motivating self to work

Three Ways to Motivate Yourself to Work When You Don’t Feel Like It

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The idea of coming to work every day has become a usual struggle for employees. Whether you’re working from home or on-site, you cannot escape the risk of physical ailments, such as back pain, fatigue, neck sprain, or even whiplash because of a work accident.

Sometimes, the unfortunate events happening at work can affect your level of motivation, making it hard to accomplish tasks and do your best. In this article, we’ll talk about ways how to encourage yourself to work when you don’t feel like it.

Break down your goals into bite-sized chunks

Ever noticed how big projects at work seem so daunting that you don’t know how to begin? This is because your mind focuses on achieving a large and scary goal that the idea of it makes you want to quit.

There’s no problem about making big, daunting goals, but it’s important that you break down those goals into bite-sized, consumable chunks. This technique diverts your mind into making meaningful progress, which gives you a sense of accomplishment every time you complete a small goal.

When setting goals or writing a to-do list at work, start by dividing tasks into small, doable tasks. As you move forward, you’ll feel a sense of progress and achievement every time you cross each item off the list. Although the effect won’t last that long, it provides enough boost to get you through difficult experiences, especially when you don’t feel like doing anything.

A great tip is to design tasks within a specific timeframe instead of listing down all the tasks you should do in an entire day. Focusing on the number or intensity of the tasks defeats your actual purpose of making your tasks more consumable.

For example, instead of saying you need to produce 50 invoices by lunchtime, you can simply say that you have to accomplish all invoices within three hours or any specified deadline. This makes you more accountable for how you use time, making you less likely to procrastinate tasks that are not related to the work at hand (e.g. browsing social media).

woman breaking down her tasks

Reward yourself for big and small achievements

At some point in our careers, we tend to undermine the good things we do at work, such as signing a new client or coming to work on time for a week. We only acknowledge our contribution if we did a major project at work or accomplished an extremely tiring task. We think the salary, weekend day-offs, and vacation leaves are enough to compensate for all our hard work.

Waiting for our contributions at work to pay off makes us forget to recognize how much power our small wins can make. Using rewards as motivation can make a difference in overcoming challenges with a positive attitude.

Start recognizing all the good things you’re doing, including the small things. Believe it or not, these things also need some celebrating. The key to staying more motivated is to acknowledge more wins at work to encourage you, motivate you, and allow yourself to witness how truly brilliant you are.

When doing this technique, make sure to avoid perverse incentives. Sometimes, we reward ourselves for the speed or the number of finished tasks when we should focus on the quality of performance. Another common mistake is to choose rewards that undermine the goals you’ve reached. For example, if your reward for doing a good job at work is to slack off, you can ruin the positive impression you’ve already made. This is why balancing goal achievement is important to find effective rewards.

Consider your internal motivators

Too often, employees look for external sources when finding the motivation to work, such as bonuses, accolades, or a job promotion. These “big” rewards can make you feel good, but their motivational effect doesn’t last long.

The best types of motivation are those internally sourced. Internal sources of motivation are things you remind yourself of why you want to grind every day. They are very effective when finding a sense of purpose to fuel you at work and sustain your motivation over the long term. If you’re working just to appease your boss, get a raise, or just survive a major project, you’re doing motivation wrong. Internal motivators are deeper and more meaningful reasons to drive you to learn more and stay with your company. This can be your passion, the value you share with the company, or a stepping stone for career growth.

There will be moments when we lose motivation, but we have to be kind to ourselves when they happen. Every person has their ups and downs and unproductive moments are nothing but normal. The best you can do is to help yourself get out of the situation and do something to overcome it. The tips above can help you find the right motivation and make it easier to come to work every day.

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