Of course the obvious thing is to look elsewhere, at pastures new. But if that’s not an option you may want to consider other ways of re-invigorating yourself and getting your work groove back, so that when you are ready to move it’s for the right reasons.
Here are a few simple tips for making motivation your new personal project:
Have an end goal
We all need to focus on why we’re putting in the hard yards. Figuring out what you’re getting out of the work you’re doing can change your perspective and give you a real boost. Instead of seeing your output as an endless treadmill, think of it as a defined deliverable that you own and which earns you something back. If you know it could earn you a promotion or a bonus that’s fantastic but maybe it’s something that’ll make your CV stand out or will lead to new learning opportunities. The point is to set a target for yourself that’s an achievement, that way you’ll avoid feeling trapped and gain a level of control over what you’re doing which in turn can help you decide what you want to do next and how you are going to get there.
Focus on the destination, not the journey
When you’re looking forward to a holiday you think about the beach, the skiing or the relaxation. You don’t think about the packing, the wait in the airport or getting through customs. It’s the same with work. Don’t focus on the difficulties that might lie ahead, think about the sense of satisfaction and sense of achievement you’ll feel once you’ve reached your goal.
Accepting that things are going to be tricky is just plain sensible, letting those challenges overwhelm what you’re trying to achieve is another thing entirely. And if things are getting difficult don’t be afraid to ask for help, after all you couldn’t get to that beach without a pilot, so make sure you’ve got the right people to help you do your best.
Develop productive habits
Habits are helpful because we do them without thinking. They don’t take much motivation once they are part of our routine. So lay down some productive habits to help you along the way. Whether it’s good time keeping, multitasking, getting regular on-the-job training or building good relations with stakeholders develop habits that allow you to keep your precious motivation for the bigger picture. Ask around and see what others are doing, especially those you see as focused and successful within the organisation.
Get with the busy crowd
Nothing is as motivational as being around motivated people. If your working environment is lacking energy and drive, can you ask to work with more dynamic team members or move desks? Seeing how other people push themselves can serve as a powerful incentive. Talk to your manager about projects that you could get involved in. Enthusiasm is likely to be well received.
Take small steps
Like anything difficult, break it down into manageable steps. Commit to working hard for a day, then a week. Notice how much more energy you have when you are engaged and energised and hold on to it. Then push yourself to do it again.
Just because you’re not getting a raise at work doesn’t mean you can’t run your own incentive program. Give yourself rewards when you stick to your plan – whether that’s a bottle of wine, a book or a weekend away - whatever you fancy and can afford. This will help reinforce the feeling that although it may be tough going at times, in the long run, it’s worth it.