Lost Motivation at Work? Why You Feel Unmotivated, What to Do About it

unmotivated girl laying head down on book

Nothing is worse than feeling like you’re slogging through a swamp of frustrating, monotonous, or meaningless tasks day by day.

You go to sleep each night, dreading the sound of your morning alarm that will force you back into your work day. You wish that the weekends could go on forever.

We spend so much time working everyday—if you’re not happy at work, you’re not happy for the majority of your life.

Why does this occur and what can you do about it? Read on to learn why you may have lost motivation at work and what you can do about it.

Not Motivated at Work? This Might Be Why

There are a lot of reasons why you might not feel motivated at work. Here are the two most common ones:

You Find Your Job Monotonous

Humans have evolved to thrive on the sensation of discovery and novelty. If you’ve been stuck in the same job for a while, you may feel like you have come to a plateau where your learning has stagnated. Or maybe your job was always too easy and repetitive to begin with. Overcoming challenges, puzzles, and striving for success are all things that bring deep feelings of fulfillment and growth, and if your job is boring or monotonous it may be time for you to move on.

What can you do? Here are some suggestions.

  1. You’ve tried Minecraft, but what about job craft? Job crafting is the art of customizing your job to maximize tasks that you’re good at and you like, and minimize tasks that frustrate you and fall out of your skill set. While you may have been hired for one thing, you might be surprised at how open-minded your manager will be to catering your work responsibilities to your preferences. Reasonable bosses will recognize that keeping an employee happy is a worthy sacrifice.
  2. Get a new job! Whatever you do, don’t waste your life doing work that you don’t like. Take a risk, put yourself out there, and see what better opportunities the world has to give you. When done strategically, jobs changes usually come with a pay raise and added personal liberty.

You Feel Frustrated or Disempowered

Does your work position task you with what feels impossible or unmanageable? While feeling challenged at work is actually a good thing, as it is associated with learning, growth and fulfillment, if the difficulty level stays notched at “very hard”, you will constantly feel like you’re failing. No one enjoys feeling like they’re banging their head against a brick wall all day.

Here are some ideas for dealing with this:

  1. Decide to become an expert, commit to learn. Hit Google search or a bookstore, and dedicate yourself to learning everything there is to know about the subject or problem you’re grappling with. You may be surprised at the multitude of thoughts out there, and the other people who have overcome the obstacles you’re dealing with. The good news? This research can and should be done during work time! Let your boss know that this is what you would like to do, and explain why you’re learning is a worthy investment for the company.
  2. Have a heart-to-heart with your boss. Perhaps your employer’s expectations of you are off? It’s also entirely possible that you have not received the tools or training that you need in order to succeed and feel like you’re doing well. Recognize that this is actually your employer’s duty to empower you in this way, but also recognize that it is your job to be authentic about your needs and struggles so that they can help you.

How to Get Motivated at Work – 8 Ideas

Whatever the reason, there are things you can do to help you stay motivated at work. If you do these things consistently you will start to build positive momentum in the right direction. That momentum is going to make it easier over time to be motivated — even if it’s not easy right now. 

We do need to start with some realistic expectations though. No one is motivated 100% of the time. You’re still going to have those off days, but these hacks will help you to get motivated more often and for longer periods of time. As a bonus, we also recommend that you check out our free to-do list app! It’s a great way to design positive habits and goals and get moving.

It’s all about building momentum. Once you get the ball rolling, it’s easier to keep the ball rolling. As you work to get yourself motivated more often and for longer periods of time, it’ll get easier. That’s how humans work. It’s a lot of work to tromp down the tall grass in a field as you walk through, but once you’ve gone down the same route multiple times, you’ll notice you’ve carved a an easily traceable path. Figuratively, that’s what you need to do with positive habits and thinking patterns in your mind in order to stay motivated everyday.

Before we get to the hacks though, you need to figure out your “why.”

Figure Out Your Why: Internal Motivation vs. External Motivation 

You have to have a reason to be motivated. This is your “why.” 

There are two kinds of motivation: Internal motivation (sometimes called intrinsic motivation) and External motivation. 

External Motivation for Staying Motivated Everyday

External motivation is like your boss telling you he needs that project done by the end of the day or your landlord needs the check at the start of every month. While external motivation can be powerful, it is often short lived. 

Internal Motivation for Staying Motivated Everyday

Internal motivation is more powerful than external motivation. It is longer lasting and generally more positive.

In a study conducted by Harvard’s Teresa M. Amabile they found that “When people reported more intrinsic motivation, their creativity simultaneously rose. So did other desirable states such as productivity, collegiality, and commitment to work.”

When your “why” comes from within you are ahead of the game on staying motivated. Take a moment to think about your why. Once you have it, consider writing it down in a note in your phone that you review frequently or posting it on a sticky note on your computer or mirror so that everyday you can remember your why. To the degree that you can visualize and remember your why, you’ll be able to draw on it as a source of energy and motivation. Whatever you do, make sure that your why stays in the forefront of your mind. Let it be a challenge or goal that gets you moving!

Now that we know we need intrinsic motivation, here are 8 things you can do to help you stay motivated everyday. 

1. Plan out your day

One of the biggest things you can do to help yourself stay motivated is planning out your day. When you know exactly what tasks you’re getting done that day it makes it much more manageable. 

You can do this the old fashioned way by writing it out on a piece of paper, but an even better way to do it is to use a todo app like Appigo’s Todo Cloud.  Our app can enables you to see all of the tasks you have that day and even set reminders based on location. If you need to remember to go talk to Sheryl in IT first thing when you get to work just set a location reminder and Todo will tell you right when you arrive. 

The most important part of planning your day though is taking those big tasks and breaking them down into bite sized pieces. You’ll have a greater sense of accomplishment and progress as you accomplish each part of your day. 

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2. Do something uncomfortable everyday 

Do something uncomfortable everyday. Even if it’s just one thing. 

Humans are driven to make their lives more comfortable. In the past you had to do things that were uncomfortable every day just to get by— today we have to go out of our way to make ourselves uncomfortable. 

Do one thing every day that pushes you. Take a cold shower. Do some pull ups. Try a food that you don’t think you’ll like. Talk to that person you haven’t yet.

Doing things that make you uncomfortable builds discipline and helps you to focus when it’s time to focus. 

3. Envision the details

Envisioning the details of your dream is a powerful way to motivate yourself. A lot of people have the goal to own a house someday. Most of the time though, that is where they stop. 

If you want your dream to be a real daily motivator for you, try thinking about the details. 

What color is the house? How many rooms is it? Does it have a home theater; a home office; a copper tub? What’s the landscaping like? Who will live there with you?

Don’t be afraid to think about the details. Sometimes we’re scared to dream about those things because we are worried that it might not actually happen. 

Envisioning the details of your goals helps you to commit to making them reality. That commitment leads to motivation.

4. Wake up an hour earlier

There are a myriad of benefits to waking up earlier. One of the biggest benefits though is improved concentration during the day. The majority of people focus better in the mornings than they do later in the day. We’ve all been there when that afternoon sun starts to pour through the window and every bone in your body wants to take a nap and go begin the evening relaxation. You’ll be happier and more energized if you got more work done in the morning so that in the afternoon and evening you feel like you deserve to take a rest.

If your goal is to stay motivated everyday, it’ll be easier if you’re taking advantage of the most productive time of the day—the morning. Remember to get to sleep on time so it’s easier to wake up!

5. Remove Distractions: Especially Social Media

Apps like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter are motivation killers. They are purposefully designed to keep your eyes on the screen. The longer someone watches; the more ads they can be shown. Worst of all, they deliver concentrated doses of serotonin and your mind begins to fixate and depend on them for stimulation. Soon enough, whatever activity you may have been doing before now feels boring by comparison. You may have been content to write that work report or push through your homework, but now it feels even more monotonous than before. 

These apps suck up your time and steal your attention. Removing them from your work time will help you to maintain your motivation to get things done. 

Social Media isn’t the only distraction you should be removing. Any other activities that take away from your work should be removed during work time. If you can control this, you will save hours in your day and be more productive at work.

6. Get some sun

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Sunlight can really improve your mood. When you are trying to get motivated sometimes the best thing you can do is take 15 minutes to go on a short walk outside. Other things you can do is try to sit near a window while working. Getting natural sunlight will help you to feel more positive and to feel better about the work you are doing. Sunlight helps your brain and body produce key chemicals that give you energy and produce feelings of health and happiness. 

If you want to be motivated everyday try to get outside everyday.

7. Embrace FOMO

Some Days are going to be harder than others to stay motivated. On those days, a dose of fear might just be what you need to get going again.

Fear of missing out is a powerful motivator and you can use it to your advantage. When you need that extra motivation, try thinking of the things you’ll be missing out on if you don’t get the things done that you need to. Think of what you’ll be missing out on if you have to work late to get a project done that you procrastinated. More long term think of what you’ll be missing out on if you don’t put in the effort to get that promotion or start your business. 

Having this fear can lead you to be productive in times you otherwise wouldn’t be.

8. Get a team around you

Team work makes the dream work. This is probably one of the most powerful hacks on this list for staying motivated everyday. Getting a team around you is super important to staying motivated everyday. Whether you’re working out, working in an office, leading in your church, or starting a business, getting a team around you is the best thing you can do. 

When you have a team that is counting on you to do your part it’s much easier to stay motivated so that you don’t let them down. They’ll also be there to encourage you when you are struggling.

As a side note: Appigo’s Todo Cloud app can help your team stay organized while you work. You are able to set reminders, message each other, assign tasks, and set due and start dates. Todo Cloud is the best task management software for teams and it will help you do more of what matters most to you.

We hope these ideas resonate with you! Let us know in the comments if you believe we missed anything.

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