Sometimes, you get to a point at work where your motivation is completely depleted. But circumstances dictate that you can’t quit. So how do you keep going? There’s always a way.
Much like most people, I’ve faced multiple instances where there was nothing keeping me at a job, but bills and responsibilities meant quitting wasn’t an option either. In such cases, it’s difficult to show up, let alone do your work to your best ability. But a few strategies have helped.
Motivation is intrinsic. While external factors affect it, your reaction to those factors is what ultimately leaves you demotivated. But there’s a difference between taking responsibility for this and blaming yourself for this—and far too often, we do the latter.
I’ve had extended periods of scolding myself for not pushing harder and doing better. But it’s a short-lived success story. I got the current job done and then fell back into being disenchanted. If your job sucks, it might be your fault; but take responsibility for that and fix it rather than berating and shaming yourself.
Motivation coach Janet Hilts explains the difference between the two:
I need to fix myself.
I need to punish myself in some way.
I need to regret what I did.
Taking responsibility simply requires me to see my part in what’s going on. Then I just ask myself: Do I want to change something? If so, what are some options? What action do I need to take to change things? This keeps me in a looking-forward position – focused on the future. And that draws me ahead in the direction I want to go.
When you’re demotivated, you communicate haphazardly about things that bother you. That can cause more problems than it solves. I developed a three-step communication strategy that helped me overcome my demotivation; Vent, then assess, and then talk to the right people.
Venting your anger has been found to make you feel worse in the long term. But the old common sense adage of venting having a short-term cathartic effect is true. The trick is to find someone you can unload your frustrations on, but then you have to move on to another person—someone you trust has a rational mind—to assess those feelings, talk to the person and you just may be back on track.
It’s hard to keep going when you’re feeling demotivated, but hopefully, these tips should help you push on. Don’t confuse a lack of motivation with burnout, which is a real problem.
The short answer is that if you’re happy after work hours and find joy in other things, you are likely demotivated; but if you are generally negative towards everything, that’s a sign of being burnout.
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