For many people it’s hard to stay motivated at work, especially if you get into the same day-old routine. According to a recent government survey, the typical employee (aged 25 to 54, with children) spends an average of 8.8 hours at work or work-related activities, which is over one third of your day!
And when sleep is taken into account, time spent at work takes up over half of one’s waking hours. However, getting too used to doing the same thing every day is no excuse. It’s time for you to take control of your actions, job, and outlook. Don’t let passivity ruin productivity in your workplace and life. Check out our tips below.
1. Prepare the Start of Your Day
The beginning of each day is very important. Most people don’t realize that what you do in the morning will naturally set the mood and pace for the entire rest of the day. Take the stress out of your commute and setup a short prep session that will help you focus on the required actions you need to get going.
Take a few minutes every day before beginning your work to get your thoughts sorted and your tasks prioritized. Have you been putting off following up with a co-worker but need his or her input to complete a task? Make that first on your to-do list.
2. Strategize Your Work
If you do not take some time to collect your thoughts before starting your work day, then going to work can be like jumping in the middle of a chaotic battle. Take some time to plan your strategy to avoid being bombarded by less-than-important tasks or needlessly distracted by co-workers.
Out of all the tasks that are on your to-do list, which ones are priority? Which ones are just busy work? Note that it is normal for there to be some routine tasks, but also note for yourself what work provides value to others and gives you personal satisfaction or feeling of accomplishment.
Instead of doing tasks as they come your way, have a plan that you will try your best to stick to. One simple way to do this is to quickly jot down the top five tasks that are priority, as well as any actions that must be taken in order for the tasks to be completed.
For example, if finishing your presentation depends on asking a time to meet with your boss, then do yourself a favor and take the responsibility of asking for a meeting instead of waiting around.
3. Keep Learning and Stay Updated
If you find yourself stuck in a rut, perhaps it’s time to take it on yourself to learn something new. Passive behavior is usually signified by an inability to take action and often leads to a feeling of boredom. If you do not take any action and instead react to what people give you, then your productivity at work can only get so far. Make a conscious decision to improve yourself, whether it’s through skills or knowledge through hands-on practice. By taking action, you are taking control of your goals and career – you will even give others a chance to respond positively as well.
Here’s a list of simple actions that may help:
- Keep updated with the news, especially any relating to your industry, so you can
- Discuss any interesting news and trends with your co-workers or your mentor (see #4)
- Take an online course. Free classes on a variety of subjects are available on Coursera.org and EdX.org and are taught by respectable top-tier universities
4. Find a Mentor
One of the best ways to become motivated at your job is to find a more experienced person who can be a guide as you grow in your career. First of all, know what your needs are: do you want to find someone to strengthen your professional network, learn more about the industry, or help with your resume? Be specific as possible so that you will be able to communicate to your mentor.
Finding a mentor can be a bit of work but one of the easier ways is to take a look around at your workplace. Is there a more experienced person whom you respect? Don’t be too quick to dismiss the possibility of that person becoming your mentor. Approach the person at a suitable time and ask if they would be willing to take on a role in the mentorship relationship. At the very worst, they will refuse but be flattered by your request. At the very best, you will gain an invaluable relationship and catalyst for growth.
To avoid being passive about your job, remember that developing yourself and growing your career is something that takes much time and work. Sitting back and hoping for the best is not an option. Discover how to leave your job if you can’t stand it anymore!