4 things you can do when your motivation goes missing.
Help, I can’t find my motivation, it’s missing!
Very few of us have the ability to maintain constant focus and energy on one single thing for a prolonged period of time. This is particularly the case when it comes to your work life. The energy you have for work, like most major facets of your life will ebb and flow. So what happens when you find yourself ebbing? What can you do when your motivation goes missing?
Not all of us are blessed to be working for great companies, doing exactly what we want, at exactly the right level. And, even if we are, that is no guarantee of unlimited workplace motivation. Or, maybe you have been in a role for a little while now, and it is all a bit tired. Whatever the case, it is entirely normal to have periods where your get up and go suddenly becomes lethargy. Perhaps you have something happening in your personal life, your health is not great or simply that you have too much on. Here is what I suggest you try when your motivation goes missing.
4 things you can do when your motivation goes missing
Have a plan
I know, I know – I think that having a plan is the answer to everything. Planning is mentioned in almost everything I write. See here, here or here. But when you lose your motivation it is really hard to get back on track if you haven’t got a path to begin with. In my case, at work, I always keep a list of priorities. I never get them all finished, and sometimes go weeks without referring to them. However, my priorities are right there when I need to re-focus my energy and get going. It doesn’t necessarily fix my motivation issue, but it does give me a path to jump back on. The same goes for job hunting, going to the gym or saving money for something. A plan will allow you to see what you should be doing, and give you a starting point to focus on.
Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed with the perceived enormity of whatever the task is in front of me. I am currently in the middle of fixing a process that is fundamentally broken in my organisation. Problem is, it is heavily entrenched both culturally and procedurally at my work. The totality of getting this particular project done is, in my mind, massive. After a couple of false starts my motivation went missing. So, I decided to get things done in half measures. I stopped focusing on the whole project and broke it down to little pieces. Then worked to achieve halfway outcomes. This has the effect of allowing me to achieve something and progress the project. While I would like to complete it tomorrow the reality of the situation is that it will be slow going. I am teaching myself to be satisfied with small progression rather than wholesale change. As a passionate supporter of animal rights, I am not a fan of eating any elephants one bite at a time. However, I am a believer in the concept. There are a couple of good articles on this topic, here and here, if you are interested.
Tell someone that your motivation is misisng
It is amazing how reluctant most of us are to tell someone else that we are in struggle street (motivationally speaking), particularly in a work setting. Find a colleague, tell them you are having a hard time with motivation. Chances are they will have an idea or two that might help you get back on the horse. If you have a strong relationship with your manager, you can speak with them. Get them to set you a couple of clear deadlines, or maybe they can help you focus on what should be your priorities. Telling someone you have lost your mojo is the first step to getting a little help. That might be all you need.
Shake it off
Thank you Ms Swift. I am not the first person, nor will I be the last to actually dance around to that song (or sing it loudly in the car). You are never going to change something if you keep doing everything the same. Shake it off, make a subtle change, do something different. What is in your control? Can you start work earlier and finish earlier? Can you change where your desk is, move your office furniture around? Lunch outside? Schedule meetings differently? Have a walking meeting? When your motivation goes missing you need to do something different. It need not be dramatic. Small changes can see big results. Shake it off.
Next time you suffer from missing motivation, try one (or all) of the above tips. See if you can find your motivation when it has gone missing.