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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

How to Find Work Motivation When You’re Unfulfilled at Work

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How to Find Work Motivation When You’re Unfulfilled at Work

If you’ve ever read into the stories of most famous entrepreneurs or talented business people, you’ll find that quite a few of them share a common trait:

They were very unfulfilled at work and they needed to make a change so that they could position themselves towards a career path they were passionate about.

For some, it was more than possible to quit their jobs immediately and make the switch towards building their business or finding a job that worked better for them. However, not everyone has the financial stability that is required to do that and you may still need to work in your current job in order to be able to pay for your living expenses while you continue or start your education, build a side hustle, or work your way up in a different industry.

Regardless of what your future career goals may be, it can be difficult to stay motivated and present in your current job when you know that it is not what you want to be doing.

Are you having trouble gritting your teeth and getting the job that you have at the moment? If you are, here are some tips that will help you to find work motivation when you are unfulfilled:

1. Keep Your Mind on Your Purpose

The best way to stay motivated at work is to be super clear about why you do what you do — your purpose.

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If you aren’t sure your true purpose to work, you’re not alone. This article can help you figure this out:

How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

Even if you think making money is the reason why you’re doing the job, you should think deeper and ask yourself why.

Why is making more money so important to you? Is it because of the family that you’re supporting? Or is it because you’re trying to make more money to build up your own business?

Find out the root of what you truly want and this purpose will become your drive to work.

2. Find the Positives in Your Role

No matter what your profession is, there are always positives to the job that you have. Whether it’s being to help others by building value in their business or simply being able to interact with intelligent people, you are guaranteed to find something that you like about your job.

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I would like for you to sit down and write down 3 things that you enjoy about your job right now. If you can think of more, amazing! If you can only think about three or even have trouble getting to that number, that’s perfectly fine.

Once you’ve finished creating your list, I want you to take that list with you when you go to work and put it in a place where you will be able to look at it frequently. When you feel unmotivated or unsatisfied, look back at this list of things that you enjoy about your role and focus on those things while you are working.

When you can highlight the positives of what you are doing, you can better focus on providing value in your position, even if you are not completely happy doing it.[1]

3. Focus on Your Goals and How Your Work Is Helping You to Reach Them

If you’re feeling unfulfilled at your job, you have hopefully found your next position and created a road map of how you are going to get there. Besides helping you to make your next move, these goals and plans serve another purpose: to keep you motivated at your current job by reminding you that it is serving your overall goal.

Ultimately, your current position is simply a placeholder and a way for you to maintain steady income while you plan your exit. If need be, keep a list of these goals or a reminder of your current job’s purpose nearby so that you are always reminded that, while it is not wanted at the moment, this job is more than necessary.

You could also provide further motivation with this tactic by keeping a calendar that counts the days until you plan to leave so that you are reminded to continue working hard until you are ready to leave this current role behind.

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Have trouble setting or achieving goals? This guide can help you:

How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully

4. Build Momentum by Achieving Success With Small Tasks

Think back to the last time you achieved something in your current position. It felt good, right?

No matter how out of love you are with your job, achieving success is still something that provides excitement when you are performing work-related tasks and being recognized and commended for them.

When one feels unfulfilled at their role, it is very unlikely that they are focused on being successful and achieving a lot at work. Unfortunately, this desire to do your work well can wane if you lose sight of providing value.

To get back into the swing of things, build your momentum by achieving small, simple tasks. When you see that you are more than capable of being successful in your workplace, that hunger for achievement will grow and you will be able to accomplish more difficult tasks with ease and with the desire to do so.

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Success breeds the desire for more success and if you are finding that you are having trouble motivating yourself in a job that isn’t your favorite, this is a great way to get back on track for the time being.

You can find out more about how to build momentum here:

How To Celebrate Small Wins To Achieve Big Goals

5. Keep Your Overall Emotional Quality High

Even if you were working a job that you enjoyed, you can’t perform well if your emotional quality isn’t in good shape. Whether you are too tired, not having enough fun in your personal life, or dealing with hardships inside or outside of the workplace, it negatively impacts all aspects of your job.

Before going to work and even during the course of your day, try your best to keep your emotional quality high. Whether it is putting yourself around co-workers that you love or helping them out, taking micro-breaks to recover from hard work and recharge, or by talking to a friend, a little bit of self-care goes a long way. If you’re happy, you’ll perform well. It’s as simple as that![2]

The Bottom Line

While you won’t always be in love with your job, you can always find the motivation necessary to power through the tasks associated with your role.

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If you have felt unfulfilled in your current position and are having trouble finding that motivation, use the five tips above to help you cultivate this work motivation in order to achieve more and push through poor performance.

More Resources About Motivation

Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

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More by this author

Dylan Buckley

Dylan is Lifehack's Motivation Expert specializing in self-development, with extensive experience working for life coaches and startups.

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Published on September 3, 2021

6 Friday Motivation Tips to Help You Stay Motivated

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6 Friday Motivation Tips to Help You Stay Motivated

You know the feeling—that “I still have another whole work day to get through” feeling? It sucks. The worst part is knowing that you have to get up, get to work, and be productive when you feel checked out, unmotivated, and would rather go back to bed. The trickiest part about it is that even though you may know intellectually that you’re not the only person who has ever felt that way, at the moment, it can feel very lonely.

If you feel the Friday funk and want to shake it off, try these six tips to lift your Friday motivation.

1. Eat a Solid Breakfast and Plan to Eat Lunch

The first thing you can do to lift your Friday motivation is to eat a solid breakfast. We have all heard the phrase, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It turns out that it wasn’t just something our parents were telling us to get us to eat before school. Studies have shown that eating breakfast can help with improved memory, recall, mood, and visual-motor functions.[1]

However, researchers have found evidence that the benefits of the micronutrient boost provided by breakfast do wear off after a while. Just like a car with a full tank of gas that runs out after a long journey, the body needs to be refueled. Therefore, planning to eat breakfast and lunch on a day when you are not feeling your best could give you that extra boost you need to get through the day. Skipping meals can lead to low blood sugar, which can leave you feeling weak and tired.[2] If you are already struggling with feeling motivated, not eating is only going to make you feel more sluggish and less inspired to get anything done.

2. Prioritize What’s Urgent

I have always been a fan of the cheat sheet. No, I’m not a cheater, but I love knowing what needs to be done. No one wants to waste any precious energy trying to figure out what should be done when you are already feeling unmotivated.

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No matter who you are, there is a high probability that by Friday, on any given week, you have at least one or two items that were supposed to be completed earlier in the week but just didn’t get done. Here is my quick trick for figuring out what’s urgent.

Just ask yourself these three questions:

  • Are there any projects with deadlines that have passed already but are still due?
  • Which of those projects is the most overdue?
  • Of the overdue projects, which will take the least time to make significant progress or complete?

This should help you to easily identify at least one task that you can spend time working on diligently, knowing that you are getting something important done.

3. Tackle the Low-Hanging Fruit

Another way to refresh your Friday motivation is to tackle the low-hanging fruit. There is nothing wrong with doing the easy stuff first. Maybe you are so burned out and the urgent tasks will take too much energy. There is nothing wrong with knocking out the obvious easy things. Emails, filing, data entry, document reconciliation, follow-up calls, editing or revising written work, and research are all low-hanging fruits—these are all straightforward tasks.

Getting these easier tasks done will give you a sense of accomplishment. You can leverage this sense of accomplishment to help you tackle some harder tasks or get all the easy tasks done so the following week, you can dedicate your time to the harder projects.

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4. Give Yourself at Least Two Scheduled Breaks

Give yourself at least two scheduled breaks during the workday. Life is stressful. Feeling like you have to work when you don’t feel up to it is stressful. Let’s not compound it by forcing yourself to sit in front of the computer all day with no breaks. The days of believing that “lunch is for punks and working 80 hours a week is what you should be doing” are fading away—if not already a distant memory for some.

In fact, scientists discovered that, although “taking short breaks throughout the working day may not have as obvious an impact as taking a holiday, research has found significant benefits. Studies have found that breaks can reduce or prevent stress, help to maintain performance throughout the day and reduce the need for a long recovery at the end of the day.”[3]

Before you sit down in front of your desk for the workday, set three alarms—two 20-minute breaks and one lunch break. You aren’t proving anything to anyone by forcing yourself to be miserable in front of your computer. You deserve flexibility and compassion. Let these breaks be a radical act of self-care.

5. Listen to Some Upbeat Tunes

Another way to improve your Friday motivation is to listen to some upbeat tunes. Music is medicine. It is not a mystery that the vibrations of sound can affect our mood. Ancient communities knew this and embraced it through practices like chanting, the use of singing bowls, chimes, bells, and other sound instruments as tools for healing. Practices like Kirtan and Bhakti yoga use chanting to heal and shift energy. The Hindu and Buddhist religions use bells and chimes in many of their spiritual healing rituals. Throughout the modern world, we have adopted the use of signing bowls for energetic healing.

Most people could recall at least one moment in their lives when music or sound has helped shift their mood. Music has been shown to have a direct effect on the listener. Studies show that listening to music while you work can lead to an “increase in both mood and quality of work”.[4]

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If you are feeling super unmotivated, the solution to your problem may be throwing on your favorite album in the background while you try to get a few things done. If you can’t work while listening to music with words and you do not like classical music or traditional jazz, explore genres like Trip hop, house, ambient, Beach House, JamBand. You may also enjoy artists like Bonobo, Thievery Corporation, and Grammatik.

6. Give Yourself Something to Look Forward To

As a yogi, I’m all about being present in the moment. But sometimes, the present is a little too intense, and being super present is not going to help to improve your mood. In those moments, tapping into the power of positive anticipation can be your secret weapon because “knowing that something good is coming your way pushes you to accomplish those tasks you may not necessarily want to do.”[5]

We all love to be rewarded, especially when we are doing something we don’t want to do. Giving yourself something to look forward to is the way to guarantee that you will be rewarded for the hard work of getting through the day.

The reward doesn’t have to be immense. It can be something small like getting ice cream, going for a walk, spending time with friends, or vegging out with your phone on do not disturb for a few hours. I used to employ this trick a lot when I was in boarding school. The time between semesters in new England would feel so long especially in the winter that my friends and I would let ourselves get excited about little things like drinking lime rickeys at Brigham’s. Believe it or not, it worked.

Try it the next time you get the hit with the Friday funk. Think about something you can look forward to no matter how small, and notice how it shifts your energy.

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Final Thoughts

As the adage says, “this too shall pass.”

Friday is just a day like every other day before it will end. One thing you can count on is that time waits for no one, so despite how difficult it may feel to get through, know that the time is on your side.

No matter what, Friday will wind on. The best thing you can do to improve your Friday motivation is to make sure that your body has the micronutrients it needs to power through the day, identify what’s urgent, tackle low hanging fruit, give yourself time away from the desk, throw on your favorite tunes, and think about the fact that you have the entire weekend to look forward to.

You got this!

More Tips on How to Improve Your Friday Motivation

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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Reference

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