7 Steps to Staying Motivated at Work

Group of coworkers staying motivated together

Motivation is a cherished trait. This is especially true when it comes to work, as motivated employees are productive employees, and productive employees are (usually) rewarded. But sometimes motivation fades—stolen away by the perils of monotony and routine – and work becomes a grind. Oh no! Everyone hates a grind! Thankfully, there are steps you can take to stay motivated at work.

Motivation Explained

Motivation is the drive that energizes, maintains and controls behavior. It is the force that pushes people to keep working towards completing a task or achieving a goal. There are two primary types of motivation—extrinsic and intrinsic. The former is characterized by rewards and positive reinforcement. Money, fame, and awards are some of the common forms of extrinsic motivation. External motivators work best for tasks that are specific and repetitive.

Intrinsic motivation is the drive to engage in an activity because of internal rewards, or because the activity itself is rewarding to the person.  For example, feeling a sense of accomplishment after completing a difficult project is an internal reward. Therefore, the pursuit of that feeling of accomplishment is intrinsic motivation.

Seizing the Day and Staying Motivated at Work

Girl sitting at her work computer feeling motivated

Ideally, “seizing the day” should be everyone’s mantra when they show up to work. But not everyone has the same external or internal rewards awaiting them when they punch out, which means extrinsic and intrinsic motivation can sometimes be hard to come by. Here are some simple steps you can take to seize the day and practice staying motivated at work.

1. Find Work That Inspires You

Entrepreneurs and thought leaders have been singing about finding work that you love. Steve Jobs once said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

2. Realize The Impact Of What You Do

Remember that your work and your contribution matters. In the monotony of daily tasks, it can be easy to forget the significance of your output. Realizing that your work contributes to the organization can significantly improve performance, commitment, and job satisfaction.

3. Train Your Brain To Be Motivated

Mel Robbins, in her book “The 5 Second Rule,” states that our brain—in its effort to protect us—will invariably prevent us from acting on a goal or commitment. Suppress these instincts towards inaction by capitalizing on the five-second window when your brain has not yet instinctively decided to stay stagnant. Count backward from five and push yourself to move as soon as you reach one.

4. Set A Goal Then Keep Your Eye On It

We all have goals in life, but in the flurry of day-to-day activities, it will be easy to lose track of them. Stay on track by writing your goals down. If possible, track your progress. This way you will be able to translate your efforts to tangible results against your objectives.

5. Learn To Pause And Rest

The best ideas come when the mind is at rest. Taking a break allows your mind to refocus and reorient your perspective. Additionally, breaks enable you to regain momentum and get back to tackling the task at hand.

6. Create Meaningful Connections At Work

Human beings naturally crave warmth and relationships. Being able to bond with colleagues is an essential metric for happiness at work. Having a supportive, respectful, fun and engaging work environment allows high-quality teams to thrive in the organization.

7. Find A Mentor

He or she can stand as your trusted counselor or guide as you observe his or her best practices and routines. A mentor will be especially helpful during challenging moments. A mentor is a cheerleader who can tell you “You can do this.” Additionally, a mentor can serve as an aspiration—a model of who you wish to be someday or a vision of where you would like to go. He or she can offer insight on how to get closer to your own goals.

Be in Control of Your Own Motivation

Unless you’re in Marine Corps boot camp and a drill instructor is shouting in your face, it almost goes without saying that you are in control of your own motivation. Inevitably, there will be days when motivation is low—days when just getting out of bed proves to be a laborious task. However, to be successful at work, you need to find ways to get past these humps. Remember that the most arduous battle occurs within you. So get up and get moving. Start taking steps toward staying motivated at work.

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Imee Rabang is a blogger/writer and bilingual poet from Manila, Philippines. She is an advocate of Philippine culture and supports causes that promote language and national identity. She juggles her time between work, parenthood, and community outreach programs. She also dabbles in photography and graphic arts in her free time.

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