No matter what business you’re in, we all need to be motivated to get things done. Guest blogger Heather Foley offers seven tips for keeping on-task.
We all have those days. No matter how much you enjoy your job, no matter how engaged you normally are, no matter how rewarding a good day’s work usually is, we all occasionally feel that we’d much rather not be working. You may have that feeling more than you’d care to disclose. If you do, you either need to apply for a different job, or take some practical steps to keep yourself motivated.
So what should you do when you’re struggling to make any progress?
1. What’s in it for you?
You have to start here. Sometimes, this step alone is all that’s needed to kick-start your usual, motivated self. So, invest a few minutes in reminding yourselfwhy you’re at work, what work gives you, what you enjoy about the job, and what it would be like to be without it. It’s amazing how powerful it is to have a clear perspective on the important things!
2. Commit to others
This is a well-known tactic: commit what you intend to achieve to other people. This way, you will feel motivated to complete what you need to so as not to disappoint your colleagues. Any time you feel like slacking off, that awful thought of telling your colleagues you have failed will motivate you to stay positive.
3. Break it down
If something feels like it’s going to be a slog, break it down into short, manageable sections. That way, you will experience the success of achieving things several times a day.
4. Give yourself rewards
Perhaps it’s a fresh cup of tea? Or maybe a quick call home to ask your kids about their day? Whatever it is, it should put a smile on your face for a few moments. Keep yourself motivated with the promise of rewards.
Editor’s note: Be careful with these techniques. While they may work for you personally, you can’t translate them into a management practice. Rewards don’t always motivate others, so you can’t take what helps you be motivated to and apply it to your colleagues.
5. Do the worst thing first
When you have an immense amount of work to do, and you worry about completing it all, you need to prioritise and do the most urgent and important tasks first. However, when you have plenty of time, and the problem is motivation, make sure you complete the tasks you least like first as this is the time of your strongest resolve.
6. Get some fresh air
If you start to feel low on energy or resolve at any point, sometimes the best thing to do is to get out and enjoy some fresh air. A brisk five-minute walk outside can do wonders for energy levels and can give your motivation a valuable boost.
7. Visualize the end
As the day ends, and your resolve wanes, pause for a moment and visualize two endings. In the first, you decide to slack off and leave things undone. You would need to inform your colleagues that you won’t, after all, be giving them what you committed to. You’ll go home feeling pretty down and you’ll possibly have to gear yourself up tomorrow to complete today’s tasks.
The alternative ending is that you complete everything. You can give your colleagues exactly what you promised and you’ll return home with the satisfaction of a great day’s work done, despite how it started.
Keeping yourself motivated isn’t easy. It takes real effort and a determination that you might have to acquire, but it’s vital. Motivational speaker, Les Brown, agreed, when he said “life takes on meaning when you become motivated, set goals and charge after them in an unstoppable manner”. Now, get yourself motivated with that thought in mind!
Heather Foley is a consultant at etsplc.com, a a leading HR consultancy. ETS takes a bespoke approach to every project to ensure that all clients get their ideal survey solution.