In this blog post, I want to focus on the one thing that most people struggle with and that is motivation. There are countless books written about motivating yourself to accomplish some goal or task. The natural human state is to be a bit pessimistic, negative and self-conscious. This is why you never see books written on the latter. I want to focus today on your career motivation.
All companies constantly come up with ideas to try to motivate their employees. They range from financial incentives and flexible work styles to countless perks and support systems all focused on getting more productivity out of everyone. For some, these incentives help motivate themselves to accomplish goals and tasks. I have personally found that over time, basic human nature kicks in and most struggle to motivate themselves consistently over time. Of course all of the wonderful incentives and perks are great if we are able to reach goals or complete tasks to earn them, but I want to focus on what each of us can do to motivate ourselves for the sake of putting in a productive day’s work.
1. The Day’s Tasks
Everyone has down days. When we do, we tend to neglect the daily activities we are responsible for, search for short cuts or deliver work that is not our best. I do not have the magic recipe for everyone to be a superhero at work every day but I have found if you force yourself to accomplish your required tasks before you leave for the day (yes, even when you are down for whatever reason), it will give you a sense of accomplishment at day’s end. Yes, you may mentally struggle to focus on get the tasks done, but when the day is done, you have completed the tasks (no matter how painful it was). You now have a feeling of accomplishment and this lifts your mood and outlook.
2. The Pile Up
On the days when your motivation is down, and you do not force yourself to complete your daily tasks as discussed in Point 1, when you arrive to work the next day, you have more work to do and the work then “piles up.” Even though you may be in a good mood and motivated the next day, seeing all the task you have to complete can take a toll on your state of mind. Moreover, if you took shortcuts or did not deliver your best work on your down days, this most likely leads to problems or you will have a few unhappy colleagues or supervisors that can add unneeded pressure and stress… all of which puts more strain on your motivation.
Yes, I know, it is easy to say. Simply get your work done for the day, ensuring you are not taking shortcuts and delivering great quality of work on your down days is the solution. But it is true. If you are honest with yourself on the days when your motivation is down by telling yourself that completing all of your required work today is going to be a struggle and perhaps painful, you can then tackle all tasks. Once you acknowledge this fact and commit yourself to doing what you have to do to complete your tasks (and again, knowing it may be painful), only then will you have many more up days than down. We all struggle with motivation at times, this is human nature. Accept this. Also accept that fact that you don’t have to let bad days control what you can or won’t do. Focus and get what you have to do completed and you can look forward to the next day with a “fresh start” without the stress of being behind on your work or dealing with performance issues.
Your motto should be to “make a successful day.” Some days it will be more difficult than others, but force yourself to make a successful day. If you do, you will be more effective in your job, have a strong and reliable professional relationship with colleagues and your supervisor… and this gives you more positive feelings and improves your motivation!