How To Finally Feel Motivated At Work

By Ali Luke

June 24, 2009   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Do you find yourself arriving at your desk in the office, feeling anything but enthused about the day to come? Do you end up spending most of the day chatting on Facebook and Twitter, and trying to look busy if the boss walks past? Does your work sometimes seem pointless or futile?

Unless you genuinely feel that you’re in the wrong career, quitting isn’t the answer (and leaving a secure job in current market conditions isn’t a move to take lightheartedly). If your work seems to be lacking something, try looking at your own attitude and actions to rediscover your motivation. Here are some questions to think about…

  1. What Values Can Your Job Meet?
    We all have values – concepts or ideas that are, perhaps, more important to us than our own day-to-day happiness. Your top value might be your family, or it might be serving other people. It might be money, or a particular social status.

Know your values – and figure out how you can focus your work around them. For example, if you place a high value on helping other people, make it your mission at work to brighten someone’s day with every email you send; be extra helpful, courteous, and willing to go the extra mile. If your family is the thing closest to your heart, keep photos of them on your desk or computer, and focus on how you’re providing financial stability for them through your job.


  • What Opportunities Can You Say “Yes” To?
    Many people complain that their job is routine, boring and dull – but they never make an effort to step out of their usual role and take on something new. If your boss asks for volunteers for a new project, why not offer to have a go?


Some opportunities might require courage: the first time I was asked to do a presentation to a group of clients, I was terrified! But you’ll find that the braver you are about seizing these chances, the more interesting your work will become. Be proactive, too: ask to work with a different department for a short time, or to be trained up in a new area.


  • What Can You Do To Take A Proper Lunch Break?
    Office-workers have a lunch hour for a reason: no-one can concentrate well for seven or eight hours solid. Taking a proper break in the middle of the day will leave you feeling refreshed and remotivated for the afternoon ahead.


If you habitually work through lunch, you’re not doing your productivity any favors (you may find that you actually get more done in the day if you take that hour off, as you’ll be more focused in the afternoon). And don’t spend your lunch hour sitting at your desk watching YouTube clips: get out of the office for a change of scenery.


  • How Can You Build Strong Relationships With Colleagues?
    If you work full-time, you spend more hours with your colleagues than with almost anyone else in your life. Sometimes, it might feel as though you’re stuck with a bunch of people who you have little in common with – but if you take the time to get to know your colleagues, you’ll find at least a few mutual interests.


Make a point of eating lunch with other people. Invite a deskmate to join you on a walk at lunchtime. Take an interest in their life, and find out what matters to them – don’t just chat about work. Consider organizing a social event – anything from a simple drink after work to a trip to a movie.


  • Where Do You Need To Rebalance Your Life?
    Sometimes it’s not the conditions at work itself that are sapping your energy: it’s other things in your life. If you have a large number of commitments outside work, you’ll probably end up feeling frustrated and miserable because you don’t get much time to yourself.


On the flip side, if you have nothing to focus on except work, you might find that you either end up partying your weekends away (and regretting it during your hungover Monday morning) – or that your life ends up revolving around work. Why not get back into an old hobby, or use some of your free time to volunteer?

Do you start each morning feeling full of enthusiasm for your job? Or do you sometimes need to consciously motivate yourself? Share your tips and experiences in the comments.

Written on 6/24/2009 by Ali Hale. Ali is a professional writer and blogger, and a part-time postgraduate student of creative writing. If you need a hand with any sort of written project, drop her a line ([email protected]) or check out her website at Aliventures. Photo Credit: My Blue Van
Ali Luke

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