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Last Updated on January 5, 2021

3 Steps on How to Figure out What Motivates You at Work

3 Steps on How to Figure out What Motivates You at Work

Work is called work for a reason. No matter how passionate you are about a certain field, you are inevitably going to run into aspects of your career that you are not fond of. If you are in a current position because of the money or security it provides, you may be even more impacted by the truth stated above, and it can be difficult to find what motivates you at work.

That said, the mindset and approach that we take when we approach anything in life is what dictates our overall experience. If I come to work feeling drained and not wanting to do anything, I am not going to get anything out of my job. If I find motivators in my job that remind me of why I am doing it, however, I am going to fare much better.

The problem that many face when they are trying to find motivation around them is the actual act of becoming aware of these motivators. Awareness is always the first step to change (and it is also the hardest). If you are trying to figure out what motivates you at work, continue reading below for further insight into how you can become a happier, more productive worker!

1. Take a Moment to Consider Why You Are in Your Current Position

When we work somewhere for a significant amount of time, the daily grind can become something that we do on autopilot. When we do work in this mode, we end up losing ourselves along the way, which gets in the way of us finding what motivates us at work.

It is only when we approach work with the mindset of providing value for both the employer as well for the customer that we are able to gain some sense of achievement from it.

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For example, let’s pretend that you are working a basic scheduling job. On the surface it may seem boring to you, causing you to lose focus and energy. When you take a closer look, however, your job is quite important.

People rely on you to make sure that they are getting enough hours, that they can get important days off when they need it, and that the organization runs smoothly, even in times of crisis. You are in charge of all of these aspects, and this ultimately provides value for those around you.

Answer this question: Why do I have this job?

Is this a job that you love doing? Does it involve work that you are passionate about? If you can remind yourself of why you took the job in the first place, you can find that spark to do better work again.[1]

If you are in a job solely for financial reasons, you can still find the motivation to work (even though it may be a little more difficult). We will dive deeper into this concept in the next section.

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2. Map out Your Future

In some instances, our future is more exciting than our current situation, and that’s okay! The good news is that you can leverage your future to your advantage by using it as motivation to work harder.

How?

Consider each job that you hold or will hold as a stepping stone on the path towards your ultimate goal. While your current job may not be very exciting or fulfilling, it serves a purpose. Whether that be in the form of building your resume, teaching you new skills, helping you save the money to look for a new job, or providing extra money on the side, there is a purpose for everything!

In order to benefit from the job that you have and find motivation in it, take a moment to consider the points above. Then, build a plan for the future in order to discover what motivates you at work.

To give you an example, let’s imagine that your path looks like this:

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  • My current job as an office assistant will allow me to save money and learn important skills that I can use in a position above my own.
  • Once I finish my degree this summer, I can apply for a better job in an entry-level marketing position, where certain office-based skills will come in handy.
  • While working in this entry-level position, I can further develop my skills on the side and ask for new projects that meet my needs and capture my interest.

Not only does a comprehensive plan remind you of how your current position serves you, but it keeps you excited in future positions as well.

Remember, however, that goals only work when they are specific, set to a deadline, and broken down into smaller, more achievable tasks. This will keep you highly motivated during work also![2]

3. Take Things Slowly and Set Reminders

Two important things to remember when you are trying to stay motivated is to avoid overwhelm and to keep yourself reminded about why you should be motivated by the opportunity in the first place.

When it comes to work, many people make their jobs much larger and worse than they actually are. You can avoid falling into this cycle of avoidance and despair by reminding yourself that every day is a new day. You can change your schedule around to add in new and exciting things, and focus on your life outside of work.

While work is an important part of your life, it doesn’t have to be draining or boring. By learning what motivates you at work, you can get excited about what you do again.

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The second point above can be achieved by setting small reminders throughout your workplace. If you are someone who is already satisfied with the work that you do and the value you provide, you can make small notes around your workspace that remind you of the services that you offer and how they help others.

If you are someone who is not necessarily happy with the position that you currently hold, you can instead use tools such as goal sheets, calendars, and vision boards to help you keep track of your progress as you move toward your ideal position.

However, make sure to not fall into the trap of resenting your job or acting out. This will only make getting motivated at your job harder!

The Bottom Line

Motivation is always possible to find in any situation. All it takes is a little effort, some gratitude, and the ability to see why your job adds value to your life and to the lives of others.

If you have been having difficulty finding what motivates you at work, use the step-by-step guide above to figure out why you are in your job, where you want to go afterward, and how you can leverage this information to your advantage. What you get out of your situation is ultimately up to how you choose to perceive it!

More Tips on Getting Motivated

Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

Reference

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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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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

8 Creative Ways To Motivate Yourself To Reach Goals

8 Creative Ways To Motivate Yourself To Reach Goals

“Self-pity is our worst enemy, and if we yield to it we can never do anything wise in this world” – Helen Keller

From the moment our kindergarten teachers asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up to the job interview question that asks us to envision where we see ourselves in five or ten years time, everyone seems to want to know what we’re doing (or hope to do) with our lives. Some of us have detailed road maps in our minds, with mile-markers for each goal: Obtain a college degree, land a dream career, start a family, visit Mars, achieve world domination—whatever. Others like the scenic route. We have a vague picture of someone in the distant future who looks like us and is doing amazing things, but they’re too far off in the distance for us to see just what those amazing things are. Whether you’ve had your entire life planned out since you were 5 yrs old or are just winging it, we all need a jump start from time to time to keep us moving in the right direction—or any direction. Here are eight creative ways to motivate yourself to reach your goals.

1. Sing to yourself

Seriously. Like laughter, sunshine, and fresh air; singing elevates our moods and increases our well being. It can even be a useful group exercise to enhance collaboration in the workplace. Read more about it here. Studies have shown that singing triggers a release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural way of chemically relieving pain and stress. When we’re happier, we get more done. This might be why Snow White likes to whistle while she works.

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2. Visualize your success

According to Dr. Frank Niles, visualization is a simple but useful motivational technique because when you form a picture of succeeding in your mind, you begin to see the possibility of reaching your goal. When I was working on my dissertation in graduate school, there were days when meeting the daily writing goal I’d set for myself seemed insurmountable, let alone finishing the entire book-length project that sat in my stomach like a baby with an unknown due date. When I began to feel overwhelmed, I’d often visualize the moment of achievement, walking across the stage, receiving my degree, finally earning those three letters at the end of my name that I’d poured so much blood, sweat, tears, and vodka into. Six years and quite a few drinks later, I managed it.

3. Speak about achieving your goals in definitive, positive terms

Instead of saying, “if I get married,” “if I get that raise,” “if I quit smoking,” say “when I get married,” “when I get that raise,” “when I quit smoking.” This shifts your focus from possibility to actuality. Spiritual teacher and best-selling author Dr. Wayne Dyer has written and spoken extensively about the “I Am” discourse, which is a form of positive thinking that takes its name from Judeo-Christian Scripture but is portable in any walk of life. Dyer tells us humorously that God didn’t introduce himself to Moses as “I will be,” or “My name is I hope things will work out.” No. He said simply “I am.” Using this affirmative vocabulary in our own lives, argues Dr. Dyer, can help us to visualize our goals and keep our eye on the prize.

4. Use sticker charts

We all remember the thrill of achievement when we rushed home from school to show our parents the shiny gold star we’d received on our homework assignments in school. Who’s to say this positive reinforcement can’t work for adults too? Draw up a chart of your goals, with various benchmarks. Each time you achieve a benchmark, give yourself a gold star, or a smiley face, or a googly-eyed cat. Whatever gives you a sense of accomplishment. This ties into the visualization technique as well, because charting the trajectory of completion gives you verifiable proof that you’re making progress.

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5. Keep a goal diary

Like creating a chart with eye-catching visuals, writing down your goals and reflecting regularly on their progress helps you to both focus on the desired outcome and holds you accountable. In 1979, a study conducted in the Harvard MBA program asked students if they had goals and if they’d written down those goals. 3% had written down their goals, 13% had goals but hadn’t written them down, and 84% had no clearly defined goals. Ten years later, the study revealed that the 3% who had written down their goals were the most financially successful. While financial stability is only one quantifiable way to measure success, the study still points to a link between clearly defining one’s goals and achieving them.

6. Find a “study buddy”

While this can be a useful way to motivate students to complete homework, it can also work well for anyone who has a hard time settling down to work. I used to notice that I graded papers much more efficiently when my boyfriend was sitting in the other room doing the same thing. While this might not work for everyone, I’ve always found that glancing up now and then to make a comment about something I’ve read does more than allow for a break in the action. The other person becomes a sounding board to bounce my ideas off of. Even Sherlock Holmes relied on Watson’s insights to solve his cases.

7. Keep a corkboard in your workspace or someplace visible, with empowering quotations

Personally, I find Yoda a great inspiration. It’s hard to quit anything when you’ve got “do or do not. There is no try” staring you in the face. Turn to your favorite books and movies, or your role-models. Pick your favorite inspirational quotes and keep them close to remind you that you can do whatever you set your mind to.

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8. Daydream

It might sound counter-intuitive, but I’m going somewhere with this. You probably remember being told off in Biology class for staring into the fathomless blue eyes of your lab partner instead of concentrating on the frog you were supposed to be dissecting. However, according to Margrit Tarpalaru, there’s a way to procrastinate “consciously, creatively, and, most importantly, guiltlessly.”

Tarpalaru, a teacher who uses this technique to plow through grading, refers to it as the “micro-break,”[1] which many of us probably think of as that reflexive urge to check Facebook for five minutes, only to look up twenty minutes later and wonder how we got sucked into the social media vortex. Instead, Tarpalaru suggests techniques like a quick daydream.

Glance up from the computer screen and spend a few minutes thinking about all of the glorious things that await you once you’ve gotten through the day, or the week: biking with your partner, having drinks with friends, the summer cruise you’re planning.

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Like the other visualization techniques we’ve talked about, this practice keeps your eye on the prize, and it’s a conscious form of procrastination because you can’t have that drink, or board that cruise ship unless you meet that deadline, which inevitably forces your mind back on work.

Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

Reference

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