9 Tips to Boost Your Motivation

smile-work-picnic-whnThere are days when you will struggle to do even the easiest task. A short email can feel like an hour long torture session. These days can really test your will.

These rough days also give you a great opportunity to achieve significant personal growth at work. When you are struggling the most, you should rely on every resource you have.

I put together a list of 9 things you can do to shake off your blues and boost your motivation:

1. Make Someone Laugh

Enticing a laugh out of a friend is one of my favorite energy boosters. I’m not a comedian, but I do like to be goofy and let go of my serious side. A little silliness can make most people laugh. If you not a silly person then just strike up a light hearted conversation about family, sports, or movies. The laughs should come naturally and if they don’t, at least you got to know your co-worker a little better.

2. Drink Coffee/Tea

I’m not much of a coffee drinker; I like to drink iced or warm tea as a pick-me-up. However, when I’m at work and my energy is low there are times when I go for a cup of coffee.

Whatever your drink of choice may be, sometimes you just need an extra boost to bring that energy level up.

3. Find Purpose in Your Work

I’ve had plenty of terrible projects to work on at various jobs. One of my most dreaded was stuffing marketing bags by the 1,000s for an event. One year I had to stuff 3,000 bags with our newsletter, small flashlight, and a coupon. My neck, back and wrists were throbbing after it was all over. This tension caused a splitting headache for the drive home.

I vowed to find a mental hack so that this type of task did not feel so torturous.

I almost gave up after trying various techniques that didn’t work, but then I tried the most obvious hack of them all. I looked for the reason why I chose to stay with the work. Whether I thought about the fact that I was making my boss happy, keeping my job so I could pay my rent, and developing my internal happiness during tough situations. I realized that it kept coming back to purpose. By finding a reason to stay engaged with my work, I was able to relax and not wish that I was doing something else.

4. Picture a Positive Outcome

Your motivation may be low because you can’t envision the outcome. Or maybe you see a finished product that looks terrible.

I have a friend who loves to draw, but every time he is asked to do a drawing he hesitates. He told me that the first thing that pops in his head is a disappointed face when he hands over the drawing to his client.

My friend is an amazing artist and yet he can’t envision the value that other people see in his talents.

Next time your motivation is low, try picturing the person who receives the finished project as being so happy that s/he can’t help but give you a big bear hug.

5. Ask for Positive Feedback

Many of us are too shy to encourage a compliment out of someone. It’s a shame because even a compliment that we fish for can boost us.

So give this a try:

Don’t ask a boss or co-worker for an outright compliment, but talk about how you see yourself and ask them how they see you. 99.99% of people will start listing your strengths. If they start listing your weaknesses don’t cut them off. Just listen with an open mind and know that you can focus on the positive aspects after the conversation is over.

6. Apply an Eight Hour Habit Fix

Let’s say you procrastinate when it comes to writing certain emails. Today, just for today, you won’t procrastinate. No matter what type of email that you have to write, you will just do it.

You need to stop letting habits get in the way of accomplishing your goals. I would suggest a 30 day “habit fix” to make it permanent, but that requires a lot of work. Many of you don’t have time to focus 30 days on such a fix. So try 8 hours and see how you feel. Take one work day to focus on breaking a habit that you think is holding you back. Every time your attention slips away and you fall back into old habits, gently remind yourself to stay focused.

After your 8 hours is up, check in to see how you feel. Did you get more accomplished? Do you feel more relaxed, or are you more stressed? If it felt good then try a 30 day habit fix and see if you can’t make this positive habit a regular habit.

7. Clean Your Work Space

A clean workplace helps clear the mind. It’s hard to focus when you’re surrounded by clutter. There are more distractions to get lost in.

Try cleaning up your desk. Put away any extraneous papers, dust off your monitor, and clean up the files on your computer. Once you have a clear external area, it’s easier to deal with your internal decision making process.

8. Make a Short and Easy “To Do” List

Too many of us try to make a list that we can’t accomplish, then at the end of the day we feel depressed and unproductive. The reality is that we still got a lot done. Yes, we probably could have been 10% more efficient, but that doesn’t mean we should beat ourselves up. We need a little day dreaming to keep our creative juices flowing.

Try making a short and easy list that you know you will be able to accomplish. I know those of you who are “go getters” will try to push yourself to get more done, but try with all your might to refrain from doing this. A short and easy list makes the work seem possible

9. Reward Yourself for a Completed Task

You need to take time to feel good about the work that you do. If you are too busy rushing to the next thing then you aren’t soaking in the feelings that keep you motivated.

If you are reading this post and you got this far, I bet that you are a self motivated person. This goes double for you.

You need to thank yourself for all your hard work because it’s the only way you know you will get rewarded. You can’t always rely on someone else, so…

-        Take five minutes and look back on your good work

-        Go for a short walk (Out in nature. It’s the best place to rejuvenate yourself)

-        Buy a healthy lunch that won’t weigh you down

You know the type of rewards you like best, so make sure to give yourself the time and attention that keeps you feeling good.

What about you?

What would your #10 be? How do you keep your motivation pumping along?

* Join over 1,000 people who have already subscribed to the FREE Happy at Work 10 Week eCourse. Learn how to discover and leverage your superpowers so you can do amazing work. (Sign up is in the top left corner)

* Doing work you love doesn’t always mean you will make more money. Over at Get Rich Slowly, Bon wrote a guest post about quitting his job and joining the Peace Core.

If you enjoyed this post then you will probably like these too:

Life Without Passion is No Life at All (Great interview)

> 7 Tips to Overcome the Monday Blues

Comments

  1. Great tips Karl!!

    For me…coffee is a habit that just feels good. And in that, I do find motivation…just in holding the cup and sipping the coffee…

    And I really like the 8 hour “habit fix” idea! I’m thinking it could just lead from one day right into the next (when we see how good it worked out!).

  2. Hi Karl. It’s strange that many of us don’t know what to do with compliments. I like the list idea, in my head I always seem to have too much to do. Have a great day friend, Simon.

  3. Hi Karl

    For number #2 I will add… or a green smoothie! Greens are an excellent way to energize us in the most nutritious way, so as they add the nutrients, they also add to our mental function.

    As for my number #10, I will go with one that may be overstated but it works, go for a walk.

    When out in nature on a walk, I find moments of stillness and peace come across and one allows inspiration to flow easier, thereby increasing their motivation to get something done :)

  4. Laughter’s contagious and I like how it spreads.

    I find when I play at my work, I get more resourceful and I find the fun in it, that I might otherwise miss.

    Sometimes, the play is the form of a game, and I compete with myself to find a better, faster, simpler way to do something or to complete a task in record time.

    • Hi J.D., Games at work are very much an underutilized tool. Finding ways to engage other parts of our brains can help motivate and finish a project. I like how you said “compete with myself” that’s really what self motivation is at our cores.

  5. I too, love number 6, the 8 hour habit breaker seems doable. My number 10 would be to get a new accessory to add to a proven motivational outfit. I would don my new duds and kick some bad habits out the door.

  6. Hi Karl,

    You know what really boosts my motivation? Doing something really cool for someone else. Like retweeting an article (done!) or telling someone they did a great job. Your #5… in reverse (oh! I love that idea, btw!). I love paying compliments almost as much as I love receiving them.

    Sometimes it’s having an opportunity to mentor another person.

    And, I just love your idea of rewarding yourself for a completed task. Brilliant! Do we ever take the time to do something like this for ourselves? I’ll remember it now.

    I enjoyed your post very much. I look forward to reading more from you. Glad I found my way here!

    Theresa

    • Hi Theresa, Thanks for retweeting this article. You are awesome. There are many ways to boost our motivation if we encourage people to help us. Yes, a spontaneous compliment is always the best, but an encouraged compliment is better than none. Also you are showing people how you like to be treated. They learn what you like and are more willing to do it when you aren’t expecting it.

  7. Hi Karl, motivation is key to our success. For me, lately, it has been serious cardio – cycling every day in indoor spinning studio (30-day wellness challenge), making tea (loose leaf tea which you brew and wait for, there is a calmness about brewing tea) and of course music! :)

  8. Motivation is oftentimes elusive especially if we are getting bored with our task. What keeps my motivation up is to appreciate my daily blessings in life. This gives me the awareness of the gift of opportunity to do what I have to do at the moment. :-)

    • Hi Walter, I recently interviewed someone for a project who prayed before each major task. She found it calmed her. I’m going to try incorporating this into my daily spiritual practice. I can see how it would help me appreciate my blessings instead of letting negativity creep in. Thanks Walter!

  9. Cleaning my work space and getting outside are my two favorites when I need inspiration and motivation. Taking a break, though it sounds counter intuitive is the best medicine for me. Great list!

  10. These are great tips! Making a short to do list is so important for me. Sometimes I even make a morning to do list and afternoon to do list at work so I feel like I am getting things done.

    What helps me boost my motivation is to go for a short run when I get home from work. The run helps me focus on the homework that I have to get done in the evening :(

    I am so glad that I found your blog through the 31 day blog challenge!!

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