How To Stay Motivated At Work

It happens to everyone. You have a bad day, your mind starts to wander, and you think about all the great jobs you could be doing instead. The jobs you dreamed of as a child. The glamorous jobs. The worthy jobs. The jobs that pay ridiculous amounts of money. Before you reach for your keyboard and start searching for a new career, take some time to reflect on the job that you already have.

Why did you take this job?
You were once attracted to this job enough to fill out an application form, and attend an interview. What was it that made you jump for joy when you were told the job was yours? Do those good things still apply? Concentrate on the positives in your job to try and recapture some of that first-day enthusiasm.

Do you know what you want?
How many times have you said to yourself ‘I don’t know what I want, but it’s not this’? Knowing what you don’t like will not help you be happy in your work. Think about what you do want. What is your long term plan? Consider what you would like to be doing in the next five years. Then think about how this current job fits with that plan. If you can see how going to work every day is helping you to achieve your goals, you will be motivated to get out of bed in the morning. If your current job isn’t a good fit with your ambitions, think about how it can be expanded (see advice below).

Expanding your responsibilities
You can have a more challenging and rewarding day at work by expaning your duties. If you think you are ready to take on more responsibility, or want to try something new, speak to your boss. Be specific about what you would like and why, and reassure them that this will have no impact on your ability to do your regular work. Do not ask for more money, as your boss is unlikely to agree, and may even start viewing your enthusiasm with suspicion. However, if your enhanced role proves to be a success for you and the company, you may be next in line for a pay-rise or promotion.

Do Something Else
Don’t quit your job. Do your job and something new. Feeling that your work is pointless, or not for a good cause, can be demotivating. Try looking at this differently. Your job pays your bills, and leaves you with enough free time to do something worthwhile. What is the cause you would like to support? Are there any skills, or contacts you have gained through your job that can help you with this? Accept the reality that most jobs in the charitable sector are difficult to get into and poorly paid. Instead of yearning for a job that pays the bills and give you a sense of emotional well-being, stay in the job you have, and use your free-time to make a diffence to the world.

You may be able to persuade your boss and colleagues to support a good cause. Many companies allow staff to swap a number of working hours to volunteer for a local chairty. A day helping out at an animal shelter, or repainting a local community centre can be a fun, and inexpensive team-building activity for your department.

Reflect, refocus and remotivate yourself
The key to being motivated in your job is to accept that the job is not your whole life. Remind yourself of the things you like about your work, and how it fits with your long-term goals. Think about what is lacking in your job. Identify how you can fill those gaps through adapting your current role, or finding a new acitivity in your free-time. When you are having a bad day, searching through the job boards can feel like the best way out. But recognising what you already have, and making the best of it is often the quickest, and most straight-forward solution.

For more tips on staying motivated, read our recent article on how to increase your chances of remaining in your current job.

With 20+ years of experience writing CVs, it still puts a smile on my face when I hear a client has secured an interview Lee Tonge - Founder and Director


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