“Starting is easy, persistence is an art.”
Do you remember when you first started working in a new job?
You wake up early each day excited to get to work, looking forward to learning new things and facing new challenges. You are even willing to work long hours and on weekends because you are hooked on that sense of accomplishment and the drive for productivity.
Personally, this is one of my favourite feelings. I love entering the flow, being completely engrossed in work, ticking off all the tasks on my checklist and gaining achievement at the end of each project.
However, let’s face it. We are all human. As time goes by, it can be tiring. It can get demotivating when you are trying hard, but you cannot seem to meet your boss’ or even your expectations. You may feel stuck in a rut without a sense of direction on what else you can do. You may also feel that you are getting a little frustrated at your daily tasks, and you find yourself complaining a lot about work and dreading Mondays.
Before you beat yourself up for losing motivation, do not feel too bad. Everyone goes through these fluctuations of motivation in their work, even if they are doing what they love or working in a company they always dreamed about.
But if you want to get back into the same feeling you had about your work and stop feeling demotivated and uninspired, here is what you can do.
1. Start with Why
As one of the most inspiring TED talks speaker/author’s ideology, starting with Why is a good way to keep you in check. When you are losing motivation in your work that you once love, chances are it’s because you are forgetting the reason you are doing what you do. Going back to the core reason as to why you are doing it helps you get back on track.
Even if your reason is passion towards your job or external motivation like the money, reminding yourself as to why you need to be working hard can help you find your motivation again. By understanding the carrot in front of the donkey, you will have a better sense of direction and be willing to strive in your work to fulfil the reason you started it in the first place.
2. Focus on bite-sized tasks.
When work comes pouring in, you may be losing your motivation because you are drowning in never ending projects that can be very intimidating. Just like how when you realise you have way too much to do, you tend to choose the easy way out by taking a nap, or worse, quitting altogether.
If you want to feel that drive and motivation again, what can be helpful is by breaking down those daunting tasks into bite-sized ones. Write down a very detailed list of things you need to do and focus on striking them off one at a time.
Sometimes all those fancy, fluffy inspiration you are trying to find cannot seem to pick you up just because you are overwhelmed by the amount of work you need to do. By breaking your workload into smaller tasks, you get to keep your focus on getting things done accordingly, and this will make you feel more sense of control, and of course, you will feel more productive.
When you can finish those tasks slowly, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and It will translate into an energy of motivation for you to continue throughout the projects and get back on track.
3. Be aware of small accomplishments and reward yourself.
Another reason why people feel demotivated in work is that they feel unaccomplished. Be it because what you do does not give you tangible results or perhaps you have an overdemanding boss who never, ever seems to be completely satisfied with your work, it can make you feel dejected.
A good way you can combat this is by noticing small accomplishments instead of only the big ones. Write down the things you accomplished at the end of the day or week. Be it little things such as getting to work earlier than you usually do, finishing a report before the deadline, contributing your ideas to improve your company systems, basically anything.
You are working for so many hours per day; I am sure you can find something that you managed to accomplish, no matter how small it is. Write it down and reward yourself with a good meal or treat yourself to a good movie at the end of the day. This way, you will feel a sense of achievement and gratification, without the need of seeking it from others.
4. Reflection and make necessary changes.
As cheesy as it sounds, reflecting on your work is important. If you have been feeling stuck and demotivated at work for an extended period, it ‘s nice to sit down and list down the things that have been bothering you.
One suggestion you can gain some clarity is by listing down all the things you used to enjoy about your job, and what are the things that are frustrating for you. Then you can see what are the possible changes you can make that will enjoy your work better.
A good tip is to focus on the good parts, and strategize ways in which you can add those elements in your job, and what are the ways you can reduce or even eliminate the things you dislike about your work. If you love meeting people on your job, look at ways to schedule at least one client meeting each day. Of you dislike getting stuck in the jam after work, try finding alternate routes or getting to a nearby coffee place to chill until the peak traffic period is over.
Just some final words before I end the post:
Work always have ups and downs. No one can feel happy every single moment at work, not even those who are working in their ultimate dream job. So don’t be too hard on yourself.
If you feel demotivated and uninspired, it is going to help you learn how to do things better, and push yourself to make the necessary improvements in your work. Don’t lose your core reason you are doing the job you do, focus on getting things done step by step, reward yourself even for small accomplishments, and always reflect on how you can make slight tweaks so you can enjoy your work better.
You are doing just fine. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I wish you all the best in your journey in doing great work that will make the world a better place.
Do share this post with someone you feel is in need of a pick-me-up in terms of their work, or even to anyone who is feeling a loss of motivation. Let us cheer each other on!