How do you stay motivated at work? Do you struggle to do so? Being engaged in work at all times is no mean feat, even if you’ve found the job of your dreams! Like anything in life, there are ups and downs, days when you feel highly motivated and interested in what you are doing and days when you can barely find the energy to open an email.  This is totally normal.  How we feel about working varies from day to day, our lives outside of work, our health, how much sleep we’ve had, there are so many factors which can affect our motivation to work.  You aren’t always going to be at the top of your game!  But what if your desire to work is affected more than just now and then?

What actually motivates us at work?

It seems obvious to say that the first step is to find work that you enjoy, and yes, of course that is true, but even within a job you love, there are times when your motivation dips.  Information gathered by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) shows that one of the greatest factors of influence when it comes to workplace motivation is autonomy or ‘self-determination’, in other words; knowing you have free choice and control over your life.  If you are able to, make your job work for you, shape it, make it meaningful and find ways to get enjoyment from it, you are likely to be far more motivated to work, and work well.  If the opposite is the case, if you are suffering from boredom at work, because the environment isn’t right for you, you are under-challenged and it feels like work has no meaning, then boredom creeps in, motivation bottoms out and everyone suffers, employers, employees and clients/customers.  For this reason, it’s just as important for employers to ensure that they are tuned in to staff motivation and providing a stimulating and supportive work environment.

How can I help myself stay motivated?

If you know you are in the job for you or on the career path you want to follow, there are a few things we recommend to keep you on track:

  • Think about why you chose your job/career path. Consider writing out a list to figure out what motivates you - do you feel you are helping people? What have you achieved? What challenges you?
  • What’s your value within your workplace? Where do you fit within the company? Are you happy with where you are?
  • Is it time to stretch yourself? Perhaps it’s time to take on more responsibilities?
  • Don’t just have colleagues, make friends! Having someone at work whose company you enjoy always improves your day!
  • Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based). Setting yourself goals is great, but they have to be achievable.  When you reach a goal, reward yourself! This is where autonomy comes in, external recognition is wonderful, but we can’t rely on it, so congratulate and treat yourself!

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