Team building can also come in the form of workshops, retreats, and regularly scheduled team meetings.
The Importance of Workplace Wellness
Burnout can tank motivation faster than anything. It’s important to recognize the signs of burnout and take measures to avoid getting to that point. This can include:
Burnout has far-reaching consequences including insomnia, depressive episodes, and physical ailments. The occupational consequences are even further reaching: absenteeism, job dissatisfaction, added strain on disability or other health benefits, detachment, and a constant feeling that job demands far exceed job resources. It’s easy to see why burnout can make it nearly impossible to stay motivated.
Whether in the throes of burnout or just flirting with some of the feelings of burnout, it’s important to take appropriate steps in treatment and prevention. A lot of the things discussed above also help to manage burnout and increase workplace well-being:
It’s easy to fall into a rut with work and feel your motivation flagging. It’s important to recognize your own needs, take time for self-care, and always look for ways to improve. Get clear on your purpose, your tasks, and expectations so that you can exceed them.