Whether we are in our dream job or just ploughing through a 9-to-5, sometimes we just get plain unmotivated. “This may reflect a flat line in a career due to a lack of new learning opportunities, a lack of developing new skills or a lack of a challenge. A lack of motivation sets in when there is a misalignment between their personal values and those displayed in the wider organization. When we are at odds with the organizational culture, it is difficult to maintain high levels of motivation,” explains business coach Maxine Attong, author of Lead Your Team To Win.
There is always a reason for your lack of motivation. “We can feel unmotivated if we feel overwhelmed by the amount of work we have to do or if we hold a job in which there is little instant gratification. To get re-motivated, create smaller, tangible and manageable goals. Feeling as if progress is being made can re-spark motivation,” points out Kimber Shelton, a Dallas-based licensed psychologist.
If you are felling off-kilter in your job, you are not alone. “I was a certified accountant working in the lucrative gas and oil sector when I literally woke up one morning and realized that I did not want to be where I was. It was a combination of not seeing a future in the organization, and being bored in the role that I had,” says Attong. “After much soul searching, I got myself out of that career path and into what I now love.”
1) Look on the positive side and get excited about the lack of motivation. “This is a signal that you are over this part of your career, your job or the organization and that you want something more or different. The enthusiasm will generate energy that will stave off the depression that often follows this realization. Use an honest affirmation to generate energy when you feel that you are in a rut. ‘I have outgrown this job. It’s time for something new and exciting,'” Attong says.
2) Get motivated. “Get a large goal that requires a challenge. This could mean working towards a promotion, obtaining increased training, or moving into another position. Having something to work towards can help increase motivation,” says Shelton.
3) What do you want to do? Answer this question to determine your vision or purpose. Also, how do you want to live each day?
4) Don’t discount your current position. Use it to fulfill your vision. “The money that I made on the job no longer paid for the certification that I needed to change careers. Focusing on the future gave me a reason to show up for work. Maybe you want to play the tuba; use your current position to afford the lessons. Work then becomes a trade-off for you to get what you want,” notes Attong.
5) Reflect. Take time off to think. “If you can afford it, retreat from the current situation. If this is not an option, carve out some of your down time to examine what is happening with you. There may be other things going on – personal or professionally – that are turning you away from the job,” says Attong.
6) Switch it up. “Change your surroundings or routine. Rearrange or update your office. Move items around in your cubicle. Take a different route to work. Come into work earlier (or later). Predictability requires little brain power. Changing your environment forces your brain to re-set to a new system, thus can induce a shift in mental energy and motivation,” says Shelton.
7) Skip the advice from others. “People can give great advice, but at the end of the day, only you know yourself. Trust yourself and listen to yourself. A coach or a mentor is wonderful in these times since they do not tell you what to do. They ask powerful questions to help you unearth the answers that are locked deep within,” notes Attong.
8) Socialize. “Create or join social opportunities at your job. Feeling connected and supported at work provides increased job satisfaction. If clubs or organizations already exist join one. If they do not, create your own,” suggests Shelton.