It’s sometimes hard to stay motivated at work.
And in the early months of a new year, motivation can sometimes escape you completely. Lack of daylight hours, imminent deadlines and an ever-increasing workload can make you feel stressed and overwhelmed.
Motivation can be elusive.
One of the best analogies I’ve heard is that motivation is like a burning fire. We all recognise that it’s easier to sustain a fire by adding coal than to revive one that has been extinguished. To keep this ’fire’ going, you need to recognise what truly motivates you.
So, as change begins within, here are ten ways to ignite your passion, feed your fire and regain your professional motivation.
1. Re-classify Motivation
Firstly, it helps if you don’t think of getting your motivation going as hard work.
Revaluating the situation as something positive that you choose to do is critical: viewing regaining your motivation as a conscious decision, rather than as something elusive you are chasing.
A positive mindset will make regaining your drive and stoking the fire of motivation easier to accomplish. By mastering your motivation, you will improve your personal effectiveness and deal with setbacks in a positive way.
2. Break Down Big Tasks
A colleague of mine used to refer to this method of tackling large, possibly overwhelming, tasks as ‘nibbling the elephant’.
Breaking down a large project into manageable bite-size chunks makes it easier to deal with.
Additionally, creating small goals along the way will provide a sense of achievement and keep you motivated at work.
3. Time to Plan and Reflect
It's vital to allow yourself some time out for regeneration and strategic planning.
You can do this by putting time in your calendar each day for reflection and planning. If necessary, remove yourself from your office space to encourage some blue-sky thinking and allow your creativity to flourish without interruption.
It’s also worth revisiting your to-do list.
Do the activities on it all have meaning? Do they form part of a larger picture that addresses your goals? If tasks are not inherently meaningful – consider whether you can take them off your list.
4. Master Your Role
Even at an executive level, some tasks can become routine and lead to lack of motivation.
Perhaps you need more autonomy in your current role? Or the chance to lead on a new project?
By expanding your current boundaries, learning new things or taking on new challenges, you can become more empowered and motivated.
5. Stretch Your Mind
Taking time out to read, research and grow your knowledge can spark new ideas.
Many successful business people, such as Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey, attribute reading to their success. Spending an allotted time reading each day will impact your thought processes and inspire and motivate you in all areas of life, not just work.
6. Develop Workplace Friendships
While some people are hesitant to form friendships in the workplace, studies have confirmed the value these can bring to help increase motivation.
We spend, on average, more time with work colleagues than with our own family, so it’s worth investing time in creating great friendships with like-minded colleagues to help you stay motivated.
This fact is backed up by research conducted by Gallop, which found that employees who have a work friend are seven times more likely to be engaged in their job and produce work of a higher quality.
7. Allow Yourself Time Out
No-one is motivated 24/7.
So, take time out to relax, recharge and process. It could be a walk in the outdoors, time away from your desk for a coffee and catch up, a lunchtime yoga session or simply finishing on time (at least on some days!).
Addressing work-life harmony means cstopping dealing with work emails late at night; it means taking Sundays off to spend with your friends or family.
Unplugging will make you more refreshed and consequently more motivated and productive when you are at work.
8. Change Your Routine
Do you tend to favour doing the same things over trying something different?
If so, you could be in danger of staying trapped in your comfort zone.
It’s worth remembering that Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So, maybe it’s time to shake things up, and avoid routine becoming a chore.
Have the courage to step outside your comfort zone – this can lead to a change in your outlook.
Maybe you could try taking a different route to work, or getting involved in learning a new skill?
9. Acknowledge Past Achievements
Did you initiate a robust talent pipeline for your business?
Perhaps you led on a successful project to develop a new transport planning system?
Make a note of your achievements. It’s easy when you are busy to forget how far you’ve come in your professional life; expanding your skills, successfully managing projects or learning how to overcome your fear of public speaking - whatever it is, celebrate it and acknowledge your success.
Which leads me onto a related subject…
10. Set Personal Goals
Make sure you celebrate your wins.
It’s crucial to acknowledge when you’ve done an excellent job. And never more so than when you have long-term projects.
Perhaps you are managing a lengthy project to provide a new strategy for process excellence or developing a new system for coaching line managers?
Including and celebrating milestone goals along the way will keep you focused and motivated during these long projects.
Remember, it can be extremely gratifying to recognise even minimal steps along the pathway to achieve your ultimate aspirations.
11. Stand Up Straight!
Yes, it’s true – how you hold your body really does affect how you think and feel.
In her Ted Talk on body language, Amy Cuddy, a professor at the Harvard Business School, recognises that non-verbal communication may be just as important as verbal communication.
And one of the ways that you can communicate non-verbally is with a “power pose.” Standing in a power pose for a couple of minutes before you go into a meeting really does make you feel more confident and motivated!
Additionally, not only does it make you feel more powerful, but it will also convey a sense of confidence, motivation and positivity to colleagues too.
You can find out more about Prof Cuddy’s work here.
At some point, nearly everyone loses their motivation.
It can be frustrating and difficult to regain the passion you had for your work, but finding meaning and purpose in what we do is what drives us as humans: it’s integral to our happiness.
We have natural impulses to learn new skills and take on meaningful tasks. The brain releases dopamine – a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure – when we feel motivated, purposeful and ’alive’.
Re-kindling your motivation requires you to acknowledge that lack of drive is a temporary glitch – and by following these steps, you can reignite the spark that flames your motivational fire.
If you are an executive who is thinking about a change of role, or you have an interview coming up, we can help. With many years’ experience placing executive level candidates in their ideal job role, we can help create a smooth transition.
So, if you would like to work with an experienced recruiting partner, call us on 01905 381320 or get in contact here.
About Martin Veasey Talent Solutions
At Martin Veasey, we have been working with blue-chip and SME businesses for over 35 years, both in the UK and around the world.
We are an independent consultancy company with highly qualified staff, including many degree and Masters educated consultants, with memberships of professional bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the British Psychological Society.
We have unique expertise in hiring for senior roles in Board & Senior, Supply Chain & Logistics, Purchasing & Procurement, Manufacturing & Engineering, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, Sales, Human Resources, plus many more.
If you are looking to work with a highly accomplished recruiting partner, you can call us on 01905 381320 or get in contact today.