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How to stay motivated at work

Motivation is kind of like a cup of coffee. It starts hot, and then slowly throughout the day it can cool off — that is unless you’re able to keep freshening it up. But staying motivated isn’t nearly as easy as grinding up some beans and brewing a fresh pot. Sometimes, it takes an effort, and a deliberate one at that.

If you find your motivation simmering down, we recommend trying a few things that are known to make it burn red-hot:

  1. Take time for yourself during the day. What works for one person may not work for the next, but scheduling times to periodically reenergize can help. After working for 50 minutes, take a short 10-minute break. Grab a snack, go for a quick jaunt, or shoot off a text to make plans for the night. Just make sure you get back to work by the 10-minute mark. You don’t want to be seen as wasting company time.
  1. Look back at your accomplishments. Some people find motivation in taking stock of what they’ve completed for the day. If you’re someone who makes lists, look back at everything you’ve checked off so far. Go back a week if you have to, and then let that sense of accomplishment motivate you to keep working. For those of you who don’t make a habit of compiling to-do lists, try the opposite by writing down exactly what you got done for the day or the week.
  1. Measure your contributions. Another motivator for many people is knowing how their work impacts the world — if not the world, then clients or the company itself. Let’s say you work in sales. Looking back at the revenue or profits you’ve brought in can be a source of pride. When you take pride in your work, it can motivate you to not just keep working, but work harder. So much so that you try to exceed your sales goals. If you can’t see how you’re contributing, ask a confidant.
  1. Consider your unique abilities. Being surrounded by people who work better and faster than you can make you feel even more unmotivated than before. Why bother, right? It’s at this time when you need to reevaluate what makes you unique. What strengths do you bring to the table? What skills make you perfect for the job? Why did the employer hire you? No doubt, you will find answers to each question if you take the time to ask them of yourself.
  1. Find a rhythm at work. Everyone has certain times of the day when they’re the most productive. The same can be said for when they’re most social, most reflective, etc. Find your rhythm in the workplace, and then schedule your day around that rhythm. If you’re most social in the afternoon, that’s probably the best time to have meetings. If you’re most productive in the morning, make sure to block off that part of the day for your critical responsibilities, duties, and tasks.
  1. Organize your desk. It probably sounds too simplistic to work, but cleaning up and organizing your desk has an almost Zen-like effect on your attitude. The physical act of straightening up can help organize the mind — or at least clear it. With a clear mind, you’re better able to put things into perspective, and you’re more likely to tap into the motivation to continue doing your best at work.

No one is immune to periods of indifference. Everyone from business owners to business associates go through varying degrees of motivation each and every day. The key to staying motivated is to first recognize when you’re petering out, and then use everything at your disposal to turn it around.

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